Inner Island – Handcrafted Irish Made Jewellery
Gemma O’Leary is no stranger to press reviews and features here in Ireland. Since launching Inner Island last April 2015, her unique and beautifully designed jewellery has graced the pages of the majority of well-known fashion and style magazines.
However as I’m more of an online observer, it wasn’t until I connected with Inner Island on Instagram, that my love affair with Gemma’s designs began.
Inner Island to me is beautifully designed and made stylish, modern, contemporary, wearable and affordable Irish designed jewellery.
All of Gemma O’Leary’s handcrafted jewellery are made in sterling silver. Each creatively designed piece is then – either left in its silver state, or gold or black rhodium plated. As Gemma prides herself on the quality of her work, she offers a 30 day money back guarantee on all items purchased.
As well as being available to drool over online (purchasing is better obviously) at the Inner Island website, Inner Island jewellery is available from stockists as local as Kildare and Dublin to as far away as California and Japan.
I got in contact with Gemma recently and asked her a handful of questions, which I’m happy to say she answered, so you can read her words below.
Q&A’s with Irish Jewellery Designer Gemma O’Leary from Inner Island
1. What was your inspiration to be come a Jewellery Designer?
I had no interest in jewellery growing up. It was the 90s so “jewellery” was a nose ring, a cord around my neck and a mood ring. However my mother was always dripping with jewellery. Layers of gold chains, stacks of rings and bangles. She celebrated each milestone with a new piece. I inherited her love of jewellery when I started traveling and was exposed to more contemporary design. I fell in love with it as an art form and when I made my first ring I had a rush of excitement and knew that silver was the medium I wanted to work with. I had no idea that I could actually make it my job, I was just happy to have a hobby I loved.
2. How did you officially become a Jewellery Designer?
Its hard to say how I officially became a jeweller as my path was a little “wobbly”. I studied Fashion Design for a year in Cork but I never mentally committed to it. I went to work in Scotland that summer and had such a fun time that I never came back. I spent the next few years traveling in Scotland and Canada, making jewellery by printing images on laminated wood and selling them to local craft shops. I started doing part time metal work courses in Vancouver and loved it. When I returned home I did the jewellery manufacturing course through FÁS and spent two years interning. I learned so much about the practical and the business side of running a jewellery company.
3. Where do you take creative inspiration from for your work?
The common thread in my collections is that they are inspired by shapes. Whether it be the curve of a boat, a 9th century stain glass window or a neolithic arrowhead. That is probably the only correlation really but I think its my interpretation of these inspirations that makes an Inner Island piece recognisable.
4. What’s the wackiest request you’ve had to date for commission work?
A friend wants a child sized four fingered knuckle duster ring with “BABY” written across it for her toddler. I have yet to make it.
5. What would be your ultimate design commission? / Where would you love to exhibit your designs – the dream?
I love commissions. The collaboration between the client and myself can lead to very imaginative ideas. I suppose my dream commission would be a piece that needs to convey a complicated story with an unlimited budget.
The dream would be to display my pieces in my own store along side other jewellers I admire. There is a lot of talented jewellers out there.
All images are courtesy of Inner Island.
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