Ireland’s Magical Newbridge
By Carleton Varney
If you are looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you’ll find it in Newbridge (Co. Kildare, Ireland) where the pot will be filled with not gold, but silver! Newbridge Silverware is definitely the Tiffany of Ireland and the pot of silver is flowing over into stores on the European continent and soon on this side of the ocean. The Greenbrier Shop in White Sulphur Springs, Mary Mahoney in Palm Beach, L.V. Harkness in Lexington, Kentucky, to name only a few of the retailers who have filled their exclusive boutiques with silver, china, and glassware of the Newbridge brand.
For sterling silver flatware, Newbridge offers many patterns that brides-to-be around the world are choosing for their wedding wishes. I particularly like the Bead collection as it can universally be used with any and all china patterns at Newbridge. A variety of china patterns are on display, including one that I designed for the firm – a stag’s head centerpiece cartouche on white with a pale blue and gold border. The Newbridge color of its interior, its exterior buildings, and jewel boxes is a lovely pale, warm blue, a color that can be used with every possible décor. With yellow, with pink, with green, with red, yes – Newbridge blue with white and gold is a classic. Just as blue and white Canton ware, blue and white Danish china, blue and white azulejos from Spain have been favorites for years and generations.
Speaking of generations, the Newbridge Silverware firm has been in business for generations. Established in 1934, the company has been making flatware for the homes of kings and society folk and for the tables of those who enjoy the finest. Since 1993 William Doyle, the chairman of the firm, has directed the comings and goings as well as supervising the growing collection of silver products from jewelry, to bridal gifts, to picture frames, and on and on. All things silver are in this Irish pot at the end of the rainbow.
So Much To Love In Kildare
Tourists and visitors to Ireland love County Kildare as it is the home of the Curragh Racecourse and it is home to some of the world’s most beautiful stud farms, including that of the Aga Khan. If you go to the Irish races at Kildare, Newbridge will be the local village and a stop should be made at Newbridge Silverware where Café Carleton will greet you for breakfast, lunch, and teatime. Operated under the discerning eye of Natalie Collins, the variety of food is delightful and desserts will please any gourmet delight. The restaurant is part of the Newbridge Retail Shop where adventure is part of the experience. Marvel at the jewelry, some designed by the Irish actress Amy Huberman and some creatively modern like the pattern I like called “Oceans” pendants, and earrings in silver and pink gold vermeil. Pink gold is one of today’s fashion looks in jewelry for women around the world. The face of Ireland’s Newbridge Jewelry is the world-renowned model Naomi Campbell and it is she herself who stands tall in a corset of Newbridge sterling on the exterior wall of the factory building – something to see in itself.
Museum Of Style Icons
The pièce de résistance (after the showroom of course) is the Museum of Style Icons. A museum that became the toast of Ireland, thanks to the foresight of William Doyle who wanted to present a treasure trove of iconic fashions to the world located in Ireland. The museum houses fashions worn by some of the world’s most glamorous and famous icons – Princess Grace, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Betty Grable, Clark Gable, Barbara Eden, Fred Astaire, and Van Johnson to name only a few. The museum is located within the Newbridge compound and offers visitors a chance to see the collection that is on par with any other museum in the world.
William Doyle has acquired many of the fashions at auctions and some are loaned from other collectors on this or that side of the Atlantic or Pacific. Newbridge Silverware offers visitors the opportunity to purchase reproduction pieces from the collection of Princess Grace of Monaco (for the Princess Grace Foundation) and there are some reproductions from Greta Garbo’s glamorous Hollywood life.
Yes, Newbridge Silverware is the store for visiting where today’s collectibles may very well be tomorrow’s heirlooms.