In this new series we peek inside the jewellery box of some of Ireland’s most fashionable women, this week jewellery editor Natasha Sherling gets a look at Sonya Lennon’s most treasured pieces …
Designer, businesswoman and sought-after speaker, Sonya Lennon is the co-founder of fashion brand Lennon Courtney, and is a multi-award winning social entrepreneur, having founded global not for profit initiative Dress for Success in Ireland, advocating for equality for women in the workplace.
I appreciate graphic lines and have an eye for the unusual; some of my favourite jewels are vintage, antique and absolutely one of a kind – and many are wrapped with treasured memories. Although I’m careful in how I mix and match my pieces, I do love oversized earrings to balance my glasses and wear a combination of fine and costume pieces. I tend to store everything in clear, stackable boxes (I rate those from Muji) because if you don’t have the pieces on show or they’re not in your consciousness you won’t wear them.
One of my favourite pieces has to be the ring that I hustled [my partner] Dave into buying for me as a gift while pregnant! It’s from the 1950s but is Art Deco in style. I wasn’t specifically shopping – in fact I was working, styling a shoot. It originally had an emerald in the middle – I thought it would be amazing with a diamond and said as much to jeweller John Farrington, whose shop I saw it in. That was at 11am. By 4pm he rang me to say he had swapped the centre emerald for a diamond, and when I saw it I fell in love with it.
I met Dave later on Capel Street for pizza and asked him what he thought. I had just found out I was pregnant with twins and I told him I’d be needing that ring! I wear it every day, and part of my love for it comes from the fact that it’s so wrapped up in that time, when I was 30 weeks pregnant – it was such a game changer for us as a couple; we had been together ten years at that stage and to me a beautiful ring was a better way to mark that milestone than a wedding would have been.
For my 50th birthday, I was on the hunt for something really special and I ended up collaborating with Nigel O’Reilly. Erwin Springbrunn was a master goldsmith who sourced stones for Elizabeth Taylor; Nigel connected me to his widow, Doris – together we chose a stone from Erwin’s collection for Nigel to set; an absolutely special moment I will never forget. The 16ct pinky brown tourmaline seems to change colour in every light, mirroring different surroundings – it’s surrounded by 362 sapphires and is set in an uncompromising way, for an uncompromising finger; I wear it on my index finger every day, and to me signifies the power of age and experience.
Another piece came from that big birthday, this time from Brendan [Courtney, her design partner]. It’s costume, a long chain with a pendant modelled as a dance card from the 1930s/40s; when he gave it to me he told me, “May your dance card always be full”. It still contains torn-off papers and previous lists of dance partners; there is a lead pencil attached as well – and my son wrote a love letter to me on a free piece of the paper so now that’s forever contained, so I can’t help but be even more in love with it.
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