Irish Jewelry Design: Neolithic to Now

Like many Irish-American children, I was educated from birth in the history and traditions of Ireland—almost to the point of suffocation. I had a claddagh ring, but eventually stopped wearing it, as too many St. Patrick's Days requiring an "Irish Princess" sweatshirt began to take their toll. Since then I've preferred to absorb Irish culture on a more personal level, and I take great pride and interest in my heritage—but please don't ask me to wear kelly green! In January, I was lucky to attend Showcase Ireland 2001 in Dublin for a first-hand look at Irish jewelry. This annual craft-and-gift fair—the largest trade fair in Ireland—attracts 12,000-plus buyers (including many from overseas) and generates more than $42 million (IR£36.1 million) in sales. More than 70 Irish jewelry companies exhibit at the show, which this year celebrated its 25th anniversary. "Jewelry represents I
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