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The Celtic Style of Ancient Jewelry Making Techniques

Aug 23, 2007
"Knowledge always demands increase; it is like fire, which must first be kindled by some external agent, but will afterwards always propagate itself."
-Samuel Johnson

One of the most beautiful and enchanting styles of ancient jewelry making techniques is the craftsmanship of the ancient Celt. The Celts settled in Ireland centuries ago and their ancient jewelry making techniques can be rivaled by only a few. They created beautiful ornaments out of gold, bronze and silver. They took ideas from nature to make sophisticated and intricate design motifs for their wonderful adornments.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the topic:
"Jewellery (also spelled jewelry, see spelling differences) is a personal ornament, such as a necklace, ring, or bracelet, made from jewels, precious metals or other substance.

The word jewellery is derived from the word jewel, which was anglicised from the Old French "jouel" in around the 13th century.[1] Further tracing leads back to the Latin word "jocale", meaning plaything. Jewellery is one of the oldest forms of body adornment; recently found 100,000 year-old Nassarius shells that were made into beads are thought to be the oldest known jewellery.[2]

Although in earlier times jewellery was created for more practical uses, such as wealth storage and pinning clothes together, in recent times it has been used almost exclusively for decoration. The first pieces of jewellery were made from natural materials, such as bone, animal teeth, shell, wood, and carved stone. Jewellery was often made for people of high importance to show their status and, in many cases, they were buried with it."

Triskeles, Spirals, Animal motifs and later Crosses were woven into Celtic Knotwork designs. These ancient jewelry making techniques of knotwork designs were then woven into earrings, brooches, pendants, torcs, bracelets and rings. The Celtic ancient jewelry making techniques were used between 2000 BC and 500 AD. Gold and silver were used to make the intricately worked designs of personal jewelry such as Lunulae, collars, fibulae, torques, bangles and brooches.

Many examples of the old jewelry making techniques of the Celts are on display in the National Museum of Ireland. The Celtic jewelry was traded back and forth across the Mediterranean for food and clothing because of its great beauty and craftsmanship. Ancient Celtic jewelry making techniques were the finest of its time.

Irish Monks

The Celtic style of ancient jewelry making techniques were later adapted and developed by Irish monks. They crafted outstanding works of art such as their high crosses. These have become most famous today and can be found in the ancient books of Kells, Lindisfarne and Durrow. These manuscripts are some of the most treasured from the early Celtic.

The Irish monks' finest craftsmanship can be found in their chalices, crosiers and jewelry. Their jewelry not only adorned their religious leaders, but also the monarchy.

Perfecting the Trade

The Celtic art of ancient jewelry making techniques were a challenge to the craftsmen of that period. The monks would melt their gold or silver metal, and then pour it into intricately designed molds. As their molds were cooling, the artist would sit and sculpt their design into the cooling metal. The tools they used were not sophisticated as today's tools and the slip of a finger or twitch of the hand could destroy hours of work.

Only the finest craftsmen were allowed to participate in the art of these ancient jewelry making techniques. Knowing how to melt the metal then cool, and finding the perfect moment to create the design in the cooling metal were techniques that only a few perfected. This is the main reason that the jewelry was so highly regarded for its beauty during the Celtic period.

To find more information the topic, here are some suggestions:
1) The internet - one can use a favorite search engine
2) Catalogs - There are hundreds of catalogs on almost every topic imaginable
3) Local stores - depending on the store, well-trained employees can be a great resource
About the Author
For more information on ancient jewelry making techniques visit http://www.jewelrymakingbasics.com
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