Tuesday, 18 February 2014


It’s been a very active month since I last posted! Showcase –—the trade show for Irish exporters with the creative gene — was just fab. There was a really nice buzz; lots of visitors, lots of orders placed and people were in good form.

Of course my attention was on the jewellers (although I was swooning with the scents from the La Bougie stand. They were the nearest thing to the wildly different olfactory delights from my favourite candle makers – Cire Trudon — that I’ve ever come across. When I mentioned this to La Bougie creator, Lucy Hagerty she confessed this was no co incidence; Cire Trudon is their hero brand. High five girls! And since CT has been removed from Brown Thomas (why, I wonder?) I, for one will be looking to La Bougie to fill the gap.

I was also impressed with the preserves on display in the Grange Crafts stand. OMG...their brown bread and Whiskey Marmalade was just mouth watering. I had a Harry-met-Sally moment as I savoured a mouthful and was really bowled over when the woman on the stand (I think it was Rachel Cubbitt, but I stand corrected. She gave me a card but I can't find it) insisted on my taking a pot of the marmalade home. How nice was that… My husband, who eats marmalade every day of his life, was most impressed when I told him that I brought it home especially for him (!)

Back to the jewellers … All of them had something unique to offer but I especially loved Garrett Mallon’s designs. A month later I can still see them in my mind’s eye. It must be living in such a beautiful corner of Ireland (Garrett works out of Omeath on Carlingford Lough) that inspires his thoughtful pieces with their nod to our Celtic heritage.

After Showcase I headed to Birmingham. More of that anon (hopefully in less than a month or I’ll be talking about Mothers Day at Christmas ….

Meanwhile check out –

Thursday, 2 January 2014

What to look out for in jewellery trends in 2014

It's the New Year, so a good time to look at what’s selling in jewellery right now. You’ll have to check out JEWEL 2014 for a good overall view but the hot brands this winter are Alex and Ani, (pronounced Aw-nie, I’m reliably informed)  and Chrysalis. Paul Kelly in The Jewellers in Lucan tells me that the Chrysalis Noel and Good Fortune collections are “flying out the door.”
What both Alex and Ani, and Chrysalis have in common is their spiritual dimension. According to their website, Alex and Ani, the mother/daughter combination behind the eponymous brand, design and create bangle bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings that “adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit.” Meanwhile, Chrysalis is tagged as jewellery with ‘a spiritual energy’ that helps strengthen your life’s spiritual journey. Each disc carries a special meaning that will attract positivity and good energy into your life.
Obviously, given their desirability, these brands have tapped into something that women want these days. Even better the designs are very pretty (definitely better than scapulars. Does anyone out there remember scapulars?!!!) and the affordable price point helps too…

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Secrets to Creating a Successful Jewellery Brand

I’ve been in touch with quite a few people in the jewellery world in Ireland over the last few weeks since the publication of JEWEL 2014. Hard to believe this is our sixth issue — especially given the launch date — smack in the middle of a recession. But hey …. we’re still here!

One of the people I was talking to (at the RJI Gala Dinner in Druid’s Glen. Great night and fab venue) was Maureen Harrison from Seoidin. Based in Ennis, Seoidin is a success story at a time when success is in short supply. I asked Maureen for the secret. She reckons it’s down to working in the shop — which keeps her in touch with what’s in vogue, what her customers want and what they’re willing to pay for it.

All very fine having access to that info but, if you ask me, it’s what Maureen and her husband and business partner Flann, have done with it that’s made the difference. They have produced a really unusual, quite unique range of jewellery aimed at everyday wear ‘for the woman who likes to wear nice, interesting, understated jewellery’ — which is basically most of us! Now that’s what you call good marketing.

Oh, and by the way you don’t have to go as far as Ennis to see the range; you’ll pick it up in quite a few jewellery stores around the country, get it on line at www.seoidin.com or, if you’re in Dublin you can go see the range on display at the Seoidin shop in the Westbury Mall which opened over the summer.

Friday, 1 March 2013


I was at the 30th birthday party for Swatch last night. Thanks to Simone, Dee and all the gang for their hospitality; good to meet up with them, as ever ….

The occasion brought me back in time. I was among that first wave of people to embrace the Swatch watch. Up to its arrival, watches were nice but rather fuddy-duddy affairs, a bit like your winter coat, more of a necessity  than something you had any great desire to buy… 

You got a ‘good watch’ for your 21st and, if you were lucky you got another from a boyfriend with serious intentions (it was always seen as the best indicator of an engagement ring to come!) As my husband and I had a short engagement we skipped over the good watch stage and I remember my mother broaching the subject of what watch I was going to wear on my wedding day with trepidation. “Now, you’re not going to wear your little plastic watch to your wedding, are you love?” she enquired, adding that she’d give me the loan of her Omega (as if!) but unfortunately the bracelet was too big so she’d be wearing that herself.

Can’t remember what I did wear on the day; whatever it was it didn’t impact favourably on my dreadful time keeping i can tell you that much. I was  late, as ever,  for my wedding! But I noticed in some photos I was looking at recently that my original Swatch was still around a couple of years later when my first son arrived. I loved that watch which offered a freedom other timepieces didn’t i.e. I didn’t feel the need to ‘mind’ it, taking it off and on when within six feet of water, detergents, nappies and all the other regular features in a young mum’s life.

Cue Swatch celebrating 30 years (where did they go?!!!) I’ve graduated from the plastic but I’m still a Swatch fan. I love their white ceramic strap version which is a brilliant addition to a summer wardrobe and the blue/grey faced mid size model I bought last year is so easy to read.
And there you have it — the story of my life told by the Swatch on my wrist; from practical plastic for a mum too busy to fuss to large faced versions that I can read without resorting to glasses. Sad….
And,  I’m still waiting for the Omega. Sadder …!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Some thoughts on Valentine's Day

I’m back…! I know blogs are supposed to be updated on a regular basis but I was in the UK (visiting my brand new niece, the first addition to our family in 19 years…) and things had piled up in my absence, as they tend to when you work for yourself, so I’m afraid my blogging career went into a bit of a tailspin.

I missed Valentine’s Day. … so I was anxious to find out from my jeweller friends how it had gone for them. Apparently quite well, there are still a few romantics out there BUT interestingly; it’s not the occasion it used to be for engagements.

That surprised me, but on reflection I shouldn’t have been. My husband and I got engaged on Valentines Day. By that I mean we had decided to get married some time before Christmas, had chosen the ring and organized the event (which was to happen later in the Summer) but we made the official announcement on Valentine’s Day. I say ‘we’… I mean ‘I.’ My husband couldn’t have given a toss what day we announced it and I can’t say he’s given Valentine’s much consideration in the interim either! 

My sons, (both in their 20s) share their father’s lack of interest (I failed to pass on my romantic bones) with my elder son having a particular aversion for the date. He regards it with characteristic distain as ‘nothing but a commercial Hallmark occasion.’ I couldn’t count the number of ‘discussions’ we’re had on the topic with me taking the stance that it doesn’t matter what it is or who benefits, the bottom line is that it’s as good an excuse as any to tell those around you that you love them. And what’s wrong with that?

Nothing, I reckon; but given the drop off in engagements on the day (I’m assured that the number of engagements, per se, have not dropped) it would seem that V Day is no longer in vogue for popping the question.

Can this be true? Are my sons symptomatic of a breed of young men who regard St. Valentine’s Day with principled cynicism or ….are they just too lazy to bother?

I’m looking for answers!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

19 January 2013

I’m looking forward to going to Showcase tomorrow to see what’s happening on the local jewellery front for 2013. Top of my list of those to visit is Dorothy Matthews from Corona Silver. Apart from the fact that Dorothy’s jewellery is really different (check it out for yourself at www.coronasilver.ie) she’s a lovely person to deal with, as I discovered when working on this year’s issue of Jewel, l so I’m looking forward to meeting her face to face.

Martina Hamilton is another I’m looking forward to meeting. Martina had a great win at the IJL (London Jewellery Show) in September… So good to see Irish talent being recognized abroad. TJH are on my radar too as I think their John Rocha collection is just to-die-for. One of my favourite of his ranges in recent years is the ‘Lace’ collection TJH launched in 2012. Funnily enough I was thinking of it when looking at UTV’s ‘Mr. Selfridge’ over the weekend. The clothes in that series (which is just a bit of froth, but what else would you be doing on a Sunday night!) are amazing, especially all the lacy garments. But while lace is huge on the fashion front again this year, as it was last year, the item of jewellery I’d most associate with it i.e. the cameo brooch didn’t make any impact. In fact, John Rocha was one of the few jewellers who picked up in the trend at all.

Wonder why cameos haven’t taken off in recent years? Personally I love them…. Although you have to be careful when choosing; some of the silhouettes can be crude, on careful inspection. And let’s face it, you don’t want crude…!

After Showcase I’m off to the Thomas Sabo seasonal launch. That should be good; his jewellery is so edgy and clever. More of that anon…..