The region of Connemara is the very edge of Europe on the west coast of Ireland, spanning the majestic Twelve Bens mountains, embracing lakes and pre-historic bogs, bounded on the west, south and north by the Atlantic Ocean. This beautiful region is the essence of Ireland, with unspoilt and ever changing invigorating landscape, capturing creativity and imagination. The famous Connemara Marble is mined from various quarries of the Twelve Bens mountains. Often called Ireland’s national gemstone, known locally as the "green gold of Connemara," gifts of Connemara Marble are traditional among family and friends, bringing serenity and good fortune.
Dating to the Precambrian era, 600 million years ago, Connemara Marble is one of the rarest ancient marbles still available to mine. Connemara Marble is exclusive to the West of Ireland and is considered the world’s finest green marble. it is a metamorphic rock, which formed when limestone was heated under pressure, which produced a hard granular rock.
Connemara Marble has a vast range of shades -- from creamy pale to dark green, sage, moss, sepia, cream and grey -- veins of crystalline calcite, mica and dolomite run through this serpentine-rich rock. Connemara Marble is mined in various locations within Connemara -- the main colouring of the marble can also vary depending on which mine it is from. With such colouring and amazing patterns, Connemara Marble lives up to the phrase "40 shades of green." Due to this natural shading, each Connemara Marble piece is different, making each gift completely unique.
The mining of Connemara Marble is one of Ireland's oldest industries, known to have been used for trading and bartering in Neolithic (New Stone Age) times. The first man-made exports from Ireland would have been decorative stone-axes made from Connemara Marble. A carved green marble spearhead, dating back 2,000 years, was excavated in Suffolk, in the United Kingdom. Connemara Marble is extremely durable and is resistant to scratches and stains, making it very suitable for jewellery and homeward products. It is the only marble sometimes used as a semi-precious stone.
The owners of the Connemara Marble mines are very particular so only the top stone masons are provided with a supply of this unique marble. Connemara Marble is extremely difficult to work with, to extract the correct shading of the marble to create a near consistent colour and pattern match for their pieces of craft and working along the lines of the marble to ensure pieces to use as home-ware items remain robust.
The suppliers to Totally Irish Gifts of Connemara jewellery and homeware crafted gifts are:
J.C. Walsh & Sons, Rathfarnham, Dublin
A family-run business established in 1946, who own and operate the oldest marble quarry, which was first opened in the 19th Century and visited in 1903 by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra during the Royal tour of Connemara. Quarried by hand at Lissoughter, Recess, County Galway, the marble is lifted from the ground and transported to the Walsh family's workshop in Rathfarmham Village, Dublin, where it is crafted and polished by hand.
Hennessey & Byrne, Russborough House, Blessington, County Wicklow
Eric Byrne is a second-generation master stone-mason with over 20 years experience working with marble. Eric carefully chooses each piece of marble he uses to handcraft his designs of quality functional tableware and giftware. Eric captures the essence and beauty of this ancient Irish marble to create truly unique Irish gifts. Eric's workshop is based in Russborough House and he sources his Connemara Marble from the quarries owned by the Joyce family, Recess, County Galway.
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Wild Geese Members Offer:
15% discount on all the Connemara Marble gifts on our website. in shopping cart, use discount code: WGCM15