Meet The Jeweller & Gemstone Addict Behind Made By Oonagh
Welcome back to another 'Meet The Jeweller' feature. We first discovered Oonagh over on Instagram, and we were blown away by her bold designs! We always get excited when we receive a notification that Oonagh has tagged us in her latest design using our gems.
You will fall in love with Oonagh's stunning handmade jewellery, and her use of statement gemstones and designs inspired by ancient Viking, Greek and Egyptian jewellery. In this interview, we find out more about her jewellery making journey, where it all began, a little insight into her garden studio and her top gemstones for jewellery making.
Hi Oonagh, tell us about your handmade jewellery business and how it all started
I am an almost completely self-taught metalsmith and jeweller with a small handmade one of a kind jewellery business based in my garden studio in the lovely little town of Totnes in Devon. After being diagnosed with ME I struggled to attend college or keep up with studies, so I decided to drop out and do a local short course in jewellery making where I made a plain silver band ring. I instantly fell in love with the process of forming, soldering and working with metals and felt it came very naturally to me.
After finishing the short course I really wanted to continue learning and creating jewellery. I was lucky enough to qualify for a local young person’s grant that funded me with enough to get all the basic tools and equipment I needed to make jewellery at home. I continued to teach myself, learning new techniques and working with a range of materials. One of the first things I learnt was stone setting as I have always loved gemstones.
After a year of learning how to make finished jewellery pieces and collecting the knowledge I needed, I felt confident enough that I could start my own business. I applied for a business loan to build a studio space in my garden to work from. Throughout this experience, I have taken photographs to document my development of skills and style. I upload these images on social media to share my journey.
How would you describe your jewellery and what makes it unique?
A lot of my designs are inspired by ancient Viking, Greek and Egyptian jewellery. I love the strong simple shapes with some intricate details and components, I usually incorporate arrow shapes into my designs, I think they fit the shapes and curves of the body beautifully when worn. I aim to create long lasting jewellery that can accompany you wherever life may lead.
Where does your love of jewellery come from?
I’d say it probably all started when I went travelling around New Zealand in a little van with my family when I was seven, I was fascinated with the paua shells we were finding on all the beaches and the jade in the rivers, it was magical. I still have a large solid jade fan bird pendant I carved while I was there, too heavy to wear though!
Is there one piece of jewellery you never take off? If so, what is it and does it have a special meaning?
I inherited a lovely yellow and white gold knot ring set with tiny diamonds from my great grandmother. She really loved gold jewellery and had an amazing collection. I wear it a lot, it’s a lovely reminder of the beautiful and strong woman she was!
Tell us more about your sunny garden studio in your home?
It’s a great creative space that I share with my two cats, in a lovely thriving garden so I have the constant singing of birds and aroma of flowers drifting in.
It's a fairly spacious studio with lots of windows and natural light, always in a state of absolute organised chaos!
What’s your favourite tool and why?
Definitely my torch. I couldn’t make anything without it, all my designs are soldered, melted or fused so it’s vital. Also I love playing with fire!
What’s one technique you would like to master and why?
Flush setting is at the top of my list! It would open up lots of new design possibilities with setting gemstones.
What’s your favourite way to texture metal?
My favourite way of texturing metal is sprinkling silver dust/filings onto the silver piece and fusing them on (reticulation). This can create lovely natural textures and comes out with many different results.
We love your stacking rings, what’s your favourite thing about making these?
I wanted to make a collection of rings for people with a smaller budget, but wanted to keep the unique feel of my other rings.
With my stacking rings you can personalise them by picking different combinations of rings to fit together.
What is your favourite metal to work with and why?
I love working with yellow gold, it is such a beautiful natural precious metal.
Also the history of it, gold played important roles in many ancient mythologies and civilisations. It really connects to the ancient artefact style that I incorporate into most of my designs.
We love your opal jewellery designs, what is it you like most about this gemstone?
Each opal is so unique, making
We love your use of gemstones throughout your designs, what’s important to you when purchasing new stones for your designs?
I absolutely love gemstones! All of my designs centre around the natural gemstones I use, all individually chosen based on how they change with the light, react to each other, their surroundings, the metals and the wearer.
Do you have any other creative hobbies you enjoy doing?
I really enjoy hula hooping! Learning new tricks is always fun. It also really helps to improve my back and posture after spending a lot of time at my bench.
It's no surprise that Oonagh loves opal, most of our customers do too! It's one of our most popular gemstones due to its rich play of colours and beauty. Each opal is unique making it perfect for eye-catching jewellery designs
Labradorite is such a stunning gemstone, again offering a lovely play of colour. Discover labradorite cabochons, faceted stones and beads in our collection. Including some one-off, limited edition stones such as this one!
Moonstone has a glowing sheen of blue and white, resembling mesmerising moonlight! We have a range of moonstone cabochons, faceted stones and beads for your handmade designs.
Also in this section:
- Talking Gold And Sand Casting With Billie Ellen Designs
- Meet The Jeweller: Talking Opal Obsession with Jenny from Sea Surf Rocks
- Chatting To Truro College Exhibition Silversmith Winner, Olivia English
- Day In The Life Of Cornish Eco Jeweller Sarah Drew Jewellery
- Wax Carving, Metal Clay & Coastal Designs With Rockpool Jewellery
- Chatting Unique Nature Inspired Designs & Intricate Sawing With HISO
- Anxiety Jewellery & Favourite Gems With Rozen Jewellery
- Day In The Life Of A Jeweller With Gretel's Metals
- Sea Glass, Healing Gemstones & Cornish Coastal Inspiration With Ula Jewellery
- ‘A Heart of Gold’ Jewellery Collaboration, Raising Awareness of Heart Disease in Women
- Stone Setting, Diamonds & Jewellery Design With Goldsmith Sonia Cheadle
- Magical Metal Clay, Nature & Gems With Susan Studd
- Chatting To Truro College Exhibition Silversmith Winner, Esther Moore
- Handmade Jewellery Inspired By Japanese Heritage & Philosophy With Kumiko
- Creating Unique Jewellery Collections With Gem Lark Jewellery
- Crystal Jewellery With Jessica From 'Roses & Whiskey'
- Statement Crystal Jewellery With FIRENZA
- Electroplating & Crystals With Studio Roan
- Chatting Beading & Wirework With Author & Tutor Sara Withers
- A Day In The Life With Soul Purpose Jewellery
- Meet Jeweller, Tutor & Author Anastasia Young
- A Day In The Life Of A Jeweller With Basia From Stardust Mine Jewellery
- Meet The Jeweller, Author & Tutor Jinks McGrath
- Meet The Maker Transforming Coins & Scrap Metal Into Fun Characters
- Behind the Scenes At The Jewellers Retreat - An Interview With Jessica Rose
- Combining Skills Of Illustration & Metalsmithing With The Sylvan Smith
- Magical & Whimsical Jewellery With Manom Jewellery
- How To Work With Gemstones As A Jeweller With Gemmologist Sally Spencer
- Sea Glass, Personalisation & Christian Jewellery With Jordan Lily
- Chatting Beads, Etsy & Social Media With Emma From Evren Blue
- Garden Studio Tour, Jewellery Making & Packaging With Little Black Cat Jewellery
- Jewellery Inspired By Cornwall, Magic & Myth With Gemheaven Jewellery
- Sand Casting Silver Cockle Shells & Nature Inspired Jewellery With Anna Davenport
- Day In The Life Of Running A Sea Glass Jewellery Business With Created By Niki
- Leo + Elk On Running A Family Business During A Pandemic
- A Day In The Life Of A Jeweller: Finding Normality Again With Kim Thomson
- Gemstone, Body Positivity & Black Lives Matter Designs With 'Jewellery By Eilatan'
- Meet The 'All That Glitters' Contestants Of Series 1
- Briolette Jewellery, Etsy & Learning With Ocean & Earth Jewellery
- What's Inside A Travelling Jeweller's Briefcase?
- Combining Sea Glass & Diamonds With Glasswing Jewellery
- Bohemian Luxe Handmade Jewellery With 'Feathers And Wings'
- Diamonds & Granulation With Milly Maunder
- Then & Now, Jewellery Through The Ages With Sam Stirrat
- Metalsmithing & Granulation With Sophie Cunliffe
- Contemporary Engagement Rings With William White
- Designing An Engagement Ring With Guest Writer Sea Surf Rocks
- Meet The Jeweller & Author Of 'Soldering For Jewellers' Rebecca Skeels
- Jewellery Making Notebook Tour With Jasmine Butler
- Running A Handmade Jewellery Business During A Pandemic With 'Louy Magroos'
- Home Jewellery Studio Tour & Top Tips With Jodie Fern
- Let's Talk Business With Jeweller & Tutor, Karen Young
- Nature & Mental Health Jewellery With Lost Kove
- Meet The Jeweller Behind Hazey Designs
- Jewellery Making Storage Tour With Scruffy Dog Silver
- Meet The Beader Behind Dainty Rocks
- Jewellery Workshop Tour With Little Silver Star
- Mindful Gemstone Jewellery With The Sea Tree Company
- Let's Talk Sea Glass Jewellery With Sadie Jewellery
- Chatting Beads & Growing A Jewellery Business With Liz Lloyd
- Beading With Carolyn Anne Jewellery
- Jewellers Of Colour: Connecting BAME Jewellers In The Jewellery Industry
- Meet The Self-Taught Jeweller Behind Corzana
- Meet The Jeweller Behind The Messy Creative
- Handmade Button Jewellery With Crafty Little Koala
- Beautiful Gemstones For Beautiful Skin With Inlight Beauty
- Meet The Boho Jeweller Behind Moonsalt Jewellery
- Etsy Success & Personalisation With Little Homebird Jewellery
- How Jewellery Making Has Helped My Chronic Illness & Mental Health
- Jewellery Making With Nature's Treasures
- Meet Illustrator & Polymer Clay Jeweller, Nyassa Hinde
- Jewellery Trade Secrets With Metalsmith Society
- Sea Glass Jewellery & Launching A Business With Love Kernow
- Meet The Jeweller Behind London Jewellery School & Jewellers Academy
- Meet Stephen Goldsmith, Author Of Polishing & Finishing For Jewellers
- Resin, Flower & Gemstone Jewellery With Ellanor Aquitaine
- Meet The Jeweller Behind Trinkets By Moonlight
- Meet The Self-Taught Jeweller Behind Olivia Street Silver
- Personalised Handmade Jewellery With Ruby & Wonder
- Meet The Cosmic Jeweller, Vikki Hall
- Meet The Eco-Friendly Jeweller, Jemima Hurlock
- Meet The Cornish Jeweller, Thomas Matthews
- Beachcombing & Jewellery Making With Cornish Agates
- Festival & Boho Jewellery With Tegen
- Mokume Gane & Vessel Pendants With Nicola Bottono
- Meet The Jeweller Behind View Of The Sea
- Artists Residency With Jeweller, Jonathan Videgrain
- Meet The Jeweller & Gemstone Addict Behind Made By Oonagh
- Pre-Loved, Vintage Jewellery With Ella Masters
- Baker's Dozen Exhibition With Sarah Shelton-Palmer
- Meet The Jeweller, Tansy Wilson
- Celestial, Boho & Witchy Jewellery With Amber Wheatley Designs
- Let's Talk Metal Clay With Lisa Cain
- Meet The Jeweller Behind When Caitie Met Soda
- Make It Challenge: Recycling The Same Piece Of Silver For 100 Days
- Bespoke Engagement Rings With Blackacre
- Meet The Jeweller Behind Claire Howard Jewellery
- Meet The Jeweller Behind Award Winner Andrew Berry
- Meet The Nature Inspired Jeweller Behind Lima-Lima
- Creating An Opal Ring & Pendant With Little Joy Jewellery
- Jewellery Inspired By Your Home With Claire Halligan
- Award Winner Monique On Techniques & Cornish Inspiration
- Meet The Jeweller Jonathan Videgrain
- Meet The Jeweller Louella Jewellery
- Meet The Jeweller Behind Bijoux De Chagall
- Alternative Wedding Jewellery With Bloody Mary Metal
- Jeweller Chloe Michell Talks Working With Metal Clay, Tools and Inspiration
- Setting Up Your Work Bench With Jeweller Victoria Walker
- An Interview With NAJ Shortlisted Designer of the Year Sheila Kerr