Meet One of Ireland's most Renowned Jewellery Makers

by Ronan Campbell October 17, 2017

Meet One of Ireland's most Renowned Jewellery Makers

Renowned Irish Designer, Martina Hamilton has been creating unique jewellery for over 20 years. She takes inspiration from her stunning surroundings in the West of Ireland. Lost wax and hand engraving form a strong element of Martina's jewellery techniques resulting in her collections always having a strong element of vibrancy and dept.  

We sat down to have a chat with Martina to find out a little bit more about her and her inspirations. 

We hope you enjoy...

- Why did you choose to become a jewellery designer?

Jewellery design chose me…the summer I finished my studies in fine art sculpture I happened upon on a jewellery skills course and immediately began making and selling the jewellery. There was no planning involved and it was never my ambition but from the beginning I loved the pace of being able to create quickly ideas on a small scale and then loved the collaboration that you have with people in the process of making jewellery.  

- Describe the design DNA of your jewellery?

Even when I was making ceramic sculpture I was always fascinated with things you would find on the seashore, that would be weathered by the elements and had texture and form, so it was natural to bring that inspiration into jewellery making.

Martina Hamilton Collection Designyard

- Where is your jewellery bench?

My jewellery bench is in my brain! My workshop is in Sligo.

- What do you dream about?

World domination.

- Describe a perfect day for you?

When all the invisible connections become apparent! When the connection between lots of good things in your life show themselves. I love synchronicity, the magic of when you think of someone and they walk in the door.

- Do you have a crazy habit?

My work colleagues would say I don’t have a habit but that I am crazy! I go to work very excited everyday and I’m passionate about the silliest of things and I multitask conversations.

For example, I started a conversation on Monday morning with no hello, how was your weekend, but "what do you think about upside down Christmas trees?” I have to admit this isn’t unusual.

- What is your guilty pleasure?

I do like dark orange chocolate or any dark chocolate with alcohol.

- What is your must-have jewellery?

I absolutely love my seashore bangle, I haven’t taken it off since I first made it. I love the that it looks vulnerable yet strong, and the texture is lived in.  

Martina Hamilton Collection Designyard

- Do you have something you can’t live without?

Hugs from my twin daughters and my husband.

- What would your occupation be if you weren’t a jewellery designer?

I still yearn to make sculpture. As much I love jewellery and the fact that people wear it, sometimes I would love to command a space with a large scale sculpture.

- How do you decide what to create? 

I mull over ideas for weeks, months and years, usually when I’m walking on Streedagh beach. I collect all kinds of objects, then I start to play with them, then the concept builds from sketches to prototypes, to a piece of precious jewellery.

Martina Hamilton Large Shell Yellow Gold Plated Silver Necklace Martina Hamilton Shell Cone Medium 9ct Yellow Gold Necklace Martina Hamilton Single Shell Yellow Gold Plated Silver Earrings

- What kind of materials do you like working with and why? 

My favourite material is silver and rose gold. But I’m becoming much more drawn to yellow gold, when its textured and not hard or shiny. I love to be able to bring a softness to metal by texturing it.

- What is your biggest achievement in your jewellery career?

I think my biggest achievement is that I still get a buzz out of all aspects of making jewellery, especially working with people. It’s a privilege to know that you are doing what you are meant to be doing.

- Why do you like working with Designyard?

Designyard is a beautiful,  pure space where every customer is taken care of professionally. Ronan and Hilary also share a love of Sligo with me due to their family connections with this beautiful place.

What do you find rewarding about jewellery making?

In my art gallery above my shop, I was discussing the merits of a painting with a gentleman. I noticed he was wearing a very interesting ring. Out of curiosity,  I followed him and I couldn’t help myself I asked him where did he get his beautiful ring, where upon he turned around and said “Martina, you don’t recognise me but you made our wedding rings 20 years ago, and I love them.”  With every conversation a story is told of the pleasure that the piece I design, brings to the owner. 

Martina Hamilton Collection Designyard

- What kind of person wears your jewellery?

 You can’t cater for every personality. I like to make things that are irregular as you would find them in nature. I find symmetry makes me a little uncomfortable, I think my customers respond to that empathy with nature.

- What is your favourite day of the week and why?

Monday. Because I’m dying to get loads of things started. 

- What's on your bucket list this year?

Stay calm. Survive the busy times and always have make time for a laugh with friends.

- Who or what inspires you?

Individuality inspires me. The courage I have seen in people close to me.

-  If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

To be able to be add a week to the week, I’d love that! 

- Where is your favourite place to go in Ireland and why? 

There is a tidal rock outcropping in the sea at the end of Streedagh beach called Thur, you feel like you are on a ship at sea away from everything and coming and going from it, I’ve seen the most amazing skies over Benbulben and Mullaghmore. 


 See all of Martina Hamilton's wonderful collection for Designyard HERE



Ronan Campbell
Ronan Campbell


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