Celtic Jewellery in Ireland – Everything You Need to Know
Ireland is home to a rich collection of history, art, culture, and heritage. For someone who is nostalgic about home and looking to own an authentic piece of Ireland, symbolizing its beautiful culture, Celtic jewelry could just be your answer.
Dating back, the roots of Celtic jewelry extend from around 2,000 BC to 550 AD, where craftsmen with highly refined skillsets cast silver and gold to create intricate jewelry adorned with splendidly beautiful symbols.
Originally, Celtic symbols were filled with signs and metaphors created by communities of Ireland long before Christianity. However with Ireland embracing Christianity, these symbols were later adopted by Christian saints, who rendered them a new and deep religious meaning.
Featured in art and architecture, the Celtic symbols eventually found their way to jewelry, as apart from the religious connotation, they were extremely aesthetic and bore strong roots to the Irish tradition.
Types of Celtic Jewellery
Serving as a perfect Irish gift with a deep and distinct meaning, Celtic jewelry can come in many forms ranging from Celtic rings, pendants, bracelets, earrings, brooches, charms, and much more. Celtic Jewelry is exceptionally fascinating with its intricate design and meaning, this is why it is adorned by people around the World.
While it does have a universal appeal extending beyond age and demographics, there is something special about owning a piece of this historic jewelry, that expresses a unique connection to Ireland.
The Trinity Knot
Also known as Triquetra, the Trinity knot comprises of a single looped line with three prominent ends forming a triangulation representing the doctrine of the holy trinity. Though it may have a pagan beginning, the symbol was quickly adopted by Christian saints to illustrate the trinity of God- Father, and the Holy Spirit. It is also common to find the Trinity Knot encompassed by a circle implying eternity.
One isn’t far away from the likes of beautiful Ireland with the Trinity Knot commonly finding its place in architecture and art; from ancient monasteries to churches, the Trinity Knot can be seen easily as an adornment on walls. The world of jewellery has also taken vivid fascination to Celtic symbols with the Trinity Knot iterated in many forms such as in pendants, earrings, rings, and bracelets, etc.
Be it its artistic nature or the sheer representation of something so poignant and distinctive which connects to the roots of Ireland, the trinity knot jewelry has been extremely popular. Though it started off with a deep religious connection, in recent times, the symbolic Irish jewelry has gained respect in the realm of spirituality and appeases to the likes of many, just on the grounds of art and appreciation. The Trinity Knot, in modern times, is interpreted as the Irish love knot with the continuous nature of the knot showcasing eternal life and perpetual love.
The Celtic Knot
The Trinity Knot is just one of the many iterations of Celtic knotwork, as the style of exquisitely interwoven lines and knots is representative of the Celtic Knots symbolizing the connectedness of all life forms.
Adopted by the early Christians, the Celtic Knots were featured in monuments, monasteries, and landscaping as stonework while also finding a place in books and manuscripts. Branching to several other knots such as Celtic Family, Celtic Sisters knot, Mothers knot and Eternity knot, the Celtic Knot will always have a fond place in Irish culture and community.
The Celtic Spiral
In the likes of the Celtic Knot, the Celtic Spiral also follows its ancient roots, illustrating growth, unity and individual spirit. The spiral can have single to double, or triple the swirls with the space between showcasing life, death, and rebirth while the symbol itself stands testimony to eternal life.
It is often used in old manuscripts as a decorative motif by ancient monks, which in recent times, has made its way to handcrafted jewellery in Ireland. The intricate nature of it along with heavy symbolism makes it an interesting possession for Irish folks.
The Celtic Cross
Legend has it that the Apostle of Ireland, Saint Patrick himself introduced the Celtic Cross to the people of Ireland, by inscribing a cross through a Celtic circle representing the celestial body Sun, and the circle of life. The distinctive Celtic cross, born as a result, is viewed as a primary symbol of the island nation, illustrative of God’s endless love.
There is a rich collection of high quality Celtic jewelry such as the beautifully carved Celtic Cross pendants which are laced with gem accents and sophisticated colouring suited to the likes of modern dressers.
Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is a symbol found in ancient cultures which has universal representation but is also ostensibly a common Celtic symbol found in handcrafted Irish jewellery, invoking repeated interpretations across Ireland representing interconnectedness to other forms of life. The symbol depicts roots of the tree anchored to the ground while the branches reach the sky, mimicking the cycle of life with a connection between two entities- mind and body – heaven and earth.
While the pagan side of the story shows the Tree of Life as a basic entity for human sustenance, with belief that the tree is home to mystical properties, in Christianity, the symbol represents eternal life. The symbol, which is beautifully exotic and universal at the same time, isn’t just for the spiritual ones but also for those who are looking to own a piece of something so intrinsic to Ireland and its rich craft and culture.
The Shamrock is the traditional symbol of Ireland which, like Celtic symbols, was adopted to a new meaning. The Shamrock, however, has an interesting story behind it which made it famous and representative of Irish culture and heritage. While the other symbols were baptized by saints and delivered with new meaning to teach the pagans and spread the gospels of Christianity, it is believed that Saint Patrick used the shamrock to show the holy trinity and illustrate the doctrine.
The name ‘shamrock’ is derived from Irish ‘seamróg’, meaning ‘young clover’, with the symbol inscribed in intricate handcrafted jewellery in Ireland and art pieces. The three-leafed clover pendants and earrings are commonly sought after by Irish folks.
The Claddagh ring is quintessentially Irish, serving as one of the most popular ring designs across the country. Though not as ancient as the others or Celtic in nature, the Claddagh is an authentic and traditional Irish symbol comprising of a heart, which illustrates love, clasped by two willing hands representing friendship, and topped by a crown representing loyalty.
The symbol of the Claddagh has found many iterations in high quality Celtic jewellery, but the rings carrying it are the most sorted and predominant ones exchanged between friends, betrothed, and partners.
Interestingly, since the year 1700, Claddagh rings have been passed down from generations serving as a family heirloom, representative of love, friendship, and loyalty. Gems and precious stones are often embedded in the heart, the crown and hands for added aesthetics and value. Its popularity has also surged worldwide winning the hearts of many making it an exciting choice for wedding unions, especially for those who live and breathe all things Ireland.
The way it is worn
If worn on the right hand by women with the symbol facing inwards, it is understood that one is looking for love; while wearing it facing outwards, states that they are considering someone’s love. Worn on the left hand with the crown facing outwards, means the love has been found. When thinking Ireland, one couldn’t go wrong with the Claddagh rings.