Celtic Jewellery Legend & Lore
Put the search term Celtic Jewellery into Google and you’ll find a myriad of websites based anywhere from Dublin to Geneva. This probably reflects the true origins of the ancient Celts who were a central European group of tribal peoples bound by a shared culture, language, and social structure who first appear on our timeline around 500-700 BCE.
The Celts were fierce warriors and their territory encompassed much of modern Europe stretching northwards into Ireland and Scotland. My own Island ancestry is mixed with French and German DNA so I am living proof of how far the Celts travelled with their rich mythologies and related complex and mystical patterns that we now refer to as Celtic design.
Highly skilled crafts people, their jewellery and sacred objects have been called the work of angels and their legacy and beauty can be traced on Iona from the Book of Kells right through to our own historical and contemporary jewellery ranges.
The Celts' world was animated by gods and goddesses, in a landscape of shapeshifting animals and spirits, populated with warriors, noblewomen, and priests. Jewellery was a way to symbolise status and power and to hold close to the body the sacred mysteries contained in the complex interlaced patterns, offering the wearer protection and courage.
Celtic Jewellery Influences
The metal used in the jewellery was not only a status symbol, but could also have been used for magical purposes. The most common jewellery material would have been silver, long associated with the Moon. We still talk in modern times about the gentle, healing light of the Moon and I like to think that by casting our Celtic Iona jewellery in silver recovered from NHS X-rays we are giving a little nod to our Celtic ancestors and what we can imagine about their symbolic relationship to silver and the illuminating power of the Moon.