Our article "The Art of Buying Jewellery" appeared in Social & Personal Dec/Jan edition. It's a cracker of an edition and we encourage you to buy a copy of the magazine where still available. For the unedited version of our article read more here.

Nestled among art galleries and specialist eateries on Dublin’s South Frederick Street sits DesignYard gallery with its carefully curated collection of contemporary jewellery.

Since 1994 we’ve worked hard to become Ireland’s ultimate destination for contemporary jewellery and art, gathering artists from Ireland and further afield in one convenient location. Our entire collection is available online and our customers have been making great use of our well-stocked website, click and collect, and try before you buy services during the pandemic.

Our top recommendation for buying jewellery is to talk to a small business like ourselves. We are all about building trusting and lasting relationships with our customers and providing a quality handmade product is only our starting point. Innovative and unique designs may catch our attention, but only excellent workmanship, expert use of materials, and wearability will convince us to take new work into our collection.

Probably the best way to assess the quality of workmanship is to look at the finishes and joins of a piece. The surfaces — even in a textured piece — should be free from tiny pitting (a sign of porosity and potential trouble). And a well-made piece—even in an organic design — will have smooth crisp lines at the joins.

It is always reassuring to find hallmarks in precious metal jewellery. Irish and UK based makers typically work in 9 karat (375) and 18 karat (750) gold. Continental makers may also work in 14 karat gold (585). Silver is generally marked 925. And platinum jewellery is generally marked PT950. You may also come across 22k karat gold and we even have a few exceptional designs in 24 karat gold (999).

If you’re a fan of diamond jewellery, look out for a diamond certificate, which will tell you the exact carat weight and assess colour, clarity and cut. You should know that a diamond certificate only grades a gem on its characteristics, it does not tell you if it is also a beautiful gem. We always joke that a diamond isn’t a diamond until it has passed the Ronan test: first it must have all the right characteristics and fit the budget, then Ronan Campbell assesses the gem for overall appearance - only the most beautiful make it to our jewellery.

Do also think about how you are going to use a particular piece of jewellery. Especially for jewellery you intend to wear every day it is important to look for strong gem settings and comfortable shapes - whether you prefer your jewellery large or small. For special occasion or evening wear you can choose more lavish or delicate designs and settings, as it won’t be getting as much wear. This is going to sound funny but unfortunately it has to be said: there is NO jewellery we recommend for the gym/sports, gardening, or working in environments with heavy machinery!

Our final recommendation is to consider the after sales services available to you. At DesignYard we offer a yearly service option, we can update your insurance valuations down the line, and we have a full repair and refurbishment service (yes, even for the ring you lost on the driveway and ran over - don't laugh, it's happened). Most service work is done in our workshops in Dublin, but for specific jobs our designers will help restore your beautiful piece. 

Want to learn more or see pieces in person - book your appointment here. 

December 24, 2020 — Nicole van der Wolf