Part of the beauty of bespoke jewelry is that the piece will always be totally unique. We wanted to share a recent custom design that reminded us of just how personal a bespoke design can be. The inspiration behind this handcrafted brooch was the Scottish Luckenbooth Irish Claddagh. This customer had a simple idea in mind. She wanted to create a specific style of brooch to incorporate symbols to represent her Irish heritage and his Scottish heritage. Together, the combined symbols represent her love for her partner with a nod to each of their family's histories. Here's a little bit of background on the design and a sneak preview of the brooch before it left the workshop.
Like the Claddagh ring, the Luckenbooth brooch is a historic symbol of love and commitment. It features three distinctive interlocking hearts, topped with a crown. This traditional Scottish brooch is made in silver or gold. The name is derived from the Luckenbooths of Edinburgh. Luckenbooths were secure permanent stalls set up by silver and goldsmiths along the famous Royal Mile. Dating back to the 15th century, they were the first permanent shop like structures in the city. They offered a sheltered secure location for the silversmiths and goldsmiths of the day to sell their jewelry and other precious treasures.
The original Claddagh ring is believed to have been created in the 17th century. It is another beautiful token of love and it is one of Ireland's most enduring designs from the past. The heart of the Irish Claddagh stands for love. The hands represent friendship. The crown symbolizes loyalty. Today, the famous Claddagh design has been adapted and reimagined in so many different ways. From rings inspired by the traditional Claddagh to a more contemporary style for the modern man or woman. These three gorgeous sentiments have been handed down through generations by both Irish and those with a passion for love and symbolism. For those of you that love the Claddagh, we think you may appreciate our contemporary interpretation with our Claddagh bracelet, earring and pendant. After refining the design concept for this brooch, our jewelry designer and silversmith Eileen began working on crafting the piece in her workshop.
Before(Initial design sketch Eileen worked from)
Each design created in the Claddagh Design workshop is crafted by hand. Eileen uses time-honored silversmithing techniques to create her Irish inspired jewelry. With this piece, she began by cutting around the shape from a hard sheet of solid sterling silver taking particular care around the details of the crown. Next, the inner sections were cut out using a specially designed piercing saw. Here you can see how the brooch begins to take shape -
Next, the raw sharp edges were filed down for a smooth, wearable finish. The Luckenbooth Claddagh brooch was now ready to be hand engraved.
Silver joint, hinge, and catch was soldered on to fit a long pin to open and close. The pin opens diagonally across the back of the brooch and secures at the top.
Once complete, the brooch was sent to be assayed. At the Irish hallmarking office in Dublin Castle, the brooch is independently tested and stamped on the back to verify the quality of the silver. Established in 1637, Dublin Assay Office assays and hallmarks all silver and gold items manufactured throughout the island of Ireland. The tiny hallmark is stamped on the back beside Eileen's registered maker's mark. Using these marks, this brooch can always be traced back to Eileen's silversmith workshop in County Cork. After the brooch is returned to the workshop, all that is left is the finishing touches. It was cleaned, polished, and nicely wrapped up ready for it's new owner in the USA. Do you have an idea for a special piece of jewelry for you or someone you love? Get in touch We'd be delighted to explore ideas with you!