A quick walk around Dublin’s creative quarter, and you soon realise how much talent there is in Ireland.
Stretching from South William Street to Georges Street and from Lower Stephen’s Street to Exchequer Street, you’ll come across an eclectic mix of galleries, fashion stores and jewellery brands that lie waiting to be discovered.
And there’s a new store opening on Drury Street that is well worth a visit.
The Collective is a treasure trove of contemporary new jewellery design founded by designer and creator Madeleine Blaine.
The store has been a longtime dream of Madeleine’s, who first started making jewellery at the tender age of 19 while travelling around Mexico.
After a few short weeks in the South American country, Madeleine met a native who sold jewellery at the campsite she was staying at and they started a whirlwind romance.
Speaking about her entrance into the world of Jewellery making, Madeleine said: ‘We started seeing each other after a week, and I decided I would become a travelling artist, as you do at 19 years old.
He said that he would teach me how to make jewellery, so we started this long trip around the country that lasted about a month, and at the end of it we got married.’
Madeleine and her new husband travelled around Mexico for four years buying and selling gemstones and designing jewellery which they sold to tourists, before deciding that they wanted to travel to other parts of the world.
So in 2000, they decided to travel to the UK where Madeleine was born and start their own jewellery brand using both their surnames, Gallardo & Blaine.
They travelled back and forth between South America and England for over 11 years, juggling jewellery trade shows in the UK with a restaurant business in Northern Mexico.
This continued for 11 years until Gallardo was tragically killed in 2010 in an attempted robbery in Mexico.
‘He was only 36 so he was very young, said Madeleine, adding: ‘It was quite tragic, but I obviously wanted to keep the brand going because he always wanted to be a famous jeweller.
I thought if I ever make it famous then his name is there so he will live on in his jewellery.’
‘A lot of the jewellery is still very much in the style that we started off making together with organic silver and gold movements and lots of gemstones, which is where it all started.’
Madeleine continues to travel around the world buying and selling her jewellery at tradeshows and sourcing the raw materials, until one day she found herself at the Cork trade show where she met her current boyfriend.
After six years together and a lot more travelling, Madeleine fell pregnant with her first child and decided it was time to slow things down a bit more and open up her own jewellery store.
At four months pregnant, Madeline found the perfect location; ‘It was sort of like magic. I just love Drury Street and this place popped up for rent which I’d actually been to see the year before and I thought it was the perfect place for my shop.’
Worried that she was taking on too much at four months pregnant, Madeline had her doubts about opening the store, but her brave spirit prevailed yet again and she decided to take the plunge.
With two weeks to go before she was due to give birth, The Collective opened its doors for the first time.
The store currently displays Madeleine’s own brand, Gallardo & Blaine as well as other jewellery designers based in Ireland, including Melissa Curry, Emer Roberts and Mairead deBlaca.
Exhibitions from guest jewellers will also feature regularly at The Collective, ensuring that there is something new and exciting in store each month.
The Collective also places emphasis on affordability, with the jewellery ranging in price from €20 up to €950, so there’s something for every budget.
For a preview of The Collective see www.thecollectivedublin.ie or for the full experience, visit No.24 Drury Street, Dublin 2.