Brownshill Dolmen Jewellery
Recently I have being asked to custom make local themed jewellery from local sites and attractions here in Carlow. The first one I made many years ago was the Brownshill Dolmen one of the largest capstones in Europe. I took a trip out to the dolmen had a walk around and did a few drawings (this was way before digital photos) I came up with a view from one side and them I made a bronze brooch for the local arts festival Eigse as it was known back then. I made it for local people and tourists and ex pats living abroad so we have revived this brooch recently. Brownshill Dolmen
More recently I have been asked to make special one off Brownshill Dolmen pendants and matching earrings in Silver
Handmade silver Dolmen pendant and matching earrings
Custom made brooch
It was built between 4000 and 3000 BC by some of the earliest farmers to inhabit the island. It is also known as Brownshill Portal Tomb, so-called because the entrance to the burial chamber was flanked by two large upright stones (orthostats) supporting the granite capstone, or roof, of the chamber. The capstone is thought to have been covered by an earthen mound and a gate stone blocked the entrance. At Brownshill both portal stones and the gate-stone are still in situ; the capstone lies on top of the portals and gate-stone and slopes to the ground away from the entrance. Not much additional information is available on Brownshill because it has never been excavated. A fourth upright stands close by and could be the remains of a forecourt. The extent of the chamber cannot be determined.
We were also asked to come up with an idea for a local woman from Sleaty Carlow she lived near the old ruins of Sleaty church and graveyard here in Carlow (County Laois) so I took a wee trip out to the site to have a look and sketched a few ideas and came up with the silver brooch as pictured Sleaty Graveyard
Carlow has undergone a major changes over the last few years. Local planners zoned different areas outside of the old town therefore diluting the old part of town. The local authority were blinded by the big planning fees they got much like the rest of the country, greed came knocking on their door and they saw the euro signs and never thought the gravy boat would end but it did. Now we are all paying for it. But will the lessons of the past be learnt by the planners. Tullow street Carlow was the hub of Carlow a busy thriving shopping area many years ago but like most urban planning the development of shopping centres in Ireland during the Cetlic tiger years sprang up. In the early 90s Carlow shopping centre was built on the site of the old Carlow Jail and it was right in the centre of town, it was busy and had Superquinn as its main anchor but as the years went on Superquinn was bought by Musgraves or Supervalu yet again big business came and took over but later abandoned as it was not profitable for them so they closed shed jobs and left another empty space. The centre has lost its big tenant and struggles like the old town centre. Then Fairgreen shopping centre was built in later years across town away from the old part of town. Small businesses rushed to get in there from the old town. In recent years as the upward only rents have pushed them to breaking point that was the conditions of their lease upward rent only so it pushed them out of the centre and some came back to the old town centre. Lesson learned money spent. Even the big shopping centres are feeling the pinch as the shopping habits have changed. There is a generation of shoppers that think nothing of click and buy online and wait for the delivery, its the internet generation they just see it as normal. This generation then complain that there is nothing is the shops because they are so used to browsing online swiping from side to side on their phone or tablet that is the challenge us retailers face now.If they complain that there is nothing in the shops maybe we should just put up some picture in the window and tell them we can deliver the pictured item within four days I wonder would it work? (Wouldn’t think so) We have the space we have the stock we have the smile we can giftwrap we can offer lots of different services that online cannot. We complain about the rates we pay the high cost of running a business but its what we do best. What I am saying is that local business in the high street has changed so much in such a short time. It’s time to attract the online generation back to the high street show them that we are still here and giving the best service in person with a smile.
At the moment the bench is in full swing doing custom work for different people. Well it will keep me busy these winter days. The request we are getting most often is. “Can you melt down my gold and remake it into something else? The answer is “Yes We Can” I don’t use the old gold for casting purposes as it never works out so what I do is clean remove all the stones and clean again and melt in a charcoal block to remove all impurities and then re-melt again in the crucible and form into sheet or bars whatever is needed to make the new jewellery and then it’s cutting, shaping, forming into something wearable. Some creations are made up of several small shaped bits soldered together so it is time consuming and as we are a business we don’t do the work for free. Its your gold and we just use it to make your new jewellery and anything left over is given back to you to use again. So if you want something handmade for you call in to see us on Tullow Street Carlow
Posted by Goldmark Jewellers Carlow on Thursday, October 22, 2015
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Recycled gold Ogham pendant made in Goldmark Jewellers Carlow
Ogham Script pendant
Here in our Carlow shop I have being requested for Ogham jewellery more often. The old Irish script is over 1000 years old and can be seen today on old standing stones around our wee Island with the script carved into them.
So we got this request for a pendant to be made from customers old broken jewellery. The design and style of pendant was agreed. The customer wanted her two daughters names on the piece so I showed her what the names would look like in Ogham script. All the broken jewellery was cleaned and stripped of any catches and pins made of steel and we removed them and melted everything together to remove all the inpurities and then remelted again and then the molten metal was poured into an ingot. I then rolled the ingot of gold into a nice flat smooth sheet metal about 2mm thick.(Its a good heavy bit of jewellery) I then sanded down the sheet into an nice snooth surface and cut to size. Any left over gold was returned to the customer. I suggested we kept the illusion set diamond from one of the broken rings and solder it on top of the pendant loop. Then the names in Ogham sript was cut into the pendant and polished and finished. Our customer was delighted with the pendant and wears it with pride while also telling whoever comments on it that she had it made in Goldmark Jewellers Carlow. All advertising is good.
I now plan to make silver matching rings and gold wedding rings photos to follow soon……….