The Irish jewellery of Paul Coyne - telling tales in wood and silver

Paul Coyne has been making jewellery for the past ten years and has become known for his contemporary pieces which combine beautiful native Irish wood with silver in the form of pendants, earrings and cufflinks.

Photo of The Irish jewellery of Paul Coyne - telling tales in wood and silver

Originally self-taught in jewellery making, having studied furniture design and manufacture at GMIT Letterfrack, Paul went on to study jewellery design on the prestigious Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills and Design course in Kilkenny where he was awarded the accolade of Student of the Course 2015. 

Paul has since gone on to win numerous awards for his Irish jewellery, which is sold both online and in respected retail outlets such as the Kilkenny Design Centre, Designyard in Dublin and at the exquisite, multi-award-winning five star Adare Manor hotel in County Limerick.

Photo of The Irish jewellery of Paul Coyne - telling tales in wood and silver

Paul says that post-recession, customers are far more understanding of the design and manufacturing process of jewellery making than they were previously and that they are more appreciative of the work that goes into a handmade piece of jewellery. A conversationalist by nature, Paul also says that the handmade nature of his work, and the stories behind his designs, make for plenty of interesting conversations and better engagement with his customers.

Photo of The Irish jewellery of Paul Coyne - telling tales in wood and silver

Alongside his own collection, Paul also makes bespoke collections of jewellery for whiskey companies such as Tullamore Dew - incorporating the wood from whiskey barrels into his jewellery designs. “Having trained originally as a furniture designer, working with wood was almost inevitable for me,” says Paul. “Some of the whiskey companies heard about me and my designs and liked the idea of such unusual jewellery.”

Photo of The Irish jewellery of Paul Coyne - telling tales in wood and silver

The wood is certainly a talking point - it gives the piece of Irish jewellery provenance and it gives it a story. “Quite often, when jewellery is given as a gift, it’s nice to have something to talk about when giving the piece to the recipient,” says Paul. “I did a collection of cufflinks for Adare Manor using wood from the estate - that kind of provenance adds a real story and a sense of history to a piece of Irish jewellery.”

The majority of the wood Paul uses in his main jewellery collection is sourced in the midlands of Ireland - specifically in Co. Offaly where he lives and in the boglands near his home. He often works on bespoke pieces for private clients with his best-sellers being his cufflinks.

Quite often, when jewellery is given as a gift, it’s nice to be able to talk about where it came from - the wood in my jewellery gives the piece that sense of provenance

“Recently I was commissioned to make cufflinks for a wedding party incorporating wood from the family gardens of the bride and groom,” he says. “When you are giving a gift to your groomsman I think it makes it even more special when that level of thought has gone into the gift.”

Paul jokes that sometimes people give him huge pieces of wood with which to make a small item of jewellery but says that this also allows him to choose the very best aspect of the wood in order to create the most beautiful item of jewellery he can. Having worked in the construction industry and trained as a furniture designer, Paul works with wood from a huge variety of sources, from wooden gate posts to family fruit trees, depending on the requirements of his clients.

Photo of The Irish jewellery of Paul Coyne - telling tales in wood and silver

This Irish jewellery designer and maker says that stories and passion are very important to him as a designer but also to his customers. His beautiful silver Cobbles jewellery collection is inspired by the cobblestones around Kilkenny where he studied jewellery making. 

“I would walk over the cobblestones and think about all the people who had walked on them over the years and of the horses and carriages that trundled over them in the past and was fascinated by how some of them were worn in the middle of the thoroughfares, and others, still in a state close to the original, around the edges,” says Paul.

“Kilkenny, and my training in the city, has had a huge impact on me as a designer as well as the materials I use - whether that’s precious metal, premium oak from whiskey casks or a 5,000-year-old piece of bog oak.”

Photo of The Irish jewellery of Paul Coyne - telling tales in wood and silver

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