Limerick jewellery designer receives royal seal of approval

A LIMERICK woman who designs jewellery as a sideline has now nearly 5,000 people on a waiting list for one of her necklaces, thanks to none other than the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

Every one of the jewellery pieces on Aisling O’Brien’s site, All the Falling Stars, have sold out. 

And the Croom native says that thanks to the “Kate effect” even if “I sat all day with my email inbox and went through every email without eating or sleeping, I still couldn’t keep on top of the emails coming in.

“It’s insane. There is something like over 4,500 people waiting to know when the necklace is back in stock from everywhere in the world and I’m like ‘I have to sit there making them myself’.”

It all took off for Aisling when the future queen was spotted wearing two jewellery pieces by the Limerick woman back in August. And since then the duchess has worn the same necklace and earrings on three different occasions – both of them together at an event at the University of Derby on Tuesday of this week.

“She has the pick of any jewellery she wants to wear and I’m amazed that she opens her jewellery box and goes, ‘Yeah. I’ll put on my gold necklace from that one’. It’s so funny,” laughed a modest Aisling this Thursday.

It was a race against the clock back in March for the Croom native – who is now based in Galway – when she got a request to create something for Kate Middleton ahead of her visit to Ireland. The request came from a friend of Aisling. Her friend’s sister, Thérèse Tully, a physiotherapist, wanted to give Kate a gift as the duchess was using her physio space to change in before a photoshoot at Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA Club.

Thérèse has a royal family connection herself, her grandmother’s cousin married into the royal family and was anointed by the Queen.

“I had never met Thérèse personally but her sister Michelle is a good friend of mine and wears my jewellery all the time because I would be giving her bits for her birthday and things like that,” explained Aisling whose parents Margaret  and Liam O’ Brien still reside in Croom. 

“Thérèse said to Michelle, ‘Is there any way Aisling would make something for Kate Middleton?’ continued Aisling who attended Shountrade NS in Adare – where her mum was the principal for years – as well as Laurel Hill Secondary School.

Jewellery had really only been a sideline business for Aisling but she did set up a website during lockdown. “So the craziness of this happening to someone who is not even doing it full-time. It’s totally bizarre,” she smiled.

“There are people who have been making jewellery for 30 years who have to be just totally disgusted saying, ‘Where did yer one come out of with her Kate Middleton jewellery?” she joked, “It was such a chance thing”.

Aisling had just two days to create some magic for the future queen. And she clearly succeeded. She made a personalised gold three layered disc necklace, engraved with the initials of each of Kate and William’s children. The necklace has a retail price of €109.00. She teamed the necklace with gold disc circle earrings, priced at €49.

Such has been the reaction to her pieces and the Kate Middleton link, Aisling now intends on going into the jewellery business full-time.

For more on Aisling’s remarkable story, see the Limerick Leader weekend edition

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