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19 Things You Need to Know About Celtic Jewellery

7 min read

19 Things You Need to Know About Celtic Jewellery

Celtic Jewellery is a unique, handcrafted type of jewellery inspired by Scottish origins. Here are 19 facts about Celtic Jewellery that you may not know. Step inside the world of Celtic Jewellery and learn about its origin, how it is made, the symbolism and patterns that are unique to this style of jewellery along with the types of materials generally associated with their design. 

1: What is Celtic Jewellery?

Celtic Jewellery is inspired by the history and artwork of ancient Celtic cultures. Made from the finest materials by expert jewellers and craftsmen, the traditional and contemporary designs of the jewellery make for truly spectacular pieces. They are influenced by the styles of traditional Celtic Jewellery that incorporate patterns that are extremely complex and unique, holding a deep meaning to this day. 

Here at Ogham Jewellery, we offer a wide variety of hand-crafted Celtic Jewellery and rings from Ortak, Sheila Fleet, Celtic Art and Mithrill. Browse Here >>>> 

2: What is Celtic Jewellery’s History?

It is thought that the origins of Celtic Jewellery date back between 2000 BC and 550 AD. During these times, silver and gold were often used by Celtic craftsmen to make exquisite jewellery adorned with Celtic symbols and patterns. The sheer level of workmanship and skill that was required to create such incredible jewellery was outstanding, as the level of intricate details and decoration was of the highest standard. 

The Celts were a collection of tribes with beginnings in Europe that emerged within the Iron Age. The collection of tribes shared many similarities, such as their language, religious beliefs, traditions and culture. It is believed that celtic culture started to evolve as early as 1200 BC. 

Leading up to and after 2000 BC, a new wave of working techniques, materials and style came into play. This required detailed and specific work, rather than just casting and heavy duty work. This advanced, innovative style of work gave rise to utensils, jewellery, and even weapons and armour, which reflected a much better design pattern.

3: What is the meaning behind Celtic Jewellery?

The meaning of Celtic Jewellery was rooted deep within the hearts of the Celts. The common themes of love, loyalty, strength and unity throughout their religious beliefs were reflected in all of the jewellery that they made, and were worn with pride and sentiment. Their jewellery would convey power and meaning, and this still holds true today as most celtic jewellery represents strength, family and love. 

celtic symbols for scottish jewellery

4: What are the Celtic Jewellery Symbols, and what do they mean? 

Many modern Celtic Jewellery pieces are decorated with ancient celtic symbols. These have meanings dating back to the culture of the Celts in 2000 BC, and have become widely popular today.

These symbols have three intertwined parts which represent the belief that everything of significance comes in three parts - Earth, Sky and Sea. Others represent the mind, body and spirit of a person. This links to the essence of nature throughout the designs of Celtic Jewellery, as it is a symbol of eternity and of the cycle of life. 

There are a variety of Celtic symbols, all of which have individual meanings. These include the Celtic Knot, the Celtic Cross, the Claddagh Ring, the Tree of Life, and Ogham. Celtic symbols have a variety of Celtic knot meanings representing family, strength, protection and more. 

5: What are Celtic Knots? 

A Celtic Knot is a symbolic pattern of a looped knot that has no start, and no finish. It was said to represent eternity in friendship, loyalty, faith and love. The simple, but elegantly finished two-strand knots are associated with the ancient Celtic beliefs of eternal lines, not only symbolising eternal life, but also to the relationship between humanity and the realms of living. 

Celtic knots are popular within silver and gold pendants, brooches, rings and charms, very much sticking to the traditional styles of this jewellery. One of the most popular and meaningful knots today is the Celtic love knot. This is frequently used on wedding rings, symbolising the love that two people have for each other. It is also commonly believed that a tradition in the Celts’ tribal culture was to exchange love knots in a similar way to how we today exchange wedding rings at the altar. 

6: What is the design of Celtic Jewellery? 

Celtic Jewellery is based on the design work created by the Ancient Celts of Europe, Britain, Scotland and Ireland. Their designs were typically characterised by complex patterns and two-dimensional decorations based on symbols and motifs. The patterns were of the highest standard, with geometric diagonal lines, swirls and spirals and curvilinear styles intertwined with the visual elements of nature, animals and ancient characters.

7: How is Celtic Jewellery Made?

Some of the materials used are gold, bronze, silver and amber. Gold was hammered into sheets and decorated with embossed and chased patterns similar to those found on pottery from that period: zigzag motifs, triangles and diamond or kite shapes. 

More modern techniques include the use of 3D CAD modelling, rapid manufacturing and Metal Casting to achieve more intricate designs.

8: What is the heritage of Celtic Jewellery? 

Celtic Jewellery is inspired by the heritage of the ancient and traditional beauty of Celtic Isles, land, scenery and artwork. A stone that is commonly used in Celtic jewellery is the emerald, which symbolises mercy, faithfulness and compassion. Due to its meaning, as well as its vibrant colour, green, that is featured in many Scottish celt plaids, the emerald has been linked to the heritage of Celtic Jewellery for a very long time.

Sheila Fleet Celtic Jewellery

9: How do you wear Celtic Jewellery?

Celtic Jewellery is enriched with culture, meaning and ancient heritage, with many of the pieces symbolising different things. For example, the Claddagh Ring. The Claddagh Ring is one of the most popular, traditional symbols of Celtic Jewellery. It consists of a heart, and is the symbol of love. It can be worn in different ways with different meanings. 

If the Claddagh Ring is worn on the ring finger of the right hand, with the heart facing outwards, it implies that the wearer is single, and is looking for love. When it is worn on this same finger but with the heart facing inwards, it shows that the person’s heart is taken, and that they are in a relationship. The Claddagh Ring is worn on the left hand ring finger with the heart facing outwards if they are engaged, and inwards if they are happily married. 

10: What form of Jewellery is Celtic Jewellery typically made in? 

One of the most distinctive and notable items of Celtic Jewellery is the metal torq (also known as Torc or Torque), which in basic terms is a simple neck ring, otherwise known as a traditional Celtic necklace. Examples range from basic, undecorated iron rings, to elaborate twisted gold versions with cast, decorated terminals at either end. 

11: Who originally wore Celtic Jewellery? 

The origins of Celtic Jewellery date back to the ancient Celts of the inhabitants of Europe in the Iron Age. All of the Celtic styles, techniques and cultures resulted from these individuals. They began by using materials such as bronze, iron and silver to craft exquisite pieces. 

Those of the Iron Age were fully dressed and ornamented, most commonly wearing toe rings, armlets and neck articles. They also began to develop more intricate and complicated designs, such as garment fasteners, called fibulas, and torcs, which were elaborately decorated neck rings. 

Not only did the Celts enjoy making jewellery, but they also loved wearing it, and it was a substantial part of their culture. 

12: Why is Celtic Jewellery so popular? 

The special combination of the hidden meanings, symbols and intricate designs of Celtic Jewellery is what makes it so popular. It also contains unique elements that many other forms of jewellery don’t possess.

For example, Celtic Jewellery is focused on the metal designs and patterns that are incorporated into the pieces, not on the gemstones. The designs are also used as a method of storytelling, which sets this style of jewellery apart from the other historical counterparts that are circulated in today’s jewellery market.

13: What are the styles of Celtic Jewellery? 

Ancient Celtic Jewellery pieces are instantly recognizable by their unique styles of step patterns, basic knot patterns, knotwork interlace and celtic spirals. It’s clear to see that the original Celtic jewellery of the era is a far cry from replicas that you might find on sale today, which tend to focus on the more two dimensional decorative elements.

There are many styles to choose from, which have had new life breathed into them, consisting of updated patterns that are even more complex and intricate. View our complete range of Celtic Jewelleryto see some of the intricate pattern work designed into each piece. 

14: What stones, metals, materials are used in Celtic Jewellery?

Jewellery and metalwork from this period was characterised by intricate spirals and geometric designs, and the pieces were often made in gold, silver, and bronze.

The stones chosen to feature in the Celtic Jewellery designs all had specific meanings, the Celts believing that each stone had powers and qualities. One of the most commonly used stones was the amethyst, which was thought to be the ‘stone of spirituality’, aiding in healing, peace, strength and renewal.  

15: What are Celtic Wedding Rings?

Celtic rings, with their ancient Celtic symbols of interlacing knot-work, are the ideal symbol of vows of love and friendship. These are the ideal choice for many loving couples. 

16: Is Celtic Jewellery sustainable? 

Whilst Celtic Jewellery can be crafted from an array of precious metals including gold and titanium, silver jewellery has a reputation not only for being durable, but also for possessing a timeless beauty. 

17: Is Celtic Jewellery for both Men and Women? 

Celtic Jewellery is for both men and women. Although many pieces are elaborately decorated and detailed, they are more than just accessories. When Celtic Jewellery is worn, the history, meaning and symbols of ancient Celtic culture is carried with wearers, and for those with ancestral roots. 

Many pieces are influenced by the masculine, strong, modern design, whilst others maintain elegance and class. Both men’s and women’s Celtic jewellery are equal in complex beauty and style. 

18: What are the Traditional Colours of Celtic Jewellery? 

Despite the complicated and intricate designs of Celtic Jewellery, the traditional colours are very simple. The metals used, such as gold, silver and bronze, impact the colour of a piece. As well as this, the Celtic Jewellery style uses a minimal amount of gemstones. There is an array of gemstones to choose from, ranging from a  green emerald, to a purple amethyst, or even a blue topaz. 

19: Is Celtic Jewellery Scottish? 

 Celtic Jewellery is created in Scotland, or in a style associated with Scotland, which often takes the form of traditional Celtic Jewellery. It is often characterised by being inspired by nature, Scandinavian mythology, and Celtic knot patterns.


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