A Stuller Ring Story: Paula and Keith

Continuing our celebration of Stuller’s Year of the Wedding™, we are highlighting stunning engagement rings and the Stuller associates who wear them. 

Every couple is different and so is their journey to “I do.” Sometimes a couple finds each other in the most unlikely of places and at a time when they least expect it. For tools & supplies technical specialist Paula, her perfect match was a coworker of more than 20 years, but it was quite the journey to get there. Follow along on a story that epitomizes the saying, “Love is patient.” 

This is Paula and Keith’s ring story. 

New Beginnings 

Paula began her career at Stuller in 1995 in the stone setting department as a specialist. Within her first few years at Stuller, she experienced personal ups and downs, which ended with a divorce after 16 years of marriage. While not an experience anyone would want to go through, she looked forward to a new beginning and focused on supporting her children. 

At the time Paula had started at Stuller, Keith had already been with the company for three years and was a master stone setter. They worked together in the stone setting department for a few years and became friends. As time passed and their friendship grew, Keith decided to take things to the next level and asked Paula on a date. Having already been married and divorced, Paula was hesitant at first, but knew the Keith was a good man and decided to pursue the opportunity. 

Paula’s Perfect Ring 

As Paula would say, she loves “bling.” She told Keith that if she ever did get married again, she would want to “do it big.” 

With his connections in Stuller’s CAD/CAM team, Keith took a yellow gold Stuller mounting (now discontinued) that featured baguette diamond accents. In addition to the baguette accent stones, he filled in areas between those stones with round diamond accents. Then, he added a platinum setting complete with a marquise diamond. Keith is a certified gemologist and was very picky about what stones he wanted in Paula’s rings. With a service we now call Special Orders, Keith was able to source the perfect marquise diamond in the clarity and quality he wanted. 

Paula got Keith’s wedding ring and provided him with options. She chose three options from the catalog and told him to pick two. She wanted to make sure he would like the ring, but still wanted an element of surprise. He picked his two options, and she chose a simple two-tone band made with yellow and white gold to match the style of her ring. She also had their wedding date inscribed on the inside of the band. 

Five years after they were married, Keith also had matching bands made for Paula to go on either side of her engagement ring. Paula is a fan of having two bands accompanying an engagement ring. With the help of some friends in CAD/CAM services, Keith was able to get Paula’s ring under the guise of they wanted to practice making an imprint with her ring. What actually happened was Keith soldered two bands onto the ring and gifted her the complete ring for Christmas that year with Paula’s children.

The Journey from “Yes” to “I Do” 

A Holiday Proposal 

As you can imagine, things progressed very well for Paula and Keith. While Paula was enjoying their time together as they became serious about their relationship, Keith is the type of man that knows what he wants and made his intentions clear. In 1999, Paula was under the impression she was getting a watch for Christmas from Keith. However, while opening gifts with his family, she opened a watch box to no watch. 

She looked at him and whispered, “It’s empty.” He smiled and told her, “Look again real good.” 

Paula removed the watch collar from the box and laying there was the beautiful ring Keith had designed and customized just for her. She excitedly accepted his proposal. 

Patience is a Virtue 

While she was incredibly happy to be engaged to Keith, she wasn’t quite ready to get married again and Keith was a patient man. Every six months after their engagement, Keith would ask her, “Are you ready to get married?” Each time she replied, “Not yet.” Unphased, Keith would accept that answer and prepare to ask again in another six months. 

This six-month routine repeated itself for over three years. While many would be shocked to hear a story like this, Paula and Keith were not in a rush. They had each other and that was enough. That is, until Paula came to a personal realization. 

A True, South Louisiana Wedding 

In March 2003, Paula was at her bench in her new role in the modeling department. The thought came to her, “That’s a good man I have. He’s taken ‘no’ every six months and still treats me like a queen and puts me on a pedestal.” 

On her break that day, she walked up to his office in stone setting. She told him that she knew it was not his usual check in time, but she was now ready to get married. He replied with a simple “okay” and went back to work. As she walked back to her bench from his office, she was a little confused at how nonchalantly he responded. In fact, she turned around and went back to his office to talk to him about how he felt about the wedding, but he was gone. 

Confused and slightly anxious at Keith’s sudden departure from work, she went home at the end of the day wondering what he was up to. As she walked in the house, she saw Keith sitting in the living room and on a table was a marriage license ready for them to get married that upcoming weekend. 

Within three days, Keith and their families were able to coordinate a wedding true to their southern Louisiana roots. Complete with their families, they celebrated the next stage of their lives with a crawfish boil at their home and the rest is history. Paula and Keith remain happily married to this day and still work at Stuller along with several members of their family. 

A Stuller Happily Ever After 

The beautiful thing about love is that it can be unexpected and find us when we least expect it. Paula and Keith’s story is one with a long winding journey, but also with the happy ending they both deserve. The fact that their Stuller family was able to be along for the ride the entire way made it all the better. 


Fall in love with the other stories in our collection!

Blake and Morgan

Heather and Cody

Marci and Josh




Claim your love with Claddagh Ring

Claim Your Love With A Claddagh Ring

Legend Has It

With St. Patty’s Day so near, let’s look at an Irish jewelry tradition — the Claddagh Ring. It traces its humble origin to Claddagh, a small sea-faring village in western Ireland. Said to be the oldest fishing community on the island, Claddagh sits on the banks of Galway Bay, right outside the city walls of Galway. Rumor has it that Richard Joyce, a 17th century Galway native, designed the Claddagh ring. According to folklore, Joyce left his true love on a journey to the West Indies intending to marry her upon his return. Instead, pirates seized his ship and peddled him as a slave to present-day Algeria. Joyce’s owner, a Moorish goldsmith, saw his potential and trained him as a craftsman. After many years, King William III ordered all British captives freed from the Moors. Richard Joyce finally returned home with a ring he created that symbolized his enduring love and commitment. He presented the token to his lady-in-waiting, and they wed after countless years apart.

The Claddagh Ring: An Heirloom

Since then, the Claddagh Ring has stood as a symbol of Irish heritage. Traditionally gifted by a lover, friend, or family member, the Claddagh conveys a deep personal connection. When a girl comes of age, she may receive an heirloom Claddagh ring. It can pass from mother to daughter or from grandmother to granddaughter. During the Great Famine of the 19th century, masses emigrated to escape their country’s peril. In most cases, Claddagh rings were the only items of value families could bring to their new home. Even today, the style rules across much of Ireland and has garnered worldwide popularity.

Loyalty, Love & Friendship

The design itself is a variation of Roman fede rings, featuring two clasped hands to signify faith and trust. Similarly, the Claddagh shows two hands holding a crowned heart.

14K Yellow & White Ladies Claddagh Ring

 

•  The Crown – Symbolizes Loyalty

•  The Heart – Symbolizes Love

•  The Hands – Symbolize Friendship

 

The style has grown to express Irish identity and symbolizes friendship, along with adaptations as engagement and wedding rings.

 


If Worn on the…14K White Ladies Claddagh Ring

Right Hand with the tip of the heart facing outward, the wearer’s heart is open. This means they are single and possibly searching for true love.

14K White Ladies Claddagh Ring
Right Hand with the tip of the heart facing inward, toward oneself, someone has captured the wearer’s heart. This signifies a ring given by a friend or someone in a relationship.

14K Yellow Men's Claddagh Ring

 

Left Hand with the tip of the heart facing outward, the wearer is engaged. We see this style worn the least.

14K Yellow Men's Claddagh Ring

 

Left Hand with the tip of the heart facing inward, toward oneself, the wearer is married with their heart paired with their partner’s for eternity.

 


Did You Know?

The buzz about the Claddagh style has erupted in recent years. Designs have grown increasingly ornate, embellished with jewels and fancy metals. The basic style, however, remains the same. You may have seen the ring on the popular series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where Angel presented the ring to Buffy for her birthday. Our late President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie also owned a pair of Claddagh rings after visiting Galway in the 1960s. Finally, the Partners statue in the Magic Kingdom depicts Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse perched in front of Cinderella Castle. Interestingly enough, Walt Disney is sculpted with a Claddagh Ring on his right hand with the tip of the heart pointed outwards (wrongly worn, considering Disney’s marriage). This iconic statue sets in stone the popularity and prevalence of Claddagh Rings representing Irish heritage and culture.

 

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney Claddagh Ring

Disney’s Partners Statue • Source

Walt Disney Claddagh Ring Right Hand

Walt Disney’s Claddagh Ring • Source


Read on about St. Patrick and his Jewelers here and Why We Celebrate St. Patty’s Day.

 




Solitaires with a Twist

Think back to the 1965 Mustang, Coca-cola, Frank Sinatra, and Audrey Hepburn. All classics. These style icons have withstood the test of time, bringing nostalgia and happiness to our lives. These classics continue to inspire us with their multi-generational appeal. Likewise, solitaires are another timeless trend that has yet to fade away. Long a symbol of sophistication and grace, these timeless options have served as staple choices for decades, withstanding the test of time.

Why are solitaires a classic? They’re simple and refined. And there’s no better way to show off a gorgeous diamond than with a shank and mounting that directs onlookers to the center stone’s brilliance.

At a glance, each ring featured here shines as a solitaire. But closer inspection reveals their intricate design. With the engagements featured below, our design team set out to create styles that remained faithful to the solitaire’s proven aesthetic while incorporating fresh details that fashionable brides are sure to appreciate. Best of all, these special, subtle features don’t detract from the beauty of the diamond – they enhance it!

 

Solitaires = classic. They're simple, refined, and the best way to show off that gorgeous 💎 Click To Tweet

The Vintage-Inspired Beaded Beauty • 123555

Solitaires Accented White Gold Beaded Engagement Ring Solitaires Accented White Gold Beaded Engagement Ring

From an overhead view, this style seems like a simple solitaire ring. But peer underneath the head for silky scrollwork and a hidden gem. Influenced by the Baroque period, this ring adds intricate beaded details to its classic form.


Elegant Arches with Underside Accents • 123552

Solitaires Accented Yellow Gold Arched Diamond Engagement Ring Solitaires Accented Yellow Gold Arched Diamond Engagement Ring

With its subtle arches, this solitaire ring is robust, yet delicate. Small diamonds take discreet refuge in the bridge of this striking cathedral setting. Complete the look with sparkling yellow gold metal to usher the bride-to-be straight to the chapel.


6 Sharp Prongs with a Knife-Edge Shank • 123548

Solitaires Accented Knife-Edge Shank White Gold Engagement Ring Solitaires Accented Knife-Edge Shank White Gold Engagement Ring

This ring features two fascinating twists. A six prong setting is an easy way to make any simple solitaire distinctive. This design goes further by detailing the bottom of each prong with a diamond-accented heart motif. Then the knife-edge shank adds depth and dimension that keeps the design simple, yet charming.


The Two-Toned Show Stopper • 123440

Solitaires Two-Tone Rose White Gold Diamond Engagement Ring Solitaires Two-Tone Rose White Gold Diamond Engagement Ring

This trendy two-tone solitaire gives a modern spin to a classic style. Its overall design offers a great balance between structure and elegance, perfect for the bride who prefers a contemporary style with an unexpected twist.

 

Luckily, our design team has been hard at work creating on-trend bands to complement these solitaires. In fact, ornate bands pair well with simple engagements, giving the bride-to-be a balanced look and presenting the perfect upsell opportunity. Find our newest bands here.


What’s your favorite spin on the classic solitaire design? Let us know in the comments below! And for more inspiration, check out five ways to rock the two-stone trend here.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 25, 2015 and has since been completely revamped for accuracy. 




Trend Alert: Metal Minimalism

For thousands of years, we’ve treasured silver and gold. They are beautiful and, most importantly, rare. Their burnished sheen entices the eye and holds our attention. And the enduring value of these precious metal enhances their appeal. No matter the case, bare metal is beautiful. That’s why we were so delighted when JCK News declared minimalism a re-emerging trend for 2017.

This trend fully embodies the adage, “less is more,” celebrating a metal’s texture, form, and finish. Rather than boasting intricate pattern or fine detail, these pieces command attention through their elegant simplicity. Minimalism also wraps all our favorite elements together, combining geometry, negative space, symbolism, and fashion. To send a subtle, simple, and sophisticated message, choose these minimalist looks. They’ll carry you into 2017 and beyond with poise and panache. Below, see a few inspiring picks that portray this trend.

Charming Symbols

Over-The-Moon!

 

Setting the Bar

 

 Refined Rings

 Bypass-Style-Tags

 

A Step Above Studs

Texture-Tag

 

Cuffs With Class

Criss-cross-cuff-tag

Do you absolutely love the minimalism trend? How have your customers received this style? Will this be the defining trend of 2017? Share your thoughts below!

 

Did you happen to watch the Golden Globes this year? Read more about the red carpet trends here. 




Post-Sales tips

Be a Timeless Bride (With a Trendy Twist)

Today’s brides want to make an individual fashion statement. But, it doesn’t mean that they want to venture too far from the beaten path when it comes to picking an engagement ring. Subtle details like small adjustments or hidden elements are just the right touches to make a ring unique to its wearer (Customization helps too, as almost 50% of brides opt to add a custom element to their rings – Knot Survey, 2015). If your brides are looking to make a classic statement, offer some of these suggestions:

Two-Stone Engagement Rings

With so much symbolism behind them, two-stone rings are great because they are multipurpose. They can be used to symbolize love or celebrate a special occasion all while providing a unique look. Bypass and halo-style — two elements that we’ve seen before keep this ring in a traditional playing field.

Horizontal Halo-Style Engagement Rings

Who knew something so simple as changing the direction of a stone would create such an updated engagement ring, even on the most classic style? East-to-west engagements do just that!

Solitaire Engagement Rings

This solitaire is one of my all-time favorites this year. It has a lot of substance to it, with a very substantial width shank, six prongs around the center stone, and beautiful sparkle surrounding the gallery. So classic with a glam touch. Sometimes adding a bit of hidden sparkle is all you need.

Diamond-Accented X Engagement Ring

This ring is for the bride looking for something none of her friends will have. We started with a very modern X shank, added a pattern to the inside, and topped the whole ring off with edgy and updated claw prongs holding the center stone in place.

Vintage-Inspired Engagement Rings

Vintage styling has made a huge statement this year. It is the trend customers are asking for more than anything. We have taken many classic styles and added feminine, romantic details through metal work and diamond accents to create timeless vintage looks.

Solitaire Engagement Rings with Hidden Elements

Gallery accents and two-tone styles have been on our bridal radar all year long. Brides love being able to add a little something special that only she might know about on the gallery of the ring, using unique details, and mixing up the metal color a bit with a touch of rose or yellow gold.

What are your thoughts on these unique styles? Are there any other distinctive looks your customers love? Share with us in the comments below!




Sizing A Channel Set Mounting

Have you ever experienced the nightmare of sizing down a channel set mounting that has already been set, with the channel running across the shank (see illustration 1)? If so, you may have also experienced the stones falling out or becoming loose. Though this problem does not exist with all channel set mountings, the following tips may help you avoid having to reset or replace a stone.

HELPFUL HINTS:

  1. Cut out the amount needed to size the ring down to required size at the bottom of the shank, leaving the shank open.
  2. Saw completely through the bottom bearing of the head (see illustration 1).
  3. Saw halfway through the top bearing.
  • You may need to bevel the bottom bearing depending on how many sizes the ring has to go down. This allows the shank to bend in from the top.
  • If the ring is solid (see illustration 2 & 3) saw two-thirds of the way through and slightly bevel the saw cut to allow for movement of the ring during the bending process.
  1. Now you can bend the shank in from the shoulders to fit flush. Solder the shank back together at the bottom, then fuse with torch or laser the relief cuts you sawed. The ring will appear slightly egg shaped, so you may not want to round it out completely.
  2. Finish the piece as you normally would. You may need to tighten stones, but the process will keep stones from falling out of their seats/ or breaking.

Another problem you may come across is sizing a ring up that has already been channel set. This creates a completely different problem. Sometimes when sizing up more than one size you may chip or break the stones.

This does not happen with all channel set mountings, but unfortunately it can happen, especially if the stones are close together or if they touch one another. A good example of this is the mounting shown below (see illustration 4). This particular ring needed to be sized from a size 10 to a size 12. All of the stones were touching one another.

ring

Illustration 1

illustration2

Illustration 2

illustration3

Illustration 3

Illustration 4

HELPFUL HINTS:

  1. Saw the shank at the bottom, then saw a relief cut on the inside at the top of mounting (see illustration 4). Slide the ring onto a mandrel, pull the ring down the mandrel with your fingers to a size 11 ¼ being careful of stones. It is not a good idea to go up all at once. This can put too much pressure on the stones and cause stress on the mounting (see illustration 5).
  2. Use a piece of flat or square sizing stock twice the thickness of the shank, you will be hammering it up the rest of the way (see illustration 4). Place sizing stock flush against the opening of the shank, and try to get it flush on the inside of the shank.
  3. Solder your stock in place with hard solder. Let ring air cool. If the shank is not flush on the inside, you will need to remove the excess stock until the inside of the shank is flush. If the shank and stock are not close to being flush, the ring can pop open at the solder joint when hammering the ring up.
  4. Slide the ring onto the mandrel. Round it out slowly to avoid breaking stones. It is important you do not try to round out the top of ring flush with mandrel (see illustration 4). Once you have rounded the ring at the bottom, start hammering on sizing stock with a metal hammer until you have reached the size you need. When hammering up you will need to flip the ring on the mandrel to each side so your shank will stretch evenly. You may also want to leave the shank slightly oval if sizing up more than 1 ½ to 2 sizes. It will be much safer for the stones and place less stress on the mounting.
  5. Once you have reached the size you need, file excess metal off the sides and file top of plug even with shank. By now your plug has been hammered close to the thickness of the shank with a little filing on the outside. File evenly, then finish your ring as you normally would.

Illustration 4

Illustration 5

*It is important to note that increasing/decreasing the size will change the circumference and getting the ring completely round may not be an option.

Do you have any sizing tips? Tell us, in the comments section below.




March Bridal Madness

We just love being a part of the jewelry industry! When jewelers set out to create a perfect piece of jewelry, they pour their hearts and souls into each step of the process. And the entries we received for our 4th annual March Bridal Madness design contest proved to be no exception.

Twenty-five talented jewelers submitted rings into the competition. The requirement: designs had to be an engagement ring or wedding band created either for a customer or for the jewelers’ own showcase. The participants shared their entries on social media and fans voted on their favorites via Facebook.

After a two-week voting period, the top three finalists were determined by the number of “likes” their designs received on Facebook. Our top three were:

John Patrick, Patrick’s Fine Jewelry and Gifts

bridal ring bridal ring

 

Allen and Cindy Lee, Jewelry Repair Professionals

bridal ring bridal ring

 

Adrienne Hanks, Bijoux Jewelers

bridal ring

Out of those three entries, we had a panel of five judges, representing different areas – sales, marketing, design, and manufacturing – review and critique each piece and select an overall winner. They looked for overall beauty, originality of design, craftsmanship, consumer appeal, market value, and wearability.

After all the scores were tallied, John Patrick of Patrick’s Fine Jewelry and Gifts came out on top. Here are some things the judges had to say:

“The overall aesthetic is pleasing. It looks to be nicely proportioned with lots of fine detail and a nice finishing job.” – Adrienne K., Design

“I love the traditional with a twist element of the etching and even patina-like appeal with pave set in a non-traditional halo which does a sort of overlap.” – Miranda C., Sales

“Detail to halo updates the ring to meet the standards of today’s brides while still retaining the integrity of something we would have been seen in 1920s. The way the halo ebbs and flows around the head compliments the piece perfectly.” – Alex C., Marketing

A BIG thank you to everyone who entered this year. We’ll be back next year, so stay tuned! And make sure to follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube) for all the details on upcoming contests and promotions.

Which was your favorite ring? Tell us in the comment section below.




A Mother’s Day Bouquet

Jewels and flowers aren’t so different. Explosions of color and shape, they speak through our senses and straight to our souls. They remind us how beautiful the world can be. Spring reminds us too. Mother Earth wakes up. Flowers fill the fields. Color returns to the world, and on the second Sunday of May, we celebrate mothers, the givers of life.

So consider this lookbook a sort of mother’s day bouquet. Arranged with mothers in mind, it presents new  trends, classic styles, bestsellers, and popular mother’s day favorites.

For even more choices, visit Stuller.com/Mom.

md2016

What are your favorite Mother’s Day styles? Tell us in the comment section below.




Saint Patrick and His Jewelers

Saint Patrick’s Day means vastly different things to different people. For many of us here in the U.S., it’s Saint Paddy’s, a wild, Guinness-infused romp—a sort of Irish-American mini-Mardi Gras. For the more devout, it’s The Feast of Saint Patrick, a day of reverence and churchgoing.

But isn’t it time we in the jewelry industry ask some pertinent and pressing questions—who exactly was this Patrick, and, even more importantly, who were his jewelers?

That may sound like a very silly question. But it’s only partially silly.

The story of Saint Patrick actually intersects with the world of jewelry in a number of important and intriguing ways. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today: the Saint Patrick of history and legend, and the fascinating jewels and jewelers that are part of his story.

Bishops and Bling

First, let’s address the leprechaun in the room: who was this fellow?

As with all saints, what we know of his life is a mixture of fact and—very beautiful and meaningful—fiction. A few basic points:

Patrick was a fifth-century Christian missionary of Romano-British heritage, who later became one of the first bishops in Ireland and, eventually, Ireland’s most famous patron saint. He most probably spoke a form of British as his native language.

Kidnapped by Irish pirates at the age of 16, he spent years as a slave, herding cattle for an Irish overlord. Eventually, he escaped and returned to Britain, but not before thoroughly absorbing Irish language and culture and deciding to devote his life to spreading Christianity.

Although, once again, the border between history and legend remains murky, with Patrick considered the central figure in spreading Christianity in Ireland after converting thousands of people and founding hundreds of churches. In legend, he assumes supernatural proportions, performing a number of miracles, the most famous being the banishing of all snakes from Ireland.

But What About The Jewelry?

As anyone with a passing knowledge of historical jewelry knows, religions have engendered some of the world’s most glorious jewels. The Catholic Church is no exception, and jewels have always figured prominently in the regalia of upper-echelon prelates, such as bishops, archbishops, and, of course, popes. Anyone questioning the ecclesiastical appropriateness of jewelry or gemstones need look no further than the Old Testament, which is famously full of interesting ritual usages for gemstones and jewels (think of the golden rings cast for the Ark of the Covenant, or the bejeweled breastplate of the Hebrew high priests).

saint-patrick-pectoral-cross-pattee

The cross pattée: the cross most commonly associated with St. Patrick

Patrick, as a senior prelate, likely owned his fair share of ecclesiastical jewelry. Bishops and other upper clergy in the early middle ages wore pectoral crosses—large, ornate crosses worn on a chain across the chest (the ancestors of the tiny ones folks wear today). Patrick, in particular, is associated with a certain cross type, the so-called “cross pattée,” which features arms that flare outward as they extend from the center. It may be the case that Patrick himself wore a large, ornate, pectoral cross pattée of the sort that remains prominent in Irish iconography.

saint-patrick-gilded-crozier

A gilded crozier

Bishops also had ceremonial croziers, curved staffs with crooks, sometimes gilded and covered in jewels. According to legend, Patrick’s crozier was none other than the Bachal Isu, the Staff of Jesus, which he reputedly received from a hermit who had received it from Jesus himself. An ancient, bejeweled staff believed to be Patrick’s was housed for centuries at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin before being burned during the Protestant Reformation.

Saint Patrick Episcopal rings

Episcopal rings

Established churchmen also wore a variety of ecclesiastical rings. Bishops, in particular, when ordained by a cardinal, received a so-called episcopal ring (episcopal meaning ‘having to do with bishops’). Episcopal rings are and have been quite large gold rings, either stone-set or engraved for use as a signet. Bishops inherited the episcopal rings of their predecessors, and many beautiful and ancient rings were passed down this way through the centuries. 

Saint Patrick In The Jewelry Business

Saint Patrick, however, apparently had few predecessors and thus little in the way of glorious jewelry to inherit. As a missionary in a pagan land, where the Roman church had yet to build up a significant following, much less a store of ecclesiastical treasure, it fell to Patrick not just to convert souls, but to create the precious ritual equipment of Catholicism—the altars, the tabernacles, the bejeweled chalices and patens and pyxes for the bread and wine, the golden shrines for holding the fragile bound Gospels, not to mention the bells that would call the flock to worship.

To do this, of course, he needed jewelers. Or, at least, he needed the early medieval equivalent of jewelers—skilled goldsmiths, coppersmiths, and bellfounders who had the technical knowledge to create the items that a growing church would need. It comes as no surprise, then, that two of Saint Patrick’s best-known disciples, Saint Asicus and Saint Daig, were apparently highly skilled metalworkers.

Again, although their stories are a blend of folklore and fact, what they represent is important: the fusion of ancient Celtic and Scandinavian metalworking artistry into a creative vessel for Judeo-Christian history, religion, and culture. The result was a mighty artistic explosion that influences Irish art and culture to this day.

Saint Asicus

Often called Tassach or Tassac, we celebrate Saint Asicus as Patrick’s chief ironworker and coppersmith, also revered as the patron saint of coppersmiths. Converted to Christianity by Patrick, he receives credit for the original ecclesiastical ornaments in many of the early Irish churches, including the one in Elphin, Ireland, where Asicus later became the first bishop.

Saint patrick bell shrine

Saint Patrick’s Bell Shrine

Hagiographers (people who research and write about saints) point especially to Asicus’s reputation as a sought after bell-maker, or bellfounder. The expanding church needed church bells, and people with the necessary casting skills were in high demand.

So, it may have been Asicus who cast one of the most famous Irish relics, Saint Patrick’s Bell. Believed to have belonged to Patrick himself, the simple iron bell resides today in the National Museum of Ireland, accompanied by its magnificent gilded and bejeweled shrine. Jewelers will perhaps be most interested in the shrine, a beautiful example of hybrid Celtic/Scandinavian artistry, complete with filigreed gold patterns and large rock crystals cut en cabochon. Although they appear elsewhere in Christendom, Irish bell shrines are particularly famous—for their beauty, craftsmanship, abundance, and, of course, their unique Irishness.

Saint Daig

Saint Patrick Domnach Airgid

The Domnach Airgid

Another of the chief relics associated with Patrick is the Domnach Airgid, a shrine that once contained what was believed to be Patrick’s personal copy of the Gospels. Like bell-shrines, book-shrines combined beauty and functionality in the service of the expanding church, protecting parchment from Ireland’s notoriously damp climate. Although the Domnach Airgid was likely crafted hundreds of years after the death of Patrick, book shrines were extremely common in the early days of the church in Ireland as well.

In fact, we celebrate another of Patrick’s disciples, Saint Daig, as a fabricator of particularly beautiful and effective book-shrines. As Daig’s legend goes, he became trapped as a boy in a monastery fire and initially believed dead. When the fire finally subsided, however, he was discovered completely unharmed. The abbot, Saint Mochta, then prophesied that Daig (which means ‘great flame’) would become a celebrated craftsman in the service of the church. And the prophecy came true:

Afterwards Daig became a celebrated artificer. This holy man is said to have fashioned no less than one hundred and fifty bells, and one hundred croziers. He likewise made cases or covers for sixty Gospels—i.e., books containing the writings of the four Evangelists. Such is the O’Clerys account, and in confirmation of it they quote an Irish quatrain, of which the following is an English translation :—

“Thrice fifty bells, victorious deed,

With one hundred strong-ringed croziers,

With sixty perfect gospels,

By the hand of Daigh alone.”

Besides these, it is stated, that he manufactured shrines, cases, chalices, pyxes, dishes, altariola, baculi, crucifixes, and chrysmals. We are informed, moreover, that while some of these were plainly made, others were highly wrought with gold, silver and precious stones, which were added as ornaments to them. (Lives of the Irish Saints, Volume 8)

Why All This Matters For Us 

So the point of all of this is that we in the jewelry business have very good reasons to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. The history of Irish metalworking is fascinating and deep, extending far into the reaches of pre-history, and it remains relevant to people today interested in expressing Irish identity through jewelry.

Whether today finds us piously revering the goodly saint by singing solemn hymns at mass in our parish church, or raucously celebrating the wild Irish spirit by singing bawdy ballads in the local pub, or both, jewelers can take heart in the fact that their medieval forefathers played a mighty role in the story of Ireland’s most famous holy man.

So let’s raise a glass and toast to them and all of the beautiful things they created. 


Ever wondered why we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day? Find your answer here!

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Brassington, William Salt. 1894. A History of the Art of Bookbinding: With Some

Account of the Books of the Ancients.

“Celtic Metalwork Art: History, Characteristics of La Tene, Hallstatt Cultures.” 2016.

Accessed March 14. http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/irish-crafts/celtic-metalwork-art.htm.

Colm. 2016. “The Domhnach Airgid, An Early Irish Book Shrine | Irish Archaeology.”

Accessed March 14. http://irisharchaeology.ie/2015/02/the-domhnach-airgid-an-early-irish-book-shrine/.

Freeman, Philip. 2004. St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography. Simon and Schuster.

Hourihane, Colum. 2001. From Ireland Coming: Irish Art from the Early Christian to the Late Gothic Period and Its European Context. Princeton University Press.

Jones, Andy, James Gossip, and Henrietta Quinnell. 2015. Settlement and

Metalworking in the Middle Bronze Age and Beyond: New Evidence from Tremough, Cornwall. Casemate Publishers.

Lovett, Richard. 1891. Ireland Illustrated with Pen and Pencil. Hurst.

Marcella. 2013. “Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae: Saint Daigh of Iniskeen, August 18.”

Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae. August 18.

Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York. N.Y.) 1977. Treasures of Early Irish Art, 

1500 B.C. to 1500 A.D.: From the Collections of the National Museum of Ireland,

Royal Irish Academy, Trinity College, Dublin. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

O’Hanlon, John. 1873. Lives of the Irish Saints: With Special Festivals, and the 

Commemorations of Holy Persons. James Duffy.

Warren, Frederick Edward. 1881. The Liturgy and Ritual of the Celtic Church.

Clarendon Press.




My Ever&Ever™ experience

My business is fairly new (started in December of 2013). Before opening my doors, I had never worked in a jewelry store, or anywhere else in the jewelry world for that matter. It was new, exciting, and of course, scary. I had never owned a business before either, and it seemed like an uphill journey. My small city has six other jewelry stores besides my own. I knew that in order to make it, I had to somehow be different. That’s when I discovered Stuller and what they had to offer.

My first major purchase was a CounterSketch® license. I knew that embracing technology would set me apart from the competition and drive clients to my store. They wanted a new jewelry buying experience, exactly what CounterSketch offered. It worked! The response was phenomenal and people were excited. The only downside was there was no opportunity to see the jewelry in person and try on pieces before purchasing them. Luckily for me, Stuller had just the solution — Ever&Ever™.

12717938_10153955836762152_5070448301283316698_nI purchased the Ever&Ever collection to allow my clients to get a feel for what they loved before making such an important purchase. I love that the collection has a brand and that it stands out. I can show my clients the Facebook or Instagram pages and see the excitement in their faces. I have my collection displayed on top of my showcase. As soon as you walk in, it’s the first thing you see. Everyone is drawn to take out the pieces and try them on. They love it.

Pairing Ever&Ever with CounterSketch was one of the best decisions I could have made. And I’ve never looked back. Closing sales is easier now that customers have something to try on first. I had one client wear the sample during the entire design session. She didn’t want to take it off.

About a month ago, I displayed the Ever&Ever collection at a bridal fair in my area. It was the first one I had ever done, so I had no clue what to expect. The results were outstanding. I had many people (too many to count) stop by and try on pieces. Some even stopped by our booth more than once. It was a fantastic experience, and I can hardly wait to show off the collection at the next one.

Ever&Ever has changed the way my store does business and has changed the jewelry buying experience for my area. With so many customizable options and such a great price, you can’t go wrong.

Do you own Ever&Ever? How has it helped your bridal sales? Tell us in the comment section below.