The start of November is the end of being in denial about winter’s arrival. Irish winter weather ranges from dreary to dramatic, with plenty of rain. Over the course of November, we lose about an hour and a half of daylight in Ireland, and the temperature generally falls steadily as the month goes on. It is cloudy about two-thirds of the time, and the average chance of rain is about 80% each day. With the sun so often hiding behind a heavy layer of clouds and spending less time here every day, we need some tried and true ways to beat the winter blahs and brighten things up.
We can’t stop winter, and while we moan about it, we wouldn’t really want to stop it. But we can fight off the blahs. One thing the Irish are known for around the world is not letting anything get us down. So it’s cold, dark, and rainy, we are extra grateful for a nice, hot cuppa tea, a roaring fire, and a bright, cheerful bit of jewelry.
A sparkle of green on a pendant or ring invokes the lush, fresh grass and new leaves of spring. Ireland is known as the emerald island, after all. Winter is the perfect time to show off your own emeralds and remind yourself that spring follows winter; all that gorgeous greenery will be back. In the meantime, a sparkling emerald offers a lot of good cheer.
Take some fashion inspiration from the monks in their cold stone monasteries filling the Book of Kells with rich, dazzling color and incredible, intricate detail. While Ireland is known for the forty shades of green, it isn’t the only color on the palette, as the luscious artistry of the Book of Kells and the sparkling colors of the Tara broach show. Sapphire is stunning any time of year, but it is especially delightful when it brightens up a cold, cloudy day as it sparkles against a silver or gold setting.
Amethyst reflects the color of the buddleia bush flowers that grow tenaciously all over Ireland and the lavender that has always been a popular choice in both formal and country gardens here. A delicate amethyst pendent adds the perfect, delicate touch of color for a softer look.
Irish jewelry uses designs inspired by the complex knotwork of the Book of Kells, so it is perfecting fitting to use some of that gorgeous, rich color as well, especially during the darker days of winter when we all need a bit of extra cheer. Once November is over, we can look forward to the winter solstice and the various holidays, as well as the New Year. But in the meantime, a bit of color and sparkle can make a world of difference and brighten the shorter days of this month.
The Claddagh has always had a special place in my heart! My ancestors are from Ulster and came to the states settling in the Appalachian mountains. I was raised Presbyterian, but converted to Judaism 10 years ago. A few years ago I had a pendant made, by a jeweler in Dublin, in white gold of a Claddagh and Magen David (Star of David) together. To win a Claddagh in my birthstone would be another very special piece that I would wear with pride every day! – Toni K.