Lord of the Ring


Since 1990, Paul Sheeran jewellers has been providing couples with bespoke wedding and luxurious engagement rings on Dublin’s ‘lover’s lane’. Ciara McGrattan reports on the making of an item that everyone hopes to wear forever.


As I approach Paul Sheeran’s jewellers, nestled away on an offshoot of Grafton Street, I count three couples arm-in-arm, perusing the windows of the streets’ various jewellers. When I mention it to Sheeran, he tells me that they call it “lover’s lane”.

Broad and cheerful, like a jovial retired rugby player, Sheeran leads me on a tour of his workshop where I meet head goldsmith Marco, and Sheeran’s teenage nephew Robert who is on a mother-mandated summer holiday job. Workers with children are encouraged to offer their youngsters work experience in the shop, says Sheeran.

qn1AzQ439kuSATLVgeV-lngkuNCSVDAYTw4cFxeuwtY,D1rquJGe0m8rjvdSbNijLG0T-4ZD6thVOKKq07fl6UE,Hao_PYVAzKbB6OKrpYOSfKm2E2ehExWtylkA1vAztEw,_AFQYmXMzeHs4CvMDP7n05BT85wEhNd8aAtlWz2e-fQ“We like to teach them the basics,” he explains. “It’s simple things like tea or coffee; if you come in here and you have a cup of tea and there’s a lipstick stain, a simple thing like that can ruin your experience. So we tell them how a spoon should be cleaned.”

Back in the tastefully appointed selling rooms, amid the Graham Knuttel artwork and fancy furnishings, we discuss the vagaries of jewellers and the business of ‘bespoke’.

“Well, every wedding band we sell, we make for you. So, in effect, every wedding band is ‘bespoke’. We have a sample range that we show you and we work from, but we make it for you. Then if you want your own additional touches done, we can do that.

“It’s like giving you a menu in a restaurant – you’re going to look at the menu, we’re going to show you all the things we can do and from that then we’ll hopefully inspire an idea in your mind. I’d say 80-90% of people go for very classic plain style. A wedding band is the one ring you’ll have forever so it’s not a fashion statement. If you want to do crazy you can do it on the other hand! We always say: left hand is classic, right hand is crazy. At the same time, it’s one of those times where you can be individual also.”

Established in 1990, originally situated in Rathfarnham, Paul Sheeran Jewellers managed to weather the tsunami that was the recession. Luxury items are a hard sell during austere times, so what kept business going? “Love!” says Sheeran. “People will always fall in love; weddings and engagements still happen. People still get married, they still get engaged. Maybe the value changed but love conquers all!”
“It made me really happy when the referendum passed. I saw one couple walking along Dame Street with their kid and I just thought ‘they’re walking home as a happy family tonight. Isn’t that lovely?’”

RzHSVIOWCRFw49PihjVWfCuXW20xtpDGPLzwJmHYiK4,wgGyJL-EnMiyo_Y-cqIwvcaqbyCV4I7r81zxj4en9qoWhen I remark upon the high levels of job satisfaction that must come with a career in the love business, Sheeran emphatically agrees. “It doesn’t feel like work. How do you work in here? You see people having fun and celebrating the best moments of their lives and you’re part of them – how is that not fun?

“You said it already – you saw three couples walking hand-in-hand down here today. They’re all hand in hand for a reason; they’re all about to embark on the biggest journey of their lives and you’re part of it!”

And monetary cost, he is quick to point out, isn’t necessarily the greatest indicator of a piece of jewellery’s true value.

“And the cost isn’t what that’s about. I have a white mark on my wrist,” he shows me a white patch in a beefy brown forearm, where I cut off two bracelets made by my daughters, and they were there for four or five years. I cut them off because they started to fray but it was nearly like cutting a part of me off when I did it. I actually asked their permission to cut them off and I honestly felt like I was cutting a part of me off. It meant an awful lot to me, so jewellery is not about value. It’s about sentiment and people you love.”

Paul Sheeran Jewellers, 7-8 Johnson’s Court (off Grafton Street), Dublin 2, Ireland. See www.paulsheeran.ie for more details.

© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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