Hello there, Laoise here – founder and designer-maker behind By Leahy.
Originally from Co.Clare, on the West Coast of Ireland, I spent six years working in London before launching By Leahy. Of those six years, I spent five years slowly developing my fine-jewellery making skills while working full-time in the fashion industry. Trained by a Master Goldsmith in Hatton Garden, the epicentre of the jewellery trade in London, I learned all the necessary skills I needed to take my love of jewellery making to the next level.
Once a week, every Thursday evening, I would walk from my flat in Islington to Hatton Garden bursting with excitement to learn something new - I loved everything about the making process, it gave me a creative outlet I never experienced before, and I was immediately obsessed.
Coming from a family of creatives – my mum is a professional painter and my father was the head of first year for Limerick School of Art and Design, now retired – I grew up surrounded by creativity. Days after school and summer holidays were spent in my mums studio and my dad’s wood workshop. If I wasn’t carving something out of wood with dad, I was helping my mum to photograph her work.
Despite my career taking the business route, where I worked up through the fashion industry, perhaps it was inevitable that I’d find a creative outlet in something. I was always trying out new things, like shoe-making in Central Saint Martins, or painting in my spare time. However, that ‘something’ ended up being fine-jewellery making.
After realising how much I absolutely loved browsing jewellery stores and trying to dissect beautiful items of jewellery in my head to figure out how they were made, I finally decided to take a course in exactly that - fine-jewellery making. Once I found the ideal course, I was immediately hooked.
By the end of my first class my fingers tips were sore from the pressure applied to holding a sheet of brass steady on the peg, I’d cut myself with the saw, and managed to file a corner off my nail, but I was buzzing with the thrill of finally learning how fine jewellery was made.
Not long after completing my first jewellery making course, I was handed down a very special family necklace.
My Grandad gifted this special necklace to my Granny while they were dating, 60 years previous. Shaped like an envelope, it opened to reveal a secret inner slip inscribed with three words... I Love You.
When my Mum turned 16, my Granny passed the necklace to her and, in time, my Mum passed it to me. After passing through three generations, this beautiful and personal necklace is filled with precious memories.
Above pictured L-R, my mum, me, and my Granny, on my wedding day in 2019. I wore both my granny’s necklace and the Signature Envelope Necklace on the day.
It is this necklace that sits at the heart of the By Leahy brand.
At the end of 2018 I launched By Leahy with one cornerstone necklace, simply named the ‘Signature Envelope Necklace’.
Inspired by the I Love You necklace and the special story behind it, the Signature Envelope Necklace is a contemporary take... waiting to be filled with new memories.
The name Signature nods to the made-by-hand process that goes into every necklace, and the idea that each one made has its own unique story to tell.
Produced in solid gold or solid sterling silver, each Signature Envelope Necklace is purposively produced in precious metal – I don't use plating, vermeil or fill – so that it can be worn with love everyday yet still stand the test of time, to be handed down through your generations to come.
Stamped with the official seal of approval, each necklace is hallmarked by the Assay Office, nestled away on the grounds of Dublin Castle, which guarantees the purity and quality of the precious metal.
Since making this cornerstone necklace By Leahy has slowly grown its capsule collection, adding new items that are meaningful, considered, and always handmade.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the By Leahy pieces,
Read the story behind some of the Signature Envelope Necklaces that have left my bench in the By Leahy Signature Stories Blog.