Overlooking the Spanish Arch and boasting some of the finest antique and modern jewellery that can be found in Galway, a visit to Cobwebs is a must for any jewellery lover in the city.
"I have always loved jewellery," says Phyllis McNamara, owner of Cobwebs which was established in 1972. "When I started the business I was selling small antiques but I wanted to test my knowledge of jewellery so I went to London and did a full time course at Sotheby's Institute where I discovered I knew a lot about jewellery."
Phyllis says her time spent at Sotheby's gave her great confidence and that the opportunity to handle precious jewels was something from which she derived great pleasure. "The greatest advantage of my time there was the opportunity of handling jewellery. We would spend afternoons in rooms with 30 and 40 diamond bracelets worth millions, and security guards.
"It was a wonderful learning experience because there is nothing like handling jewellery. You can look at jewellery on the internet for as long as you wish but it is the handling of it that is the ultimate pleasure. When you wear jewllery it should enhance a person. You cannot get that feeling unless you have a piece in your hand and wear it on your body where it is supposed to be. For me, jewellery is a passion."
Having been in business and working with jewellery for nearly 50 years, Phyllis says the joy of working with it has never waned. "I have been involved with jewellery for 46 years and the love of it has never diminished or reduced. There are Roman beads in this shop that have been authenticated by the British Museum. We have jewellery made out of gold, diamonds, precious materials, and non-precious materials and they all fascinate me. Not only does jewellery play a role in adorning you but it has played its role in social history. In my opinion jewellery is nature's glories, fashioned by man for you to look and wear; for me, it is a miracle."
Every business must adapt to changing trends and Cobwebs is no different, as Phyllis says she is embracing social media. "Business is exciting at the moment because I am learning the new language of social media and the internet. We have several thousand followers on our social media and we love to put up pictures of our jewellery so people can get a glimpse at what we have to offer, but you have to come into the shop to get the authentic experience Cobwebs can provide."
Phyllis believes the most important aspect of her business is people and quality of product. “When you come to Cobwebs you can look at the jewellery and see the person who has made it. We are stocking a lot of contemporary Irish jewellery such as Nigel O’Reilly, Seamus Gill and Galway girl Maria Dorai Raj. We know our suppliers as people, and enjoy working with them. But, the greatest joy of all is finding the right piece for each customer”
"It is also quality of product and that is what we strive for here and it is in everything we do. I will always push people towards quality over quantity. Quality is what matters when it comes to jewellery."