Frost on Leaves: Inner Island's new jewellery collection

Photo of Frost on Leaves: Inner Island's new jewellery collection

Gemma O’Leary is busy making jewellery from her new Ammil collection for the Christmas rush when we visit her Dublin studio overlooking the quaint street of Castle Market in the city. Her studio is bright, small and practical with all the tools of the trade: the hammers and files, mandrels and polishers, as well as some pretty potted plants courtesy of her horticulturalist husband and a woven wall-hanging by Weaverella.

Photo of Frost on Leaves: Inner Island's new jewellery collection

Gemma has been making jewellery for nine years, establishing Inner Island two and a half years ago. She says jewellery making was a case of “love at first making”. From the first time she did it she “instantly fell in love” with it. This passion is evident in both her conversation around the topic but also in the work itself which is beautifully done and different to that of many other designer-makers on the scene.

Photo of Frost on Leaves: Inner Island's new jewellery collection

“It all happened organically,” says Gemma of establishing her own brand. “I launched my own collection and had no expectations but the business has grown really fast really quickly. When I saw that people were responding very well and that I could make a living from it, it was wonderful.”

I was inspired by the the old Welsh word ‘ammil’ which means ‘frost over leaves that glisten’.

Her inspiration changes with each collection: “It could be that I am inspired by an object or an image. For the latest collection I was inspired by the old Welsh word ‘ammil’ which means ‘frost over leaves that glisten’. I wanted to produce a contemporary collection that is inspired by leaves, but more abstract, so it is roughly inspired by the shape of leaves in winter frost, falling and curling.”

Photo of Frost on Leaves: Inner Island's new jewellery collection

Previous Inner Island collections have been inspired by wooden boats, the child’s game of “Pick up Sticks” and an 18th Century window. “I think it’s important to have a point of reference,” says Gemma. “I think it’s important in design to try to create something different rather than deciding to sit down and make ‘something’. It makes your brain think differently if you have a point of reference rather than being influenced by ideas in your head or other things you’ve seen somewhere.”

​Previous Inner Island collections have been inspired by wooden boats, the child’s game of “Pick up Sticks” and an 18th Century window.

The current Ammil collection has eight pieces and is modern, minimal and contemporary complementing both day and evening wear. The collection consists of rings, earrings, bangles and a necklace. Her earrings are her most popular product and the current collection contains three earring styles. The pieces are produced in sterling silver and 18 carat gold plated sterling silver.

Photo of Frost on Leaves: Inner Island's new jewellery collection

While customers enjoy the fact that her jewellery is handmade in Ireland, Gemma believes that they are especially interested in the design of her products. “I would imagine my customer to be fashion conscious but not a fashion follower, culturally aware and interested in contemporary design, but as for age or income it can vary dramatically,” she says.

Photo of Frost on Leaves: Inner Island's new jewellery collection

Inner Island jewellery is currently sold in boutiques and stores around Ireland as well as in Japan, San Francisco and China. Gemma O’Leary will be attending her pop-up shop in Dublin department store Arnotts in the run-up to Christmas where customers will have the opportunity to have any initials or phrase hand-stamped onto her pendants upon purchase.  Prices in the Inner Island collection start from €70.

Photo of Frost on Leaves: Inner Island's new jewellery collection

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