We haven’t met many men who grew up making jewelry. But John Condron from Fadó is one of them. As huge fans of authentic Irish jewelry, we were super excited to visit the workshop at Fadó, one of our favorite Makers of traditional designs like the Claddagh and the Trinity Knot. We went behind the scenes at Fadó’s workshop in County Wicklow to learn more about the craft that creates the beautiful Claddagh rings, Claddagh pendants and Claddagh earrings we ship from Ireland every day. We learnt that John’s lifelong passion is the real secret to Fadó’s master jewelry making.
It’s good to see you, John! Can you tell us about Fadó?
Of course! Fadó is an Irish company that specializes in making traditional jewelry in Ireland. Traditional Irish jewelry is our speciality. We ship pieces all over the United States and beyond with help from The Irish Store.
Fadó is an unusual name. What does it mean?
The word “fadó” translates as “long ago” in the native Irish language, Gaelic. That’s very important to us. It symbolizes what we’re about at Fadó. The jewelry we make is rooted in the Irish past, in the traditions and heritage we continue to this day, in the pieces we craft. Irish beauty in all its forms, the landscape and myths, is the inspiration behind all of the jewelry we sell on The Irish Store.
Tell us about the workshop we visited today. Is that where you make the jewelry we stock on The Irish Store?
It is. People only usually see a finished piece of jewelry. You saw the work that goes into making it sparkle. You filmed our craftspeople at work. You saw the process the Claddagh goes through from an unformed, unshaped lump of metal to the finely crafted rings and pieces that are so loved by those of Irish heritage. That’s the same process each of our pieces passes through, handcrafted here in the workshop with great skill by our master craftsmen. Paul who appears in the film you shot has been doing his job for 36 years. They’re real expert jewelers and we are lucky to have them at Fadó.
What happens to the jewelry after it leaves the workshop?
First of all, Fadó jewelry is hallmarked at Dublin Castle. That’s the guarantee that it is authentic and of the highest quality. From there, it is sold through The Irish Store to lovers of Irish jewelry worldwide.
How did you end up the jewelry business?
I always had a passion for jewelry, believe it or not. Even as a young boy, I was drawn to the beauty of rings and pendants my relatives wore. So I loved jewelry, loved it from the beginning. As a boy, I started making rings and pieces for the women of the family. And it stuck with me all through those years. We’re at the jewelry making a long time in Fadó!
Do I hear a lilt in the accent? What is Fadó’s connection with the USA?
There is a deep connection between Fadó and the USA. I moved to New York in 1993 and that’s when Fadó really took off. So I see Fadó as a bridge between Ireland and the USA. One of my children was born in New York. Half my family is American and half is Irish. It’s the real Irish-American story.
What do you enjoy most about your work with Fadó?
It’s the story, the Irish story, the Irish-American story. All of our jewelry tells a story. There are great traditions behind it, great lore. The rings, earrings, pendants, all tell stories of Ireland past and present. There is such a sense of history attached to Irish jewelry and Irish design. Each person who buys a piece of Fadó jewelry becomes part of that story. And I love that. When you meet somebody and they ask you to design something especially for them and you get it just right. They walk away totally happy, often in tears. Seeing how much people love their Irish jewelry is very special.
Why did you choose The Irish Store for Fadó?
The Irish Store is recognized, established, the most reputable store for the best quality Irish products. We couldn’t ask for the better home for our jewelry at Fadó.