Master goldsmith Rudolf Heltzel to be celebrated in exhibition at State Apartments, Dublin Castle

Posted 20.11.18


23rd November 2018 – 24th March 2019

In Precious Metal: Rudolf Heltzel, a spectacular exhibition of sculptural pendants by master goldsmith Rudolf Heltzel, will be presented by The Office of Public Works in partnership with the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland at the State Apartments in Dublin Castle. The exhibition will be officially launched by the Head of Fine Jewellery with Adam’s, Claire-Laurence Mestrallet at 6.30pm on Friday, 23rd November 2018 and will run until 24th March 2019.

Heltzel has gained an international reputation for the originality, quality and timeless aesthetic of his jewellery with each piece created meticulously by hand using some of the world’s oldest goldsmithing techniques. This exhibition showcases many of his most ambitious and technically complex designs, presenting pieces selected from his personal archive alongside new work in three of his sculptural pendant collections – Rock Crystal, Tourmaline Butterfly and Druzy. A series of spectacular gem rings designed by Heltzel will also be presented in the display.

Originally from Berlin, Germany, Heltzel was invited to Ireland in 1966 by Córas Tráchtála/Irish Export Board. He set up and led the trail-blazing gold and silver studio-workshops at the Kilkenny Design Workshops. In 1968, he established his own workshop in Kilkenny where he, his son Christopher, their employees and apprentices still work today. Heltzel has won countless accolades throughout his 50 years in the business, including ‘One of the World’s Greatest Gem Houses’ by the Franklin Mint. He has exhibited widely and sold through retail establishments such as Neiman Marcus. He is a consultant to the jewellery industry, having worked and mentored across the globe, and has directly trained many goldsmiths working in the field today. He has also been instrumental in establishing training opportunities for jewellery makers, keeping ancient traditional skills alive, and has been an external assessor at the DCCoI Centre of Excellence in Jewellery and Goldsmithing for many years.

Speaking about the exhibition, the Manager of Dublin Castle Mary Heffernan said: “The Office of Public Works and Dublin Castle are delighted to host this exhibition and bring the work of this master craftsman before a new audience. This exhibition is a fitting tribute to Rudolf who celebrates 50 years designing in Ireland and who has shown unwavering commitment to passing on his skills to the next generation of goldsmiths.

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, commented: “Having come to Ireland in the late ‘60s to set up his studio at the Kilkenny Design Workshops, Rudolf Heltzel has produced incredibly beautiful jewellery in this country and is rightfully recognised throughout the world for his craftsmanship, distinctive collectors’ pieces and stunning collections. He is also inspirational in his commitment to keeping traditional craftsmanship alive, working throughout this career to pass on his knowledge and skills to the next generation of makers. We are proud and delighted to partner with the OPW to tour this exhibition, developed by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s National Design and Craft Gallery, to the State Apartments giving visitors an opportunity to view the exquisite creations of this master craftsman.”

For Heltzel, jewellery making is part of a living cultural heritage and he takes inspiration from the history, mythology and symbolism of precious metals and stones. He is renowned for pushing the limits in the design of his precious jewellery and using highly skilled traditional techniques to produce a modern aesthetic. Carefully selected unique and extraordinary precious gemstones form the basis of his stunning sculptural designs in 18ct gold, sterling silver and platinum. Settings are carefully designed to show individual stones to their best advantage. His distinctive designs are collectors’ items across multiple generations.


For further information, please contact OPW Client Services & Communications Unit at


EVENT:                     In Precious Metal: Rudolf Heltzel

Location:                  State Apartments, Dublin Castle

Dates:                       24th November 2018- 24th  March 2019

Times:                      10am - 5pm every day

Admission:               €3  

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