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ballz of steel Irish woman's gender-neutral jewellery collection causing a stir around the world

"I figured out early in life that it would be a lot easier if I had a c**k or b***s, so I just made myself some in my jewellery range"

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Sam studied at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin followed by specialist training

Sam studied at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin followed by specialist training

Sam studied at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin followed by specialist training

DUBLINER Sam Hamilton has given a whole new meaning to the phrase 'balls of steel'.

The London-based founder of Sam Ham Jewellery Design laughs: From her Golden Ballz pendant to Billy Big Ballz piece and her Pretty Dix range, Sam enjoys taking a dig at traditional symbols of masculinity using the male anatomy as her centrepiece.

"I just wanted the confidence to move around like men do. I get loads of positive feedback, but plenty of negative too.

"People comment 'That is horrid' and 'Who would wear that?' - but if everyone liked everything I did then I would be working for Newbridge Silver, right?" says Sam.

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Snout face piece

Snout face piece

Snout face piece

Nothing about the 6ft tall blonde designer is dull and considering our interview is about fine jewellery, which I know little about, she keeps me laughing the entire time.

Her sense of fun was not lost on comedian Joanne McNally who was so impressed by the designer, she proudly posted one of her pieces on Instagram, gifted to her from Sam, and spoke about it on her podcast.

"After Joanne McNally wore my Ballz necklace I got an influx of followers and I also got an email from this great lady in Cork for an order and it was just fabulous.

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Black Pretty Dix pendant

Black Pretty Dix pendant

Black Pretty Dix pendant

"She wrote: 'My twin girls are turning 16 and I would like to order a silver Pretty Dix and a silver Ballz pendant and I cannot think of a better message to give my girls.' I loved that."

Mum to Theo, aged two, who she shares with her husband Nick, Sam (34) has settled down in London, but loves the contact she has with Ireland, thanks to a growing number of Irish clients looking for bespoke pieces - including singer Dermot Kennedy who commissioned a pearl signet ring.

"I got to London at 26, heartbroken after a break-up, and aggressively dated on Tinder for about a year. I had the time of my life, I actually finished Tinder, completed it," she says laughing.

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"Luckily I met my husband at the end of that year, and it was his first ever Tinder date and now we have Theo, who is his own little person.

"I love London. In Ireland if you stand at a train station long enough you will meet someone you know and it is charming, but I like the fact that I don't know anybody, that just does it for me."

Another stand-out range by Sam has to be her Honourable Pig Collection.

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Half Sheriff Half Chain

Half Sheriff Half Chain

Half Sheriff Half Chain

"I'm not vegan or vegetarian. I love pigs and I'd happily eat pork and potatoes until I die," says the unisex jewellery designer. "Those designs were made in my pregnant and post-pregnancy haze.

"My mother, Miriam, always says you should never decorate your home when you are pregnant, or just had a baby, because you have no taste as your brain is so fried.

"But obviously there is a pig thing there already, as my uncle used to obsessively collect pig figurines, and then I had chosen the name Sam Ham for my jewellery brand.

"But when I was pregnant, I used to have this recurring dream that after I gave birth, they handed me a little pig and I was thrilled. The concept of having a piglet was far more appealing than having a baby if I am honest," she laughs.

"Doing my piglets was a great way for me to reconnect with my creative side.

"I am not an artist, I do a lot of commercial jobs and I think about weight and cost production, and I was losing the creativity of a designer - so I just put aside a pot of money for that project to reconnect me with the reason I make jewellery.

"I loved jewellery even as a kid. I was a very big kid, I was 6ft at aged 12, so the thing about being big is that nothing ever fits but jewellery - jewellery almost always fits.

"Right now I am working on engagement rings that are a little bit different," adds Sam.

Prices start from €180 on samhamdesign.com

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