Irish Lace Jewelry
Irish lace began in the 1800's many families in Ireland lived in small thatched cottages on land called crofts producing crops for the Lord of the Manor. Crofters were "dirt poor" with little money for necessities. Then the potato blight hit between 1845 and 1851 destroying the crops and causing thousands of families to starve. The Ursuline nuns were familiar with Venetian lace, brought over from France. The nuns used their skills in crocheting lace to help save the people from the famine. They began schooling women to produce the fine crochet that has come to be known as "Irish lace." The more affluent Irish families that could meet the expense to buy the lace earned the name of "lace curtain Irish." Families had their own designs and motifs and closely guarded their patterns which were passed from mother to daughter. The particulars were kept so secret that many of them vanished as the families either died or fled the poverty for other lands.