Established in 1976 by Bill and Christina Steenson, Steenson’s Jewellers has not only been something of a Northern Irish institution for the past 38 years but continues to imbue their locally designed and crafted products drawing from uniquely Northern Irish influences.
After graduating from the University of Ulster in 1976, Bill and Christina set up a workshop in the picturesque and historic village of Glenarm, Co. Antrim, with their contemporary designs setting them apart from traditional high-street jewellers; a niche in the market which Steensons still occupies today in their primary Belfast store.
Having recently retired, Bill and Christina have now handed over the day-to-day running of the business to their daughter Brona Spencer and her husband Dan, both Fine and Applied Art graduates themselves. With their rich understanding of the business’ ethos, and their talent for producing innovative designs of the highest craftsmanship, Brona and Dan continue to ensure that Steensons remains one of Northern Ireland’s leading independent jewellers.
Aside from building up a loyal customer base through both their own designs and bespoke made-to- order work, Steensons has recently gained attention on the global stage by providing jewellery for the HBO blockbuster Game Of Thrones, all four seasons of which have been shot primarily in Belfast and along the Antrim coast.
A keen fan of the show and source books herself, Brona delights in seeing the pieces that herself and Dan have created coming to life on the silver screen. Far removed from the contemporary, clean lined designs that Steensons have become synonymous with, these pieces are lavish and ornate, imbued with the spirit of Nothern Ireland’s woodland vistas.
The works created include a particularly striking crown and tiara, worn by the characters Margaery Tyrell and Joffrey Baratheons in the show. Hand cut from sheet brass before being filed, shaped and textured, they include rose buds and petals pressed, cast and sculpted meticulously by Brona and Dan personally.
In the video below, Brona goes into further detail about the creative process, but watch out – some spoilers abound!
By Peter McCaughan