Rings by Chupi

Engagements

On the hunt for an alternative engagement ring? Ten Irish jewellery designers to check out

While the traditional diamond solitaire may be a timeless, elegant piece of jewellery, it's by no means for everyone. If you're looking to commission a bespoke engagement ring for your design-conscious bride or groom to be, THEVOW.ie Editor Karen Birney has some wonderful Irish jewellery designers worth checking out

For most people, choosing an engagement ring is no straight-forward task.

No only is it a piece of jewellery you're likely to spend a small fortune on, it's also something that will hopefully be around for a lifetime, on show to others and in the eyeline of the wearer day after day, year after year.

Needless to say, a good bit of thought needs to go into it.

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And while you may think that 'engagement rings' follow a specific structure - gold or platinum with a pretty diamond or two on top, there are of course a myriad styles to contend with.

For some people, the traditional  simply doesn't suit, and the idea of a bespoke, custom made ring is a better fit.

If you're looking for something unusual or alternative, or have a vision of a piece you just can't get your hands on, there are plenty of incredibly talented Irish jewellers out there to do the job for you, how you present it then - whether on top of a specially made Monopoly board or in an avocado - is up to you...

Related: Eight adorable ways to pop the question over the Christmas season

Here are some of the perhaps lesser known Irish jewellers to check out.

Irish engagement ring designers

1. Aoife O'Mahony

Based in Skibbereen in her native West Cork, goldsmith and jewellery designer Aoife O'Mahony has been creating elegant, timeless pieces since 2005.

Simplicity and honesty are the cornerstones of Aoife's jewellery business, where raw materials of gemstones, diamonds and metals tell their own story, according the designer herself. Aoife has a small range of engagement rings available in her collection, including traditionally-inspired designs made from sapphires, pearls and rose gold. She is passionate about creating unique wedding and engagement rings, and remodelling old jewellery to give it a new lease of life.

Some of Aoife's more unusual commission involved creating a 'ladybird themed' engagement ring, while as a certified diamond grader she can advise and design wedding bands to complement more unusual engagement rings

For more visit aoifeomahony.ie

2. Stonechat Jewellers

Stonechat Jewellers, located in the Westbury Mall in Dublin 2, is comprised of a team of four talented goldsmiths who specialise in both creative, contemporary commissions and remodelling old pieces into modern heirlooms.

Established by Ann Chapman in 2012, the boutique and in-house workshop also stocks a range of specially selected Irish and European designers.

For more visit stonechatjewellers.ie

3. Chupi

Purveyor of all things sparkly, Chupi Sweetman, the creator behind award-winning Irish jewellers Chupi has recently entered the world of weddings with her range of unique engagement rings and pavé wedding bands ideal for boho brides-to-be with a penchant for stacking.

Engagement rings include gemstones such as grey diamonds, morganite, aquamarine and classic diamonds, and all Chupi's jewellery is handmade in Ireland with ethical gold and conflict free diamonds.

For more visit chupi.com

4. Natasha Sherling

Fashion editor-turned-jeweller, Natasha Sherling is a GIA-trained gemmologist with an eye for quality gemstones.

Pieces from Natasha's ready-to-wear collection are available to buy online, while her commission work is showcased through her beautifully curated Instagram account.

For more see natashasherling.ie

5. Rudolf Heltzel

Kilkenny-based Rudolf Heltzel has been at the forefront of original Irish jewellery design for over fifty years. Now in the hands of German-born Rudolf's son Christopher, its innovative jewellers and goldsmiths specialise in creating pieces of 'wearable art'.

Christopher and his apprentices work using centuries-old tools to hand-craft sheet metal and precious gemstones into unique pieces including statement engagement rings that truly stand out from the norm.

For more visit rudolfheltzel.com.

6. Eily O'Connell

Donegal jeweller Eily O'Connell takes inspiration from nature - specifically man's destruction of it - for her collection of distinctive jewellery, the raw materials for which are sustainable and conflict-free.

That background brings about somewhat of a macabre, other-worldly feel to her designs, which include original and curios rings representing tree barks, berries, algae, 'the forest floor' and the Fiji Mermaid, amongst others.

Eily designs are for the truly unique, who search for beauty in nature. She does commission work from her workshop in Bath, UK.

For more visit eilyoconnell.com

7. Eva Dorney

Goldsmith and contemporary jewellery designer Eva Dorney trained with the Craft Council of Ireland in Kilkenny before working in the jewellery industry, and eventually set up her own business in Dublin in 2011.

Eva specialises in custom engagement rings and handmade wedding bands, which are noted for their clean, architectural lines. Although she says she can turn her hand to almost any style, she does favour a strong, contemporary feel for her designs, which can be created both from old pieces, and from new metals and gemstones.

The Dublin-based jeweller documents some of her commissions on her blog - including a 'hidden inner wedding ring' which was made from a family heirloom yellow gold band covered with a more wearable platinum for one savvy bride - which make for fascinating reading for those looking to create something really special.

For more visit evadorney.com.

8. Martina Hamilton

Martina Hamilton is a Sligo-based goldsmith and jewellery designer specialising in commissions.

Her location on the shores of the wild Atlantic lends itself to rugged, natural jewellery - a fusion of traditional craftsmanship and modern design.

Martina's designs have been worn by royalty, and some of her collection is housed in her award-winning shop The Cat and the Moon, where she also stocks several hand-picked Irish jewellery designers and craftspeople.

Together with her small family team of master goldsmiths, Martina creates beautiful commissions including elegant contemporary Irish heirlooms for the generations.

For more visit martinahamilton.ie

9. Tiffany Budd

Sligo based Tiffany Budd creates one-off designs in silver and gold, including special engagement ring commissions.

Tiffany runs a 'make your own wedding rings' day course from her studio in Sligo where couples learn the skills of jewellery making and come out with their wedding bands on a one-to-one basis.

Visit tiffanybudd.com for more.

10. Abana Jewellers

Based in Dublin's Powerscourt Centre Abana is a bespoke jewellery design house specialising in unique engagement and wedding rings.

They have 40 years experience manufacturing jewellery and can even take on old jewellery and create something new if you have a piece you'd love to redesign and make your own.

See abana.ie for more.