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Celtic Jewelry - A Historic Perspective

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/25/2006 | Social Issues
Celtic jewelry is becoming more and more popular these days, but many are not entirely sure what it is. So what exactly is Celtic Jewelry and why is it so popular?

The Celts were a people who lived some 2 thousand years ago across much of what we now know as Europe. They were artistic people who delighted in their abilities with such materials as metal, particularly the precious metals.

The Celts saw art in everything and loved to adorn even simple everyday items with various designs rich in their own symbolism.

Modern Celtic Jewelry is also rich in this symbolism, and often it's meaning is the subject of debate and speculation. Notwithstanding the modern development of Celtic Jewelry has continued the Celtic tradition into the twenty first century for us.

Celtic Jewelry carries on the Celtic tradition of richness of design. It is nothing if not striking jewelry. There is a wide range of Celtic Jewelry designs which are very popular, all drawing their origins from the mists of time.

Celtic knotwork is extremely popular in Celtic jewelry. It is intricately ornamental and very striking when used in jewelry, although this is certainly not the only place where the Celtic knot can be found. Intricate interwoven ribbons form beautiful patterns that are ideally suited to jewelry.

These interwoven ribbons can be used in wedding rings where they have a special significance. The wedding rings have two interwoven ribbons which are said to signify the intertwined lives of the two who are together. And the two ribbons terminate with Creyr, meaning creator in Welsh, who was the Celtic creator of new life, or babies.

Probably most well known amongst the various forms of Celtic jewelry is the Claddagh ring. This ring originates from the village of Claddagh in Ireland, from which it draws it's name, and is a friendship ring.

The Claddagh ring has a very specific design and is most unusual and striking. It features two hands holding a heart which is itself surmounted by a crown. It is said that the ring symbolizes friendship in the hands, love in the heart and loyalty in the crown. These are said to be the bases of a successful marriage.

Like most Celtic symbols, it is not entirely clear how the ring originated, and there are various stories which explain its origin. Whatever its origin, it is now a very popular piece of jewelry.

As a result of the Irish famine in 1847 many Irish people emigrated to the US bringing with them their culture and traditions. As Celtic jewelry is highly popular and well known in Ireland it is not surprising that its popularity has now developed in the US as well.

Celtic jewelry is some of the most traditional jewelry available, yet still some of the most modern and fashionable. It is highly ornate, often imposing, and very popular. Although not necessarily for the faint hearted, if you are looking for a new jewelry style with flair you would be well advised to have a look at Celtic jewelry before making your choice.