In Studio With
A goldsmith and gem specialist, Barry and Addrianna have been designing jewellery together for twenty years.Shop Doyle Design
Situated high above the 19th century listed Georges Street Arcade in a hidden loft, are Irish jewellery designers and husband and wife duo, Barry and Addrianna Doyle of Doyle Design Dublin.
A goldsmith and gem specialist respectively, they have been designing jewellery together for twenty years, with a special focus on quality, innovation and providing a personal experience for their customer.
WHAT ARE YOUR DIFFERENT ROLES IN THE BUSINESS?
Barry makes the jewellery and I do everything else; marketing, accounts, advertising and purchasing. We have one part-time staff member but we could do with ten of us (laughs).
HOW DID YOU BOTH GET STARTED?
Barry’s Dad was a goldsmith and as a result, he has been a goldsmith since he could sit at a bench. I have always loved jewellery. When we met, we thought it would be a good idea to start our own jewellery business. I began to study gemmology after that.
HOW DO GOLDSMITHS LEARN THEIR TRADE TODAY?
It’s a seven-year apprenticeship, which doesn’t exist anymore. If you were to learn the trade today, you would go to Poland, Germany or Israel. There’s a course in Kilkenny where you learn various skills, but sitting at a bench and making the jewellery is a different story to designing it on a computer. As a trade, it’s very popular in Europe, Belgium and Holland. There’s precious few in Ireland but it’s coming back through.
After the Celtic Tiger, people started to pay attention to quality and pay for quality. I think that element of having something handmade, an appreciation for design and the ability to make something has come back into play. There are more goldsmiths and silversmiths coming up through the ranks.
“After the Celtic Tiger, people started to pay attention to quality and pay for quality. I think that element of having something handmade, an appreciation for design and the ability to make something has come back into play.”
HAS SOCIAL MEDIA HELPED PROMOTE GOOD DESIGN?
It has brought an opportunity to see the story behind the brand, which people want.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED ABOVE GEORGES STREET ARCADE?
Since 1998, so twenty years. We’re the only loft in Georges Street Arcade. In its very first incarnation, the whole building was originally a fish market.
When we first bought it, there was no floor or stairs and we had to use a rope to get up - it was pretty derelict. We had to do a lot of work to it. I love it because you’re away from the chaos and not out on the main road. It’s a destination boutique. People come here specifically. They know about us and come to buy something they can’t get anywhere else.
“People don’t think about where their jewellery is made, how it’s made or who made it. They just go into a shop and buy it, but it could have been mass manufactured in China or India. We wanted to give people a chance to see how the jewellery is made.”
IT’S AN INTERESTING PLACE TO COME ASWELL, MORE LIKE A WORKSHOP…
It’s definitely more like a workshop than a shop, which is the reason why we started our business in the first place. People don’t think about where their jewellery is made, how it’s made or who made it. They just go into a shop and buy it, but it could have been mass manufactured in China or India. We wanted to give people a chance to see how the jewellery is made. They are often surprised, as most think you need vast quantities of space. It’s actually very detailed and intricate - you work in a very small area in front of you.
HOW MANY COLLECTIONS DO YOU DESIGN A YEAR?
We do ten to twelve collections a year. It takes three to four weeks to come up with the concept. We might have a notion of what we want to do and then we keep playing with it until we get there. We do sketches and on any commissions, we do drawings because the client needs to see it.
DO ANY CLIENTS STAND OUT?
We have lots of bridezilla stories (laughs). We’ve done some celebrity stuff - we made a bracelet for U2 to give to Michael Stipe for his inauguration into the Hall of Fame.