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A History Of Celtic Jewelry

Feb 15, 2008
The Celtic people, or Celts for short, dominated mid and western Europe for a thousand years. Now, many of the Celts descendants can be found dispersed in parts of Ireland and the Scottish highlands.

Traditionally, the Celts transferred knowledge of their culture through word-of-mouth and it was because of this that no documentation on their history can be found on these people who became proud warriors, merchants, and rulers. Little is known about them prior to their contact with the Greeks and Romans. While history is not well-documented during the nomadic times of the Celtic people, the generally accepted history is that the modern styles of Irish Jewelry are greatly influenced by the Huns, Druids and Celtic culture in what is referred to as modern Europe today.

The art of Celtic jewelry making is at its core an enchanting and magical one because of the mystery and meanings surrounding its designs. Not only beautiful pieces of art, many pieces of Celtic jewelry possess excellent jewelry craftsmanship. Adopting ideas drawn from nature and applying these simple motifs and knot-work to the overall design, they produced intricate jewelry designs out of gold, silver, and bronze. Besides Celtic rings, many of their designs are found on bracelets, earrings, and pendants.

It was between 200 BC to 500 AD that precious metals such as gold and silver were fashioned into items such as gorgets, sleeve and dress fasteners, discs, bracelets, Lunulae, and torcs. Many of these beautiful works of jewelry art are now found in the National Museum of Ireland today. While it was possible that Celtic art was incorporated into materials such as wood and textiles, this cannot be confirmed as none of their works have survived over the years.

The Celtic style of jewelry underwent further refinement from the Irish monks. Out of their inspired development came the Celtic cross and the most treasured of ancient manuscripts, the books of Kells, Lindisfame, and Durrow. Its beauty and craftsmanship eventually attracted buyers across the Mediterranean and as a result, Celtic jewelry became one of the highly sought after items by traders and merchants.

At present, Celtic jewelry is very popular around the world and excellent pieces of Celtic jewelry can still be found from those jewelers employing the same traditional jewelry making techniques of the skilled, ancient Celtic goldsmiths. Many of the popular designs seen today include artwork derived from the ancient manuscripts. While the Celtic people as a clearly identifiable ethnic group are now long gone, their proud heritage of jewelry making lives on, especially in places where many of their descendants live today.

Celtic rings and jewelry can be bought from brick-and-mortar jewelry stores but for the best selection and craftsmanship, go online or visit a specialty Irish jewelry store. If you are particular about quality, be sure to check that the jewelry originated from Ireland or Scotland. This is especially so if you are buying it as a wedding ring or engagement ring. For mass market silver Celtic jewelry, these can be found in abundance offline and online.
About the Author
Tim O'Malley writes for Shanore.com. Buy customized Celtic engagement rings and Celtic wedding rings from a trusted jewelry designer. They also carry Claddagh rings in their online catalog of popular ring designs at Shanore.com
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