Parnelle Diamonds is a family company that can trace it’s roots back to the early 1900’s.
It was then that the grandfather of one of the founders (Greg Carey) opened a small jewellery shop at 14 Parnell Street in Limerick City centre that served the people of Limerick both in retail and in the crafting of fine jewellery.
Greg grew up visiting and working in the shop eventually becoming inspired to enter the diamond business. On graduating from UCD Greg joined the De Beers Industrial Diamond company (now called Element 6) which had set up in the nearby Shannon Industrial estate. Throughout the 1970s he gained the knowledge and experience that laid the firm foundation of his expertise in the diamond industry.
In 1980 Greg joined the Boart Longyear Group and headed up the diamond section of the newly established Boart Longyear Plant in Salt Lake City, Utah which manufactured diamond drill bits for use in the oil & gas industry. Here, he honed his managerial skills and further built on his diamond experience, in particular by understanding the needs of the end user of diamond products. The period in America also marked the beginning of Greg’s family life with the birth of the first two of his children. In the mid 1980s Greg relocated to Shannon working for a short time in Drill Tools Ltd. before emulating the entrepreneurial skills of his grandfather by co-founding Shannon Abrasives Limited in 1987.
As the business and the family grew Greg’s two sons Donal and Hugh got to know it literally from the ground up, initially through their part time jobs cleaning the offices when each were in their early teens and later through working in the plant during summer vacations. Donal studied IT in college and gained valuable skills and experience particularly in the area of web design and programming while working for a number of global technology companies including AOL and Skillsoft. Throughout this time he was continually thinking of ways in which he could use his skills to advance the productivity and profile of Shannon Abrasives Ltd. Hugh’s degree in Business Studies gave him a thorough understanding of how business operates providing a sound theoretical background to complement his wealth of practical experience. Both sons joined the Shannon Abrasives Team in 2014, Donal as Sales & Marketing Manager and Hugh as Technical & Operations Manager.
While Shannon Abrasives Limited is concerned solely with the industrial side of the diamond business 2014 was also the year when Donal saw an opportunity to develop an affiliated business in bespoke diamond engagement rings. They are proud of their roots in the sector and to acknowledge their beginnings and honour their ancestor who started the initial business they called the new venture Parnelle Diamonds.