Is Connemara Marble Sustainable?
We believe that, in sharing Connemara Marble’s beauty with the world it is our duty to protect that beauty. Our resident sheep would not have it any other way!
Ever conscious of our carbon footprint at every level of our business, we strive to create minimum disturbance to the landscape when we hand lift the marble from our quarry. Producing ethical, natural but authentic jewelry is always in the forefront of our minds. Absolutely no chemicals or treatment are used in our Connemara Marble. Once the piece is crafted we use natural beeswax to polish the marble and nothing more.
Our Connemara Marble quarry work has little or no impact on the environment, including minimal carbon footprint and so is considered eco-friendly. When we have lifted marble from an area in our quarry we will leave it to reseed naturally. This is because Mother Nature knows best which are the right plants to grow in Connemara’s unique ecosystem.
Water that passes through the quarry goes through a three chamber natural filtration system so that only pure mountain waters enters the watershed below the quarry and no waste, dust or residues. We also use grey water recycling systems in our workshop in Dublin.
As the quarries opened in the 19th century the stone was cleared of mud and debris by hand and a method first developed by the Greeks was employed. This is known as “line drilling” or “plugging and feathering”. The method calls for the drilling of vertical, closely spaced holes along a line where a block is to be extracted from the quarry face. Steel rods or “plugs” are put into each hole and tow steel wedges or “feathers” are placed on either side of the plug. By tapping these plugs, one by one along the line of holes, the pressure builds up and the block will break evenly along the line of the holes.
This can be a slow and painstaking operation but worth it in order to carefully and ecologically lift the marble from where it has lain for over 900 million years. Today, we use a combination of these two traditional methods so that with care, we can lift the finest of marble from the ground.
Ethical jewelry means no waste and so we use every crumb of Connemara Marble we remove, it would be disrespectful not to.
Most of our marble jewelry will be set in Sterling Silver. Silver and gold can be easily melted and reformed into a new piece of jewelry. These metals do not lose their qualities which from an environmental standpoint means no waste or compromise the beauty of the silver itself.
Our energy is 100% renewable and in our workshop low output lighting is used. Our target is 100% recyclable packaging material and we have already made huge strides in this area.
We are a 3rd generation family business and some of our first products were rosary beads made from wood and Connemara Marble. At that time John Walsh saw the need for staff that could work from their homes and so he set to training up like minded men and women for this purpose. John could clearly see even back then the benefit to everyone in employing this practise.
Today we still have skilled homeworkers who continue to make, by hand, some Connemara Marble jewelry pieces, rosaries and marble gifts in their homes. This all feeds into a lower carbon footprint. Less travel for staff, less time spent in the workshop means less greenhouse gas emissions which make our planet warmer. John always understood the need to be flexible and appreciate the demands of family life and this has stood to us as the average length of service of our staff members is 20 plus years!
The motto of our company is simply “There is no greater designer than Mother Nature Herself”.