Celtic heritage is deep and rich, but the details are often contested. A few facts that can be agreed upon lend credence to the popular Celtic art of modern humanity. Historically, the Celtic culture originated as early as 800 BC in Hallstatt, Austria. It has since shifted, expanded, adapted and changed through the ages. The people carrying the culture have migrated, and expanded through the British Isles, France, Gauls, Bohemia, Poland, most of central Europe, Iberian Peninsula, and Northern Italy.
Throughout the ages, language has been one of the leading factors to show continuity of the culture. While the Celtic languages are for the most part forgotten in today’s society, inscriptions and place names are seen as early at the 6th century BC. Today the historical language has all but been lost, heard only in music, and names.
Traditional Celtic culture, as we are familiar with today, originated from the settlement of the Celts in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Brittany during the 1st century BC. The settlement of these communities was heavily influence by the Roman Empire and the Great Expansion of the Germanic Peoples. The villages of people in these areas shared recognizable linguistic, religious, and artistic characteristics.
However, by the 6th century AD, the use of Continental Celtic languages had all but died out. Christianity began to overrun the Celtic polytheism, and the prevalence of Catholic Missionaries was notable. Art began to shift to reflect the influence of Catholicism in Celtic regions.
Celtic heritage is now celebrated worldwide, life’s movements have shifted the Celts into a modern developed society. Through jewelry, tattoos, and other art, we can share a common strand of history no matter where we are.
The most recognized symbols of Celtic heritage are the Claddagh ring, often used for engagement, promise or wedding rings. This iconic image is that of the hands wrapping to embrace a crowned heart. The hand symbolize friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown embodies loyalty. Together, these things represent the values one might wish to find in a lover or friend.
Another popular representation of the Celtic history is through religion. Celts valued the symbolism of the traditional Celtic Knots. When Christianity began to filter through the region, they combined their knotwork with the Christian cross. The traditional High Cross is a reflection of this combination. The knot filled cross is crowned with a halo around the arms of the cross. This image is seen in jewelry in the form of rings, pendants, bracelets and more. It is also a popular tattoo design, usually paired with a bible verse.
Movies such as Boondock Saints, Excalibur, Highlander, Gangs of New York, and more have immortalized some factors of Celtic culture in the past and the future. You can also learn more about your Celtic heritage through your local library, or Celtic society. Most communities have historical societies that can help direct you to the right resources to find out more.
You can find the solution to all your Celtic jewelry needs through IceGoldJewellery.com. At Ice Gold, we carry claddagh rings for men and women, earrings, and other Celtic inspired artwork in Yellow and White Gold, and Sterling Silver.