Last-minute gifts in small boxes: Gorgeous Irish jewellery from €12

Deirdre McQuillan: Irish jewellers have made their mark globally this year, from wowing Beverly Hills to appearing in a Disney film

Irish jewellers have certainly made their mark internationally this year. Castlebar-based jeweller Nigel O’Reilly is wowing Beverly Hills where his entire 29-piece collection of spectacular jewels is being showcased by Sotheby’s, in a further recognition of his exceptional talent “with a rocker undertone”, according to Frank Everett, senior vice-president of the company.

That follows October 2020 when two of his rings were included in Sotheby’s Important Jewels auction in New York, the first Irish designer to be featured. “Putting high jewellery from Ireland on the international map for collectors and clients has been many years in the making,” says his wife, the artist Tracy Sweeney.

Elsewhere in Dublin, a small Irish jewellery brand has ended up in the biggest Disney hit of the year. Margaret O’Rourke’s MoMuse shop in Powerscourt was the destination for US actor Amy Adams, star of Disney’s Disenchanted, during filming in Ireland last July. “She bought some gifts, told us she loved the store, but we didn’t know who she was because she was wearing a mask,” says O’Rourke, who had been contacted by Disney for some pieces for the film. The star bought several items for family and friends, and gifts for the crew, and can be seen wearing two of her favourites, a bird and a bee (pictured in this article) throughout the movie.

Jewellery designers elsewhere in Ireland are thriving. Natasha Sherling displayed her pearls and wedding jewellery in Hayfield Manor last month; Vanessa Ree’s Concept collection features hashtag motifs in silver and gold used in various ways; Loulerie continues her fine jewellery, keeping it simple and stylish; while the much-loved Chupi is now committed to removing all Russian diamonds from her collections.


David and Barry McCaul, traditional goldsmiths, having established a successful handmade jewellery business in London, now operate from their Irish base in Balbriggan. In Cork, Michael Duerden makes collectable necklaces from china fragments with handmade silver daisy chains. In Sligo, Martina Hamilton’s silver and gold jewellery design continues to be inspired by the local wild Atlantic seascape, while Jenny Huston’s Edge Only pieces bring a rockstar look to rings and bracelets for men and women. You can see jewellers’ work in progress at Stonechat in the Westbury Mall, where they not only craft fine jewellery but can also remodel vintage or family pieces.

Affordable alternatives from Billie & Oso in Harold’s Cross include antique and vintage rings, while Om Diva always has fun ear candy to put a smile on the face. Nearby, John Farrington on Drury Street has an unsurpassable eye for special pieces with a classic look, as does Phyllis MacNamara’s Cobwebs in Galway.

So as Christmas approaches, gifts in small boxes are always appreciated. Here’s a selection from €12 upwards – for keepsakes, presents, tokens, last-minute temptations or engagements in every sense.

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan is Irish Times Fashion Editor, a freelance feature writer and an author