Murphy Jewellers has been a family business since 1903 yet the current owners name is Costello. Martin and Stephen Costello, the present proprietors, are the great grandsons of the founder Patrick T. Murphy. Murphy Jewellers has, since its foundation, traded in the same premises of 85 High Street, Kilkenny.
Murphy Jewellers has evolved and changed throughout those years and continued the tradition of excellence established by Patrick Murphy in 1903. Patrick Murphy’s daughter Frances and her husband Eamonn Costello continued this thriving jewellery business from 1940 onwards. This business specialised in wedding rings and gifts and providing sets of sports medals and cups to local clubs.
The continuity and loyalty of his customers was well appreciated by Patrick Murphy and the following generations of those customers are greatly valued today.
Frances and Eamonn’s son Seamus took over in 1974 after completing his course at the Swiss Irish School of Horology, making him a watch maker. There was plenty of scope to change and adapt the business to a new and increasingly fashion conscious consumer. He set about making numerous improvements. The shop interior was remodelled in 1978 and one of the most important changes came when he made a decision to specialise in diamonds. Putting an emphasis on diamond selling has created a very significant growth in the business particularly for engagement and wedding rings. Couples come from across the country to buy their rings in Kilkenny. A romantic weekend away makes buying rings more of an event. While Kilkenny isn’t exactly the centre of Ireland, it’s a very popular place to visit. Murphy’s reputation has grown through word of mouth and the name is now synonymous with diamonds.
Another major refit and refurbishment was undertaken on 85 High Street in 2004 exposing the now iconic red brick above the shop front and reorganising the space in the building from top to bottom. At this time five private viewing rooms were created on the first floor much to delight of customers who could browse the selections without fear of everyone knowing their business.
It was at this time that Martin Costello (Seamus’ son) joined the business he helped with the refurbishment and then went and got experience in other jewellers in Dublin and Melbourne. He also attended the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) at their headquarters in Carlsbad, California. He obtained his qualification, Graduate Gemmologist (G.G.), while studying there. The intensive course of study covers diamond grading and over 100 different coloured gemstones. The GIA was the first place in the world to set up specialised training courses in gemmology and remains one of the worlds foremost authorities on gemmology. They have the most respected diamond grading laboratories in the world and their diamond certificates are the most sought after when purchasing a fine diamond. The GIA is the standard setter in the diamond grading world having created the colour, clarity and cut systems that are now the industry language and standard.
Seamus’ other son Stephen trained for two years with the Crafts Council of Ireland successfully completing their Jewellery Design & Skills course. He also spent extensive time in Dublin running a manufacturing workshop and then spent a year and half working as a leading bench jeweller in Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada enhancing his skills there. Stephen returned fulltime to the business in 2006.
Martin and Stephen now run the business as the 4th generation of the family to do so and have navigated the business through the recession. Despite all innovations and changes to the business at the heart of the success of the business is the service. The hardworking, well trained and motivated staff deliver excellent attention to all our customers with professionalism and discretion.