Tuesday 21 January 2020

Jewellery designer inspired by Dublin beaches (and chippers!) brings unique range to Irish stores

Dollymount Strand
Pic Steve Humphreys
Dollymount Strand Pic Steve Humphreys

Louise Kelly

Many of us have taken a shell or two home after a visit to Dollymount Beach - but we may not have noticed the business opportunity that the seaside stroll had to offer.

Dubliner Jennifer Kinnear was so inspired by the pieces of shell she found on the Bull Island beach that she made unique pieces of jewellery based on their design.

And after a five year hiatus, the designer is bringing her affordable range of rings, earrings and necklaces back to Irish stores.

"In 2008, when the recession hit I made the decision to leave Ireland. I had a successful shop in Crow Street but I didn't think I would cruise through the recession," Jennifer (40) told independent.ie.

"I had no other ties to Dublin and I felt like I needed a break so I moved to Spain to pursue my other passion, kite-surfing!"

In the last nine years, Jennifer met her partner and had son Luca (now 4), and has made a home for herself in Gibraltar.

But her inherent passion for creating beautiful accessories had led to the latest beautiful collection - which has been snapped up by buyers in Arnotts.

"My son was getting a little bit older so I decided to get back into the jewellery again - it's what I'm good at," said Jennifer.

Jennifer Kinnear
Jennifer Kinnear

"So I chose all of my favourite pieces I had made over the years and I made a collection out of those."

Although currently based in Spain, Jennifer is still inspired by the Dublin coastline and city and travels to Ireland several times a year.

Her Cockle Shell Necklace, for example, was born of a trip to Dollymount Beach and the stunning Hummingbird Pendant sparked by a tile pattern in a Stoneybatter chipper.

"My business is actually registered in Ireland, my pieces are all hallmarked in Ireland and Iuse Irish suppliers," she said.

"I love the ethos of Irish design so I'll still be splitting my time between the two countries - and I'll still be beach combing with my son on Dollymount."

There is a detailed process behind the silver and gold plated - and 9ct gold - items that Jennifer creates.

"My latest find is a tiny crab, so I will make a mould of the claws and then use lost wax casting techniques to make tiny crab claw earrings, same goes for the shells and sea urchins," she said.

"The hummingbird, key, slipper and various others are made using traditional metalsmithing techniques."

Jennifer Kinnear
Jennifer Kinnear

The delicate but wearable jewellery is also available in Galway, Westport, Sligo, Kildare and Ranelagh as well as Kinnear’s own online shop.

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