Friday 15 December 2017

Jewels: Irish jewellery designers

Photography by Agata Stoinska Concept and art direction by Eddie Shanahan fashion edited by Constance Harris

'Zephyr' bodice and cuff
(not in shot) of peacock pearls
and frosted hematite with
gunmetal tube beads and
Bohemian rocaille beads,
€3,900 for set,
Christina Brosnan
'Zephyr' bodice and cuff (not in shot) of peacock pearls and frosted hematite with gunmetal tube beads and Bohemian rocaille beads, €3,900 for set, Christina Brosnan
Agate, onyx and mother-of-pearl necklace with silver magnetic clasp, €175, MoMuse. Coat, €120, Babylon, Ennis. Shoes; knickers, both model's own
Gold vermeil on silver 'wings' pendant; black rhodium on silver 'wings' pendant, €275 each; black rhodium on silver ring with princess-cut Rose de France amethyst; gold vermeil on silver ring with princess-cut rare green amethyst, €750 each, Sam Lafford. Bra, model's own
Jasper and silver necklace, €480, Helena Malone. Hat, stylist's own
Silver necklace €1,300; silver bangle, €390, both Seamus Gill. Leather skirt, stylist's own

Constance Harris

Jewellery is one of those areas of fashion that, like lingerie, is intensely personal. It is also hard to photograph and do justice to, as clothes can reduce the design of a piece to something trite. You only have to look at upmarket advertising: it becomes about prestige and less about the design.

Which is why I am celebrating the work of photographer Agata Stoinska and fashion impresario Eddie Shanahan today, who earlier this year collaborated on a project, Adornment, to celebrate 2011 as being the Year of Craft, to promote Irish jewellery design and raise awareness with a travelling exhibition of art photography.

"We wanted to do something of international calibre. We set a challenge for ourselves and all the creative people we worked with. The models were magnificent with regards to the territory of the work," Eddie told me. I agree. The shots are worthy of Italian Vogue.

Adornment began as an invitation to six designers, but after the Crafts Council, who part-sponsored the project, promoted the upcoming shoot on their website, Eddie and Agata met with nearly 70 designers over three days, culminating in three shoots instead of one. They were blown away by the creative force.

The results were first exhibited in Cork last week in Tuula Harrington's Designworks studio in Cork. Adornment then goes to the EU Headquarters in Dublin from June 1-14, then the Dock Arts Centre, in Leitrim for part of July, and to Ballinahown Craft Village, Athlone, in November. It might well travel elsewhere, if invited.

"Jewellery is not something I would have been naturally drawn to," Eddie explained, although he is chairperson of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers of Ireland as well as a director of the Leitrim Design House, where he has come to work closely with many craftspeople.

"I have worked with jewellery designers over the years and felt it was time to shine some light on them. When you see the ideas these artists have: the skills, the imagination. When you look at, say, Tuula Harrington, who works with reindeer antlers embedded with diamonds. It has become a very exciting venture. I can now understand why people collect it; it can be an inspiration. It makes you so very proud to be Irish and I feel so grateful to all those who created," Eddie said.

We salute, you, our bold creatives -- including our beautiful models.

A limited edition of the prints from this shoot will be available to buy, see

Christina Brosnan, 6 Seaview Offices, Main St, Howth, Co Dublin, tel: (086) 263-1574, or see

MoMuse, see or email

Babylon, Bank Place, Ennis, Co Clare, tel: (086) 192-1528, or email

Sam Lafford, 3 Burgh Quay, D2, tel: (01) 677-7396, or email

Helena Malone, 5 Lismard Court, JFL Avenue, Portlaoise, Co Laois, tel: (057) 866-0071, or email

Seamus Gill, Studio 21, The Tower, Pearse St, D2, tel: (01) 677-5701, or see

Derek McGarry, email

Photography by Agata Stoinska, see

Concept and art direction by Eddie Shanahan, see

Styling assistance: Aine Killeen assisted by

Grace Moore at Morgan The Agency, see

Hair and make-up by Billy Orr and Ivey Sullivan at Morgan The Agency

Models: Amber Jean Rowan and Jayne Wilde at Morgan The Agency

Supported by the Crafts Council of Ireland

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