Nigel O’Reilly doesn’t create jewelry that screams at you. Instead, the Irish goldsmith and diamond setter’s creations seduce you. His is a winning combination of artistry and technology, a fusion of exquisite form and function. It’s a design approach that is simultaneously cutting edge and inherently timeless, resulting in pieces that are destined to become much-loved heirlooms, rather than merely one-season wonders.
And that’s just how he likes it.
“I only make covetable luxury pieces — heirloom jewelry to embellish your life; the kind of jewelry that catches people’s eye, wherever you go,” says O’Reilly, “Jewelry isn’t a seasonal thing,” he adds. “Never buy something that you couldn’t imagine yourself wearing in five years or passing down.”
Since setting up his state-of-the-art studio in 2012 in Castlebar, County Mayo, on Ireland’s rugged west coast — where he lives with his wife and their two young children — the 37-year-old has received critical acclaim and taken orders aplenty for his designs that have the ability to make jaws drop and eyes widen.
O’Reilly’s boundary-pushing methods of setting diamonds have seen him work with some of London’s most exclusive Bond Street jewelry houses. His designs — which include pieces for both men and women — have graced international catwalks, adorned the wrists, necks and fingers of a clutch of celebrities and staked a claim on the hearts of some of the world’s most discerning jewelry collectors.
While his star is very much in the ascendant, O’Reilly’s place at the jewelry-making high table is, however, far from a foregone conclusion. The son of a farmer, Nigel’s journey is, instead, testament to his passion, dedication and unwavering commitment.
Jewelry was “always a passion,” O’Reilly enthuses, but his career route was far from conventional. A four-year apprenticeship studying precision engineering and toolmaking, although lacking the creativity that his twenty-something self craved, taught him hand skills, precision work and, crucially, discipline.