by Claire O'Regan
Rummaging around old drawers and boxes at home, I am sometimes both surprised and pleased to find old coins buried in the deep, dark corners. This money was individual to us as Irish people. That was before the Euro took over in 2002 and most of Europe was branded with the one currency. Both the pre decimal and decimal money was beautifully illustrated with cows, pigs, birds, stags and Celtic designs, mirroring the very nature of our agricultural and creative nation. The designs were done by various artists including Gabriel Hayes and Percy Metcalfe.
When I find the old money lying around the house, as we all do, I often think to myself that I would love to do something with it. But alas, I put it back into the dark drawer where I found it until the next time I find it and think the same thoughts again. Thankfully the artist Branden Kern of Lámhanna Jewellery does not do so. He makes stunning jewellery from old money. He breathes (or in his case, actually beats) new life into the coins and fuses them together with copper and steel to create broaches, bracelets and other uniquely Irish Jewellery. Branden however, is not actually Irish but hails from the Rocky Mountains of Montana.
Branden came to Ireland in 2006. Here he learned the art of the Silver Smith from master jeweller Derrick McGowan of West Mayo. All of his work is handmade using traditional tools and methods that date back centuries. His work is unique and in it he recycles a little bit of our past that is close to the hearts of the nation. He also designs other beautiful jewellery using sterling silver and copper. His work would make a beautiful present for anyone old or young, so if you would like to see more you can check out his Etsy page here.