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The Rich History of Celtic Jewelry

The Celts are renowned for their beautiful metal craftsmanship and design. Playing with stories and legends, and intertwining them with traditional knots and motifs, Celtic craftsmen created styles and designs that have become inspiration for jewelers and artists around the world. Today, Celtic jewelry remains some of the most desirable jewelry around the world.Between 2000 BC and 550 AD, the Celts used silver and gold to craft their jewelry. Archaeological studies have shown that the desire for Celtic jewelry reached as far as the Mediterranean.

Beautiful jewelry such as lunulae, collars, fibulae, torques, bangles and brooches were designed for the rich and noble kings and leaders of ancient Ireland. As Catholicism spread, Irish monks adopted many Celtic art forms and designs, and incorporated them into Christian ceremonial artwork. The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript from the 9th century, displays the intricacies of Celtic knot work and animalistic design. This beautiful Gospel has become the foremost example of Celtic art, and is used as inspiration in modern Celtic jewelry. This style was also transferred to stonework, as High Crosses and Cross gravestones became to dot the Irish countryside in the Middle intricate knotwork from books like the Book of Kells can be seen in jewelry such as Celtic cross pendants.

Celtic cross pendants are beautiful crosses that display the various forms of Celtic knotwork and design. From sterling silver to platinum, cross pendants can vary in style, shape and size. Depending on the personal style of the wearer, a Celtic cross can be etched in a dog tag, bejeweled with birthstones, or even carved from wood. Celtic rings are also a fine example of the rich variety of Celtic jewelry. Traditionally, Claddagh rings are cast in gold, but a silver Claddagh ring has become a premier choice for engagement and wedding bands. Featuring a crowned heart held by two hands that form the band, Claddagh rings are a recent addition to the Celtic style. Created over three hundred years ago by a slave, the Claddagh ring denotes love, friendship, and loyalty, all important factors that encompass true love. A Claddagh ring can be designed very traditionally, or can even include Celtic knotwork, shamrocks, or more modern symbolism. In true form, the versatility of Irish jewelry is testimony to its value and design. The Celts are inspirations to modern jewelers and designers. As Celtic jewelry becomes more popular and appreciation for the fine workmanship spreads, modern takes on traditional designs and styles will only make the art form more colorful and universal.