The land stretching north of Galway City along Ireland’s rugged west coast is Connemara. It is a special part of the country, wild and splendid. It’s the western edge of Europe, and the Atlantic pounds the jagged coast with waves and wind. The land is mountainous, and the famous peaks of the Twelve Bens tower above grey lakes and green fields. The light has a unique quality there. Irish is spoken widely and warmly, and time goes slower. This is where the hardy Connemara pony developed, and the beloved breed is still a symbol of this untamed region.
Artists and craftspeople are drawn here by the tranquility and beauty, and a wide range of Irish gifts are made in Connemara – pottery, jewelry, bodhrans, knitwear, and all sorts of artwork. Being surrounded by the inspiration of nature’s untamed glory has to bring out anyone’s creative side, and the region’s quieter pace of life allows artists to focus on their work. Some of the most beautiful creations made here feature a stone unique to this corner of Ireland – Connemara marble.
Hundreds of millions of years old, Connemara marble is a metamorphic rock with color that ranges from pale grey to deep, forest green and features streaks and veins. It was formed by the pressure on heated limestone below the Earth’s surface. As the limestone was compressed into marble, other substances were merged into it giving it the distinctive marble look. The streaks and bands of color mean that each of the many Irish gifts made of Connemara marble is unique.
Polished Connemara marble is smooth and solid; it’s cool to the touch. Some people believe this stone has spiritual powers, but whatever your views on that, it’s hard to deny that the deep, natural colors of Connemara marble are relaxing and refreshing. Irish gifts such as jewelry made with Connemara marble offer a way to have what is literally an ancient piece of Ireland with you, and for many that has a deeply spiritual allure because it is a connection with ancestors and the land they walked on.
Both natural and elegant, Connemara marble jewelry is incredibly versatile. It’s easy to find pieces that are at home with jeans and also enhance the dressiest dresses. It’s more beauty than bling, while also being very down to earth. This stunning stone can be used in pendants, earrings, bracelets and rings with or without other stones. A silver setting is ideal for its green grey tones.
If you are lucky enough to visit Connemara yourself, a bit of Connemara marble is the perfect keepsake, and if you are looking for distinctive Irish gifts of jewelry, it is hard to do better than a necklace or other piece of jewelry that features this unique and elegant stone. There is no more beautiful way to keep a piece of Ireland close to your heart – or to give a piece of Ireland to someone special.