NCAD’s Partnership with Solvar Ltd.

In 2012, Solvar embarked on a knowledge transfer partnership with NCAD Origin8. The partnership is supported by Enterprise Ireland through a technology feasibility grant.

Solvar Ltd. is a family-owned Irish jewellery business, established in 1941 and based in Dublin.  It designs and manufactures destination and heritage jewellery, and has a strong commitment to quality, design and workmanship of the highest standards.  All Solvar jewellery is individually designed, drawing inspiration from Ireland's past and unique icons, such as the Claddagh emblem, Celtic crosses, shamrocks and intricate Celtic knot-work.

The partnership between Solvar and NCAD Origin8 initially focused on product development for international commercial jewellery markets.  Solvar required external design expertise to re-imagine its product collections.  As the partnership has developed, NCAD jewellery designers have been able to add significant design value to Solvar’s existing portfolio by introducing a wide range of complementary product ranges.  This has allowed Solvar to diversify its product offering to meet broader customer segments in ways that were not initially foreseen at the outset of the partnership.

Like all commercial manufacturers, Solvar has to meet strict timelines when developing new product lines.  As a result, NCAD Origin8 works closely with the company to establish staggered work schedules, whereby our design researchers are assigned at key periods throughout a project’s lifecycle.  The researchers work intensively for an agreed time-phase to supply design work to meet Solvar’s manufacturing, marketing and product launch deadlines.  They work in a ‘relay race’ manner, whereby each research team passes on its work to the next research team, and so on.  Having fresh input and energy at key times is vital, and allows both partners in this project to maximise the potential of the design development phases during a project’s lifecycle. 

Our partnership with Solvar has already delivered commercial success: NCAD Origin8’s first jewellery designs for Solvar were launched at Showcase, Ireland’s largest international export market event in January 2014.