The purpose of this article is to familiarize you with the term handmade and to tell you a bit about my work creating handmade jewellery in Ireland. The word handmade is quite often generalized when it comes to jewellery creation. Sometimes, people will claim that a product is handmade. However, when you pay attention to details of the product, you might find a different truth. Real artists know the difference between “handmade” mass production and something truly handmade from scratch. In my work as an artist, I concentrate on attention to detail. Every project has a meaning.
Hopefully this feels true for my clients, too. (If you‘d like, you can check what some of my customers have said about my work here.)
My inspiration comes mainly from the natural world. When I visit countries other than Ireland, I always seek out and enjoy places in nature. I haven’t been on a single family trip when I haven’t taken something home with me! A piece of wood thrown out by the Irish sea in Brittas Bay, a piece of polished glass found in Bray, a unique stone discovered in the Wicklow Mountains, a majestic flower that bows down to Lough Tay lake on Ballinastoe, or the moss growing in the trees on Bohernabreena Reservoir.
I also admire the work of other artists, and often this serves as an inspiration for me as well. I try to surround myself with objects that are handmade by others, as I can more deeply appreciate the creations of others.
I find inspiration for new products almost everywhere (which is a theme I hope will never end!). Of course, there are days when my inspiration wanes, too. But I know that such moments last only for a little while. And after the rain comes the sunshine we long for.
All of my artistic handmade jewellery pieces are designed and crafted on Irish land 🙂
A Brief History of Handmade Jewellery
Artisans have crafted jewellery by hand since the beginning of time when there were no machines and limited tools available. These handmade jewellery pieces serve as a source of cultural and personal pride. Showcased in museums around the world, handcrafted jewellery and adornments hold a special grace and charm. Some of these pieces may even look relevant or contemporary in their design despite dating back thousands of years.
The earliest record of handmade jewellery comes from Neolithic cultures in Europe. The perforated beads showcasing small stones and seashells date back 115,000 years. They were found in Cueva de Los Aviones, a cave located along the southern coast of Spain. Once the phase of using stones and shells passed, humans moved towards bones and teeth to create jewellery pieces.
Today, most jewellery we see in the market is crafted with machines. These machines mass produce pieces of jewellery, creating hundreds and thousands replicas. Crafted using low-quality materials, these pieces often do not hold up for more than a few uses and can even cause allergic reactions due to the use of cheap metals. Handmade jewellery on the other hand requires the use of quality materials that can be moulded and shaped by hand.
The use of metals in crafting handmade jewellery dates back 7,000 years, starting with pure copper. Worn by ancient Egyptians, handmade copper handmade jewellery was a symbol of religious and political power and mostly worn by the elite. Attachment to these pieces of jewellery was so pronounced that Egyptians were famously buried with their precious jewellery in the belief that the pieces would pass on with them and help them enter the after life.
With time, Egyptians started using gold, semi-precious gemstones, and even coloured glass in their jewellery pieces. The Egyptian practice of using gemstones began the tradition of ascribing stones with different meanings and set in motion the belief that gemstones hold natural healing powers that can shape our minds and lives.
The next significant historical phase of handmade jewellery happened in Greece. Like the Egyptians, ancient Greeks used gold and gemstones but also moved toward more complex metalworking. Showcasing their craftsmanship, the Greeks started producing more delicate and charming designs by manipulating metals with various tools. Here, we see a shift toward design and attention to detail.
Throughout history, jewellery has played a significant role. We saw a great rise in jewellery production during the Roman empire as well as during the Middle Ages, at which time jewellery design varied based on region. During the Middle Ages, however, jewellery was reserved exclusively for royalty and the elite. (Sometimes, though, jewellery was crafted by metalsmiths for barter.)
Today, handmade jewellery continues to stand apart, showcasing its power and effect that no machine-made jewellery can offer. Handmade jewellery carries a certain level of quality and charm that is unmatched, showcasing modern designs using age-old techniques.
Advantages of Handmade Jewellery
Handmade jewellery carries an allure combined with passion and craftsmanship. To help you better understand the advantages of handmade jewellery, I have listed a few of the many advantages of my unique jewellery.
Unique Artistic Touch
When looking for a piece of jewellery both stunning and meaningful, nothing can better suit your needs than handmade jewellery designed and crafted by experts.
However, what truly allows handmade jewellery pieces to stand apart are the stories behind them. Handmade jewellery is often inspired by natural elements or the environment that surrounds the artisan. This infuses each design with a special meaning in a beautiful process that starts with a single glance and takes shape through a creative touch.
It’s no secret that mass-produced jewellery pieces carry endless harmful impacts that can not only harm your skin but also the environment. These low-quality pieces are often made with lead and nickel that seeps into your skin and can cause severe damage (even more so if you have specific allergies). Beyond that, the materials used in mass-scale jewellery production create large amounts of resource waste, and unwanted or broken jewellery can often not even be recycled.
True handmade jewellery, on the other hand, is not mass-produced. In fact, there are often only a handful of pieces made from each design. Even more appealing still, no two pieces of handmade jewellery are identical, so the piece you choose will be the only one of its kind. Handmade jewellery production also uses less energy and fewer resources, and the resultant pieces can even be passed on as heirlooms for generations to come. With all of this in mind, the creation of handmade jewellery clearly carries only a light effect on the environment, and can even benefit us and our loved ones and communities in the future.
High Quality Materials
Handmade jewelry pieces are considered works of art, and art is best showcased using quality materials. There are only a handful of materials in the world that are suitable for the hand-making process. Moreover, the artisans who create these pieces leave them as legacies to be carried forward with future generations. This is why handmade jewellery is created using materials that can handle not only the wear and tear of the hand-making process, but also hold up against years of use from the buyers and their families.
The quality metals most often used in handmade jewellery production include brass, copper, gold, platinum, and sterling silver. Free from any lead or nickel, these materials are gentle even for sensitive skin.
It takes a great deal of time, vision, and skill to create beautiful, handcrafted rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and brooches. Each piece is a timeless piece of artwork that one can easily enjoy for a lifetime. What makes a piece of handmade jewellery so significant is its design and detail, allowing it to remain relevant throughout different fashion trends and eras. Artistically handcrafted jewellery is considered timeless and classic, easily paired with any outfit. Timeless artwork does not to be spoken for, but rather speaks for itself. The same way a gorgeous piece of artwork hangs on a wall, your unique piece of handmade jewellery will come to life on you.
Small Business Appreciation
Most handmade jewellery comes from small business owners who design and create their own products as single entrepreneurs or small teams of workers. Focused on offering you quality in every respect, small business owners want to create a genuine connection with you and listen attentively to your needs and desires.
Determined to offer the world a piece of themselves, small jewellery business artisans craft gorgeous pieces of one-of-a-kind jewellery that will blow you away. Why not let the world experience these timeless works of art through you? With your help, the work of these true artists can be appreciated and showcased.
Supporting small businesses around the world helps business owners form strong foundations and expand their horizons. Thanks for your help!
Due to the mass production of jewellery, handmade jewellery is no longer as popular of a choice as it once was. When compared with cheaply made machine jewellery, it is also a luxurious choice. Even so, machine-made jewellery will not get a single glance when set beside a handmade piece, making it superior and the clear better choice in every way. By wearing handmade jewellery, you are not only supporting the artisan and their cause–you are contributing to culture.
The handcrafting of jewellery is an art form, one which should be celebrated and carried on for generations to come. By purchasing handmade jewellery and showing your support to culture and community, you become the proud owner of a work of art that will stay in your family for generations. Enabling independent artisan to continue pushing forward against mass-production allows us all to maintain a sense of culture.
When you take a closer look at handmade jewellery, you can discern something about its place of origin by its design, materials, and the inspiration. This process will bring you love and support that knows no political, linguistic, or cultural barriers and fostering a connection that can never be broken, only cherished and indulged for years to come.