Although Celts are well known for their fighting skills and love of nature, archaeological discoveries prove that the inhabitants of the British isles were also fond of jewelry. Celtic artisans used to create exquisite metal jewelry adorned with various Celtic symbols since 2000 BC.
Modern artists are still using the design elements found in the ancient pieces of Celtic jewelry, and many people choose to wear them. However, you may be wondering if the rings or pendants you treasure look the same as the pieces of jewelry worn by the ancient Celts. Did they even wear brooches?
Celtic jewelry pieces were made from gold, bronze, Baltic amber, and other various materials. The designs include geometric patterns and natural figures such as animals and plants.
Based on the historical evidence and archaeological discoveries, the Celts wore the following pieces of jewelry:
These collars were made of precious metals, symbolized power, and acted as a token of a person’s status. Both men and women wore torcs, and it was believed that even gods would wear them. The warriors and clan chiefs, in particular, wore torcs.
The most famous torcs are the gold torc from the Broighter Hoard and the Snettisham Great Torc.
Celtic brooches were another standard jewelry piece worn by both men and women. Celtic brooches were made of various metals such as iron, bronze, gold, or silver and used as decorative elements or as cloak fasteners around the shoulders. The Celtic brooches depicted whole animals or just their heads as design elements.
One of the most famous Celtic brooches is the Tara Brooch. Crafted around 700 AD, this brooch proves the high level of crafting skills the Celts possessed.
Pendants are the most traditional pieces of jewelry and were used as protective symbols. The symbols depicted on the Celtic pendants are the three-pointed triskele (the oldest Celtic symbol), the tree of life, the Celtic knot, and, later, the Celtic cross. Other design elements include the Scottish thistle, the Irish shamrock, or the representations of animals or plants.
Celts used numerous types of hair ornaments made from different materials. The most common jewelry pieces were the hollow golden balls worn at the ends of braids of hair, hairpins, and combs made of bone or horn. Upper-class individuals would wear tiaras or circlets on their foreheads.
Some of the most famous symbols in terms of jewelry are the Irish Gimmel and the Claddagh rings. However, these rings are more recent, dating back 300 years. The ancient Celts started to wear rings only after Rome’s influence.
Apart from the previously mentioned pieces of jewelry, the ancient Celts also wore earrings, bracelets, and armbands. Bangles of gold were also worn around the legs above the ankles. These items were made from different materials such as gold, silver, iron, or bronze and were very precious to both men and women.
If you want to celebrate your Celtic heritage or you want to gift your loved ones a token of loyalty, love, and friendship, a piece of handmade jewelry is always a good idea. On websites such as Celtic Crystal Design, you can find exquisite jewelry pieces inspired by the old Celtic designs. Quality craftsmanship and elegant design are the best features of their pieces.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.