Northern Ireland jewelry shop gives ‘Game of Thrones’ its bling

Game of Thrones Wedding
King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and Margaery (Natalie Dormer) in "Game of Thrones." | Photo courtesy HBO

GLENARM, Northern Ireland — Given what went down at Margaery and King Joffrey’s wedding last season on “Game of Thrones,” it would have been easy to overlook little details like the bride’s tiara adorned with small copper roses symbolizing House Tyrell.

Costume designer Michele Clapton told Entertainment Weekly the bride’s crown represents the story of ambition, “of the creeping briar rose with its thorns smothering its host.”

Like just about everything in HBO’s singular series, a lot of thought goes into the show’s jewelry and accessories, items handmade in an unassuming workshop and gallery along Northern Ireland’s jaw-droppingly beautiful Causeway Coast, where many “Game of Thrones” scenes are filmed.

READ MORE: Take a walk on the wildlings side in Northern Ireland

Steenstons jewelry shop in Glenarm. | Photo by Lori Rackl

Steenstons jewelry shop in Glenarm. | Photo by Lori Rackl

Goldsmiths at Steensons Jewellers have been creating jewelry for nearly four decades in the postcard village of Glenarm, about 30 miles north of Belfast. Steensons landed an enviable client in HBO. The premium cable network has relied on the jewelers to produce everything from Joffrey’s golden antler crown to Daenerys’ dragon brooches and a brass chain of interlocking fingers for the Hand of the King. Tywin Lannister was sporting the brass hand on a brooch at his grandson’s nuptials.

Back in season one, Joffrey gave Sansa Stark a Lannister lion pendant. It was the same kind worn by his equally ferocious mother, Cersei, before the evil imp called for Ned Stark’s head on a stick.

Steensons doesn’t make a big fuss about supplying the bling for “Game of Thrones” characters. The House Tyrell rose is one of the few items from the series that the family-run business has on display.

A touch-screen monitor in the shop describes some of the baubles the store has fashioned based on instructions from the show’s design team.

A touch screen monitor in the jewelry shop explains the "Game of Thrones" pieces. | Photo by Lori Rackl

A touch screen monitor in the jewelry shop explains the “Game of Thrones” pieces. | Photo by Lori Rackl

For the rose, which is also worn by witty and cunning Lady Olenna, each petal is made of copper clay rolled by hand. The clay gets fired in a kiln that fuses the particles together to form solid copper. Brass wire makes up the vine. Real rose buds were used to form a mold to cast the silver buds.

“It’s fun to watch the show and see one of your pieces and think, ‘I made that,’” said Rosie McNally, a 20-year Steensons employee who’s crafted several pieces for Margaery and Sansa. She also made Littlefinger’s mockingbird brooch.

Steensons' Rosie McNally makes the roses representing House Tyrell. | Photo by Lori Rackl

Steensons’ Rosie McNally makes the roses representing House Tyrell. | Photo by Lori Rackl

None of the “Game of Thrones” replicas is for sale, but there are plenty of other bright, shiny objects to buy for a pretty penny. (The store promises that a “Game of Thrones”-inspired jewelry line is on the way; you can sign up on Steensons’ website to be alerted when it’s ready.)

Steensons is a cute shop in a cute village, conveniently located in an area full of sites for “Game of Thrones” fans. Add it to your Northern Ireland itinerary for an inside look at the place that makes beautiful jewelry for characters who do ugly things.

IF YOU GO: Steensons Jewellers gallery and workshop is on Toberwine Street in the coastal village of Glenarm, County Antrim. The roughly hour-long coastal drive from Belfast north to Glenarm is spectacular. Click here for a map of the Causeway Coast Route.

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