The official sellers of Connemara Marble jewelry and gifts give an insight into the unique quality and rarity of the Irish gemstone.
The earliest evidence for the use of Connemara Marble dates back to the Neolithic era, over five thousand years ago at Lough Gur in County Limerick. Our gemstone has been quarried since the 1700s and has been exported for use worldwide, but there is evidence of the stone being used by humans for thousands of years.
An exhibit of Connemara Marble can be found in the National Museum of Ireland. You can see an ancient piece, honed by a Stone Age man who worked the marble 4000 years ago to make axes!
However, it was in the early nineteenth century that Connemara Marble was rediscovered. This development coincided with a surge of buildings across the water in England. At the time Britain was at the height of its power and the Empire was thriving. A period of calm and prosperity led to a demand for great buildings with ornate and decorative interiors in Gothic, Renaissance, and Classical styles. In Kensington Palace, Westminster Cathedral, London’s General Post office, and the National History Museum in Oxford you can see fine examples of this rare marble.
In 1895 New York marble merchant and leader in marble export Robert C Fisher imported large quantities to the USA. The most famous example in America can be seen in the Senate Chamber and the Senate Post Office of the State Capital Building in Pennsylvania. The gemstone of Ireland adorns many buildings across the world, especially churches, and cathedrals.
Where your Connemara Marble comes from
Our Connemara Marble quarry is located in Lissoughter, County Galway. The quarry was first opened in the 1820s under the ownership of the Martin family. At its peak, marble from the quarry was extracted and used in many of Ireland’s most important buildings.
So famous was the quarry that it was visited by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1903. Sadly, due to the first world war and changes in building materials, the quarry was abandoned. Marble from this historic site has been used in some of the world’s finest buildings, and today we can still find the most beautiful of marble that has lain hidden in the ground for over 900 million years.
We are proud to be a third-generation family run business that was founded 75 years ago. The company was the brainchild of Thomas when he and some of his oldest friends formed The Irish Consolidated Bead Company on the 28th of November 1945. The aim of that company was to produce Rosary Beads for the Irish and overseas markets and was based in a small workshop in Terenure Place, Dublin.
Some of the earliest products produced were rosaries made of horn, wood, and Connemara marble and in 1947 he supplied rosaries to the world’s first duty-free shop in Shannon Airport which began our special relationship with the US market.
As demand for marble products increased and our company moved to expand into the Irish jewelry making business John’s grandson, Stephen Walsh was tasked with securing a permanent source of the precious raw material, and in 1983 he succeeded in purchasing this quarry this is where today your jewelry piece begins its life.
Under Stephen Walsh, the company has grown and expanded. We have invested in modern stone working equipment and Stephen takes an active part in the design, development, and production of the wide range of natural, authentic pieces that we produce.
The motto of our company is simply “There is no greater designer than Mother Nature Herself”.
You can see all our Celtic gemstone jewelry and Irish gifts here at www.connemaramarble.com