Feature Friday - Q&A with Breda Haugh of Breda Haugh Jewellry

When most people think of "designer jewelry," their minds automatically flash to New York, Paris or London.  But let me tell you about another amazing source of stunning designer jewelry from what some might think of as an unusual locale...Ireland!

The Emerald Isle has more to offer than just claddagh rings and shamrocks!  And I am truly honored to have the opportunity to chat with talented and amazing Irish designer, Breda Haugh of Breda Haugh Jewellry!  Breda's work is featured in the gift shops of the Nation Museum in Ireland and is inspired by artwork housed there as well the history of the country itself. 

So please enjoy this amazing trip through time with Breda Haugh of Breda Haugh Jewellry!

Breda Haugh in the building where she has her studio.  It is a refurbished old tower on a canal basin in Dublin where several artists and designers work.  You can see their blog at:  thedesigntower.blogspot.ie

1.  What prompted your passion for jewelry and jewelry design?
I was introduced many different materials when in college and found metals really appealing.  I was intrigued with their power and how they could be manipulated to change shape and form, and couldn’t wait to find out how this occurred. 

This passion for Jewellery was also prompted by the wonderful gold artifacts  on display in our National Museum which my mother brought me to see as a child.  The discovery, too, that some of these artifacts had been found in the ground quite near an aunt's home - made such work all the closer.  These truly amazing pieces particularly the Lunalae, The Gold Ribbon Torc and Broighter Collar, and later Viking artifacts - show great skill and elegance of design.  It's hard to believe  were  made between the years  2000 BC to approximately 1000 AD.  

Image of real Harvest Knots courtesy of the Nation Museum of Ireland.

2.  What is your favorite piece or collection?
A recent piece would always be a favourite, but a special place is reserved for the Harvest Knot pendant I make in gold or silver, as it is my oldest design, first made when I was a student here in Dublin.  The idea is based on straw Harvest Knots which were exchanged at the harvest festival or Lunasa - in Ireland and elsewhere.

Breda's Harvest Knot designs in gold & silver.

3.  What would your perfect “jewelry day” involve / be like?
My most perfect working Jewellery day is a happy customer and especially if I have had the honour of making a piece of Jewellery to commemorate their wedding or engagement - some  special event.   

My most perfect Jewellery day off is to wander, view art exhibitions, museums, and  iconic brands, immersing myself in Jewellery history and culture.

4.  Thus far, what would you say is your proudest jewelry moment or memory?
I have had a few proud Jewellery moments but one which stands out is creating Jewellery based on artifacts in our museum which are sold in their retail shops. 

5.  Where do you find your greatest inspiration?
I am inspired by many things, but history and Irish culture are very important to me, particularly with a modern twist but I love city buildings too, which  have inspired cufflinks, and gemstones, especially when asked to use one for a special event. 

Pair of Cufflinks - both silver, one is oxidized (blackened) but both are inspired by architecture.

6.  In your personal wardrobe, do you find that you gravitate to one particular jewelry accessory (rings vs. necklace vs. bracelets vs. watches, etc.) more often than others?
I always enjoy rings, and playing with them, but am never without my Spiral pendant which is like a worry bead around my neck.

Spiral Pendants, both silver, one is oxidized (blackened), inspired by Celtic Art, particularly the La Tene style.
AND, the perfect holiday gift / stocking stuffer.....if anyone is looking for a gift idea for me! (Hint, hint!)

7.  When putting together an outfit, how do you feel about mixing metals, designs and even new with vintage pieces?
I enjoy mixing metals and do so in some of my work, and love the effect.  Mixed metals -  and the new with the old - can look very well if the items are carefully chosen.  It all depends on the personality.

Gold Dance pendant on chain, in silver with 18ct gold detail.
Inspired by "Movementand Dance through space - expressed by gold waves on silver."

8.  Layering seems to be a trend that is here to stay, for now. What are your feelings on the layered look?  How do you like layered necklaces with layered bracelets plus layered rings? 
I love it as long as the items are chosen carefully and are not chaotic, but it can be a great form of expression. 

9.  What advice would you give to budding jewelry designers? To budding fine jewelry collectors?
To budding Jewellery designers:  Perseverance.  Learn absolutely as much as possible, look at Jewellery everywhere - museums, shops and books, and do learn from good teachers.  It is important too to have work experience, both practical as in a workshop / manufacturing situation and in a shop too as this is where you will see how Jewellery is sold and what people want.  But most importantly, enjoy- it’s a long, fascinating and sometimes difficult road.  

A budding designer will then be able to decide on the area of Jewellery to belong to for themselves. 

To the budding Jewellery collector:  Keep collecting and buy what you like and can afford. Aim high!   

Flash QuestionDream trip destination?

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