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All About Scottish Jewellery

6 min read

All About Scottish Jewellery

What is Scottish Jewellery? 

Scottish Jewellery is created in a style that is inspired by the landscapes, artwork and history associated with Scotland. Today, it usually takes the form of Celtic Jewellery. The characteristics of nature, Scandinavian mythology and popular Celtic knot patterns work together to ensure beautiful, unique pieces that are enriched with an array of antiquity and culture. 

The History of Scottish Jewellery 

The rich history of Scottish Jewellery links back to the Iron age, between 2000 BC and 550 AD. The crafting of functional items and decoration that emerged from the Celtic Jewellery style was embellished to create forms of Scottish Jewellery.  

The origins of Scottish Jewellery reach across many different era’s, each with their own unique and historical fashion trends. In the 1800s, a rise in the production of Scottish Jewellery sparked Queen Victoria’s interest in a particular style; pebble jewellery. Scottish pebble jewellery, also known as agate pieces, became widely circulated in the Victorian markets due to their unmatched, distinct and breathtaking look and colour. 

Scottish Jewellery pieces evolved throughout the 1950s, taking on a more modern look, inspired by the sleek, simple styles of the time. The tradition of Scottish and Celtic pieces continues today, holding true to the deep meanings, stories, inspiration and value behind them.  

What is the meaning behind Scottish Jewellery?

As mentioned, Celtic Jewellery is unique because of its origins of Scandinavian Mythology and Celtic culture. Each type of Scottish Jewellery has its own meaning, telling stories and symbolising Philosophical concepts. There are common themes of love, loyalty, strength and unity reflected throughout the pieces, the Celts wearing them with pride and sentiment. Today, most Celtic and Scottish Jewellery designs convey the humble qualities of love, strength and kindness, as well as representing family ties.  

Scottish Jewellery

What are the most popular types of Scottish Jewellery?

There are many types of Scottish jewellery, all of which differ in design, style, pattern and meaning. However, despite their differences, they all share the exquisite culture, roots and detail associated with Scottish Jewellery. Here at Ogham, we have a wide, beautiful selection of Scottish Jewellery

Celtic Jewellery 

Celtic Jewellery is a unique, handcrafted type of jewellery inspired by Scottish origins. It 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. 

The pieces 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. 

The most well known Celtic Jewellery designs are those that incorporate the Celtic Knots. These are popular within silver and gold pendants, brooches, rings and charms, very much sticking to the traditional styles of this jewellery. 

To learn more about the rich culture of Celtic Jewellery, as well as the different styles available, read more here.  

Kilt Pins

Something that makes Scottish Jewellery different, as well as enriching the pieces with the characteristics of the Celtic Jewellery in the Iron Age, is that it is functional and practical, as well as pleasing to the eye. One example of this is Kilt Pins.

Kilt Pins are fasteners that are used to secure a skirt. The custom of wearing one began during Queen Victoria’s reign, when she gave her own brooch to a Soldier who was struggling with his Kilt in the wind. 

Many Kilt Pins are adorned with beautiful stones and engravings, whilst some maintain a more simple, classic look. Stag Pins are amongst the most popular types of Kilt Pins, inspired by mythologised animals and symbolising strength and virility. 

Pebble Jewellery

Pebble Jewellery is a style that has long been associated with Scotland. It is generally made from silver, as well as stones such as agate, marble and yellow quartz. The stones featured are indigenous to Scotland, and are incorporated within pebble jewellery pieces to create artwork of thistles, flowers and nature. 

Queen Victoria popularised the style of pebble jewellery. The designs of this style can vary, coming in different shapes, forms and techniques. Pebble jewellery is typically seen as brooches, bracelets and necklaces, and continues to grow in popularity. 

Scottish Brooches

Like kilt pins, Scottish brooches were, and still are today, made for the purpose of securing clothing, most typically used to secure a ladies blouse. In more recent times, Scottish Brooches are seen used for aesthetic purposes, pinned to the side of a blazer, or a coat.

As well as for the aesthetic and functional purposes, Scottish Brooches are given as romantic gifts, sometimes becoming family heirlooms and being passed down through generations. 

The Celtic brooch was one of the first styles to emerge, designed in the shape of a torc. As it is the official flower of Scotland, a thistle brooch is also widely worn, symbolising the resilience of Scottish people. The most romantic of all, though, is the Luckenbooth brooch. It consists of intertwined hearts, symbolising eternal love, and is often given as an engagement gift.

Heathergems are also widely used in Scottish Brooch designs. They are typically made in Scotland from the dried stems of the heather plant, which are then dried, compressed, and cut. Every piece of heathergems jewellery is unique as it is made from natural Scottish heather, therefore the actual colours in each piece will vary. They also come in traditional pendant, bangle and earrings designs.

What is the National Gemstone of Scotland?

The Cairngorm Quartz is the national gemstone of Scotland. Also known as the smoky quartz, they are brown, or a warm orange colour with hexagonal forms. When the Celts populated the British Isles, they began to mine this beautiful stone in the Scottish Highlands. They named the stones that they found with a yellow-brown colour the Cairngorm, after the Cairngorm mountains.

 Aurora Scottish Jewellery

Why is Scottish gold so popular?  

Gold is a treasure from the heart of Scotland. It has been mined in Scotland for a long time, as it is found across many areas such as the Lowther Hills. Scottish Gold is popular because of its unique qualities. It is one of the rarest precious metals in the world, and has a distinct blend of elements that are impacted by geology and composition. The warm, amber glow that this metal excludes makes for beautiful, eye-catching pieces.

Scottish and Celtic Symbols

Most Scottish and Celtic jewellery pieces consist of drawings, carvings, images and symbols which hold their own deep meanings. These symbols bore a great significance on the ancient Celts culture, which holds true today.

Celtic Knot 

The Celtic Knot was one of the first design patterns used within ancient Scottish and Celtic jewellery. Today, it is one of the most popular patterns, used within rings, necklaces, bracelets and more. The symbolic style of a looped knot that has no start or finish represents the eternity of life, as well as the core values that come along with it such as loyalty, faith, friendship and love. 

Triquetra 

The Triquetra is one of the most popular triple knot designs that is used in Scottish and Celtic jewellery. It consists of three intertwined arcs, which connect deeply with the power of three. The concept of interconnectedness and infinity within this symbol evokes the meaning that life is unbroken and never ending. The Triquetra also has meanings of unity and protection. 

Celtic Cross 

The Celtic Cross features a traditional cross, accented with a highly decorative circular shape around the intersection of the arms. It is said to bring strength, knowledge, fellow feeling and compassion to its wearer. The designs of the Celtic Cross symbol vary, and include carvings that depict ancient Celtic symbols, stories and geometric patterns.

Circular Knot  

The Circular Knot is not just detailed in design, but also in its deep, hidden meanings. Each part of the knot has its own connotation, having no start or finish. The three strands of the knot represent the three forces of nature: wind, fire and Earth. The single line that runs through the knot is said to signify the oneness of spirit, intertwined with spirals of growth. The gaps within the design depict the stages of life; life, death and rebirth. 

Ortak Jewellery Scottish

Who are some well known Scottish Jewellery designers? 

Scottish jewellery designers are truly passionate about their work, each having the ethic to create pieces that are uniquely beautiful, whilst still maintaining the rich culture and heritage associated with the ancient Celts. Each designer’s work is an expression of their own individuality, from the contemporary hand-enamel work of Scottish designer Sheila Fleet, the stylish and contemporary work of Shirley Paris, to the stunning, traditional silver and gold pieces by Ortak based in the Orkney Islands

We at Ogham Jewellery are renowned for our desire to search all over the world to find the finest jewellery designers. Discover more Scottish Jewellery Designers today.



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