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Mother and Daughter exchanging Jewellery

Celebrate Mother's Day with Emir and Jane Holohan

Emir Holohan is as a woman who manages the elusive task of "having it all". As a previous Miss Ireland, she's now steering the ship at her family's, Holohans Pantry, which has recently scooped up the Ulster Tatler's Restaurant of the Year 2023 award. Alongside managing a bustling career, she's also juggling the joys and challenges of raising six children. Today, wearing a collection of pieces from Gear Jewellers, she and her mum, Jane, share their insights with us on nurturing mother-daughter bonds, commemorating life's big moments, and the cherished tradition of passing down heirloom jewellery.

"As daughters grow up and become women in their own rights, we as mothers need to grow and change with them. I feel it’s important to respect their choices and the way they are in the world."-Jane

What piece of jewellery holds the most sentimental value for you, and can you tell us the story behind it?

Jane: My mother’s gold pear drop earrings are very precious to me, but my engagement ring is probably the most precious for sentimental reasons - He had asked me to marry him when I was a young girl of 18 and I missed that boat - nearly thirty years later he asked me again and this time I said yes, we actually got engaged on Valentine’s Day 2010.

Emir: I was presented with a Claddagh ring in 1999 when I won a local ‘Miss Galway’ contest. Weeks later, I had the distinction of being crowned Miss Ireland, and I was very grateful for my coveted ring! I have always felt it has brought me good fortune and is of course a lovely reminder of my west of Ireland roots.

Can you describe a moment when you were incredibly proud of each other, and how did you celebrate that achievement?

Jane: When Emir & I both received our 1st class honours degrees last year, we had both studied throughout lockdown.  Emir trying to home school 6 children and complete her degree and me working at home alone on my dissertation ( I'm a people person). We were so proud of each other’s achievements.

Emir: As mother and daughter, we have had many shared experiences, from our undertaking of undergrad degrees as very ‘mature’ students, to working alongside one another in our family restaurant Holohan’s Pantry. Last year we won a ‘Restaurant of the Year’ title, and we were SO proud of each other, and what our work together achieved! 

Silver Locket
Engravable gold bar necklace

Being able to adapt and evolve as your relationship changes is hugely important. Being able to communicate and foster respect for one another, allows for you to grow and transform as a unit. Laughter is key! - Emir  

What advice would you give to other mothers and daughters about selecting jewellery to commemorate their journey together?

Jane: I know they are probably considered old fashioned now but I still think a locket and chain with a photo inside is the sweetest thing, but I would probably choose something we could both wear. Emir likes my pearl necklace, and I bought her a beautiful set of pearl earrings she would wear with it when she borrowed it. 

Emir: I would encourage mothers and daughters to choose pieces that reflect shared experiences and the values they hold dear. Whether it's a piece with a personal engraving or birthstones representing each family member, the focus is always on meaningful connections.

In what unique ways do you express love and appreciation for one another?

Jane: By being open and congruent with each other - to work hard to maintain the trust between us; Even when our conversations can be challenging for each other to hear. Trusting that love is at the heart of our relationship and never to feel judged by one another.

Emir: In many ways! Spending quality time together – time is the most precious commodity. Supporting each other’s dreams, regardless of how far-fetched or outlandish they are!

Celebrating each other’s awesomeness, even if it’s just a phone call. Practicing forgiveness when we go off piste, and seeking each other out, when we are on our knees, and in need of support and unconditional love.

What would you like to share about the importance of preserving family traditions & memories through jewellery?

Jane: A piece of jewellery is something that will always last. I love the idea of wearing something my mother loved wearing, I also love wearing pieces that have been chosen especially for me,  I think it’s a beautiful way of remembering someone.

Emir: In recent decades, there has been a huge shift in how we preserve memories. Everything has become digitised and ‘fast’ – ebbing away from tangible, meaningful legacies. Jewellery gives us the opportunity to treasure people, their stories and their significance. I treasure my grandmother’s wristwatch. She imparted great wisdom and knowledge to those around her, and her watch transports me back to the most wonderful memories I have of her as a young girl. 

Mother
Emir and Jane Holohan

"A piece of jewellery is something that will always last. I love the idea of wearing something my mother loved wearing, I also love wearing pieces that have been chosen especially for me,  I think it’s a beautiful way of remembering someone." - Jane

What does heirloom jewellery represent to you, and how does it connect you to your family history?

Jane: My mother left some rings and earrings - her collection was very modest. The pieces she left were not expensive but solid gold with nice precious stones like sapphires and rubies. They are still beautiful dress pieces and so treasured - not for their value but simply because she wore them. 

Emir: For me, heirloom jewellery will allow me to pass on stories and milestones of my life, to my children. My engagement ring may cause some divide being not only my most valuable item of jewellery, but the centre of some amusing anecdotes. I may have to repurpose it!

How did becoming a mother yourself reshape your relationship with you own mother?

Jane: I think when I became a mother, I was probably too young to consider how by becoming a mother it had impacted my relationship with her. I wish I'd been a bit older & wiser; She was very good at standing back and letting me get on with it, at the time I probably resented it but I can see now she was determined I was going to be a responsible and accountable Mum; It cannot have been easy for her.  

It was more when Emir became a mother herself that it really hit me. How my own mother would have felt with me becoming a mother so young and that her hopes and dreams for me took a very different path. I know she was very proud of me when I started my nursery nursing training. 

Emir: Becoming a mother has deepened my appreciation for the sacrifices and love she has shown me, especially as she came to parenting at such a young age. Now as I parent young adults, I always reflect on how my mother managed her family, and in truth, it always gives me a kick start when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

Mum and daughter jewellery
Gold T-bar bracelet

How have you incorporated jewellery into celebrating important milestones in your lives and what message do you hope to convey to future generations?

Jane: I think that by leaving specific pieces to my daughters & grand-daughters that I want them to have is very much a symbol of my love and affection for them. I hope they will value them for all the right reasons and leave them to their own daughters & grand-daughters in their time. 

Gifts of jewellery are so special because in my day it was probably the only way you’d ever get a piece. I love the fact that the younger women in my family will buy for themselves and each other.

Emir: 

All our children have been gifted bracelets at their christenings and cufflinks or earrings at significant birthdays. They are treasured and have the capacity to transport you to those cherished moments in time. 

Celebrating milestones is about recognising the journey, and the people who have supported us along the way. Jewellery serves as a tangible reminder of these moments, quite unlike anything else. Again, it is not about monetary value, but rather the intention and what the piece represents.   

What advice would you share with other mothers and daughters about nurturing and celebrating their relationship?

Jane: As daughters grow up and become women in their own rights, we as mothers need to grow and change with them. I feel it’s important to respect their choices and the way they are in the world. My eldest daughter is 44 this year, so my role as a parent is done, but my role as a mother is always there, at the heart of everything. As mothers we get it wrong sometimes, we can create hurt and upset with even the very best of intentions, it’s important to be able to recognise and acknowledge those things.

 I think too that daughters need to appreciate that they don’t come with instructions, we sometimes fumble and stumble our way through, I think being kind and loving towards each other is everything and not to judge each other or take things ( too ) personally. We must make time for each other, we only get one Mum. I remember sitting in a church shortly after my own mother died and I realised that no one was ever going to love me like that again - it was such a painful realisation. 

 

Emir: Being able to adapt and evolve as your relationship change is hugely important. Being able to communicate and foster respect for one another, allows for you to grow and transform as a unit. Laughter is key!

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