Silver bullion recovered off the Irish Coast

This week it was reported that a quantity of silver bullion was recovered off the Irish coast south west of Galway. When I first saw this story I presumed it was a small quantity that had been discovered by accident but it turns out the find consisted of 1.4 million troy ounces of silver!! Making it the heaviest and deepest ever recovery of precious metals from a shipwreck.

I did a few calculations to give you a sense of how much silver that is. 1 troy ounce is equivalent to 31.1 grams, which puts the total weight of silver found at 43,540 kgs, that’s about the weight of ten elephants!

The silver has remained off the Irish coast since 1941 when the merchant ship on which it was being transported sank. The SS Gairsoppa was torpedoed by a German U-boat during the Second World War while it was being used by the British government under their War Risk Insurance programme.  An insurance payment of £325,000 (it’s value in 1941) was paid out to the owners of the bullion by the government, therefore allowing the state to claim ownership. With silver prices at their highest this was a great time to cash in on their investment! It is thought that this find only represents half of the silver and there is another ship 100 miles from the SS Gairsoppa wreck which contains another sizable quantity of silver.

Now like me you might ask how did that much silver lay on the sea bed for 70 odd years without someone going to the effort of recovering it? It turns out retrieving large amounts of silver from a buried ship wreck isn’t the easiest of tasks! The deep ocean explorations company Odyssey Marine Explorations based in Florida who carried out the work need special equipment to cut into the wreck and retrieve the silver. Even if I can’t get my hands on some that forgotten silver it’s nice to know it’s hidden off our coast just waiting to be found.





Screen shot of my pinterest page


I finally got around to joining Pinterest  this week. Pinterest is an image sharing website that allows you to create virtual pinboards to organize and share all the beautiful images you find online.

Having only been part of the Pinterest community for few days now, so far I’m impressed. It’s perfect for grabbing an image and posting it quickly. Often I’ll be looking at work of an artists or designer and will want to remember them for a later blog post or something to add to my sketch book. If I’m in a rush this won’t happen I’ll scribble the name down promising I’ll come back and investigate the work.

I can instantly see how Pinterest will solve this problem, now I can just pin the image really quickly so I can share it with others and also revisit it myself.  Often my ideas for a new design will be inspired by something that I spotted some time ago. And now rather than it being a distant memory written on the back of a sketchbook it will be perfectly organized on my Pinterest boards. For someone working in art or design this is also a perfect way of sharing current projects and making techniques. I’ve already found some great boards that feature handy tips on silversmithing and jewellery making.

As yet I’m only following a few people and haven’t pinned enough to attract any followers. But I’m planning to get stuck in to Pinterest over the weekend so if you are on Pinterest too come find me under Eileen Moylan.

Happy Pinning!



Is your costume jewellery safe?


A really interesting article was brought to my attention this week about the presence of dangerous chemicals  in some high street costume jewellery.  American scientists at the Ecology Centre have recently tested ninety nine items from well known shops such as Claire’s, Forever 21 and H & M and other U.S retailers.

Lead, cadmium, chromium, mercury and arsenic among other highly toxic chemicals, were detected in over half the pieces tested. I wasn’t sure of the implications to the wearer exposed to these nasty sounding chemicals so I went in search of more information. What I discovered was really scary. These chemicals have been linked to health issues such as liver toxicity, cancer, birth defects and acute allergies.

Of the pieces tested 25% had lead levels which exceed the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s limit of lead allowed in the production of children’s products. In fact many of the items that were labelled lead free were in fact made entirely of lead!

As far as I am aware in Europe we have stricter laws in relation to the use of chemicals in children’s products.  I plan to do more research into this so will let ye know what I find out.

For the time being I think I’ll be sticking to silver!