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Celtic Jewelry: History & Symbols

Celtic Jewelry History & Symbols


The Celts were a very small and ancient civilization in which they lived in small villages, were of Indo-European roots and were characterized by being ethnic and conservative. The Celtic culture had an analog close to the Latin culture as imposed by analysts. They lived close to the Iron Age and were separated from each other throughout Europe, these populations were not pre-established, but were linking up with each other and with each other as they kept some common typologies such as culture, clothing and Celtic Jewelry, to mention the most important ones.

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Joyería celta: historia y símbolos

Authentically it is said that the Celts as a language and culture first came to Ireland before any other country, about five hundred years before Christ. Their ways of drawing and culture, works of art, clothing and jewellery then gave them the name “La Tene”. Later, over time, some artifacts were found that carried the same name, they were found in places like Switzerland, any of these tools radiated or made news of the kind of life that the Celts maintained. The educations or artworks were eternally defined by very typological curves or by spirals, the art that they executed was characteristic, directing towards the jewels that for the Celts made representation to figures, beliefs or symbols that for themselves possessed an elegant amount in their culture.

On the contrary, since they did not want to mean any kind of renowned peculiarity, they were dedicated to making geometric or abstract symbols, as the most recognized design of them that represented or formed a triple spiral. The tools with which they made their garments, works and other items were of high hardness so that each utensil had a long and necessary useful life. Due to its power of stability, numerous investigations have uncovered a wide variety of buried pieces. Many segments of Celtic jewelry were made of metallic materials because of the age they lived in. Many elements have been found that represent a symbol of status, the jewelry was seen as decorative elements primarily and often were made of precious metals such as gold, as they were strong to get various materials due to the scarcity in the area.

The jewellery discovered in many excavations by the professionals who work in these areas states that they were status symbols, that is to say, not all Celts could have this type of garment in their possession. The clothes that were found were intended to be decorative and more practical. Facts from history show that the Celts found their way to make this type of decorative element in Ireland and that fabulously in the iron age of that country they had the privilege of financing. As the Celts were established in Ireland, the old culture belonging to the Celts would have to be mixed with that of the country in which they lived. With the numerous excavations and the studies that were carried out on the accessories and tools that the professionals found, there were various conclusions.

Celtic jewelry: the iron age

While living in the full iron age, it was to be expected that all or most of the tools would be made from this material, and research showed that the implements used to make different objects were made from iron. Iron was fundamental in the Celtic civilization because it was not only used for tools but also for making jewelry, materials such as gold were also used to make these accessories but not all the villagers could afford them. There is a famous and very jealously guarded piece called Broighter Necklace, this is an accessory made of Irish gold that was only used by a few people and is characterized by the incrustations that it carries with it at the time of manufacture.

The famous piece called Broighter Collar is a torque found in the famous Broighter earthenware, this treasure included a wide diversity of Celtic pieces, this particular jewel was made by the Celts with materials such as gold and was decorated with a variety of geometric patterns and its circular shape is characteristic of Celtic art that was made at the time. The necklaces also used to be known as Torcs, that name gave direct reference to the prestigious culture and only the kings or the gods of the time would have the honor of using them. It is kept in reserve and in custody with the other jewellery accessories contained in the treasure, along with the best specimens. The Broighter Necklace is one of the best and most perfectly crafted examples of its time.

Around the six hundred years after Christ, comes the era of Christianity and the birth of new movements and beliefs. Christianity as a religious belief of Ireland was a mixture with the beliefs and cultures of the Celts, Celtic art together with Irish art was the engine of production of the new art with style and was called as insular art, this art was dedicated to the development of various manuscripts that were of illuminated trends, is taken as an example the most popular manuscript called “The Book of Kells” or “El libro de Kells” for its translation into Spanish being the most notable example among all those of that time, due to the mixture with the Celts who distinguished themselves by their geometric style, the insular art kept the same geometric style.



Celtic Jewelry: Tara Brooch

A jewel called the Tara Brooch is particularly admired and impressive because it was made with gold-plated silver and various designs that were intertwined with the mix of culture, during that time the production of the brooches stood out was much in that period. The style goes back to the Celtic jewels, the culture of Ireland was not to be left behind with their jewels, they were dedicated to metallurgy and also created various high level categorical garments. With the cultural mix around those times the garments are still worthy of the impressive representation of the culture, it is dictated that of three hundred and fifty-four separate pieces and that at the time of joining them create an intricate chalice with the name of citizens who were considered with the rank of apostles, give an extra value and prestige to some found pieces of art.


Christianity proved to be a fundamental pillar from the point of view of the 9th century influence. At that time the most common thing that was seen was the elaboration and use of the crosses, an outstanding example of the excellent skill that stands out among the silverware of the great and creative Celtic artists was the symbolic Celtic Cross. The rings on the other hand are already collaborators of more frequent arguments where the professionals, scientists and historians only have to reflect on what was known to each one. On the other hand, there are the credited Celtic knots that are the representation of a familiar symbol and it is then used today to honor the unequal practices of Irish and Celtic jewelry. The Celtic jewelry that is reflected on modern but ancient designs or those appearances are the ones that irradiate and are leaving in the past to the metallurgists.

Consequently, the Celtic culture is mostly developed by traditions transmitted orally, highlighting various stories that happened over time, several authors of Greek origin more than anything else and Romans detailed the Celts of negative character as petulant and turbulent characters not to mention impetuous, because these communities were subject to weapons and especially a llama camorra. This is verified, since during the feasts or banquets that the Celts constituted always carried this weapon, each feast had a level of importance and almost always were manufactured for the commemoration of some event that happened to them in a positive way, for the Celts these topics were delicate because they are important in each of the lives of their nobles. When a battle was won, a feast was prepared to celebrate victory over the enemy.



There were a few occasions when the warriors had the congruence of being at the forefront of many spectators and supporters; and so they could tell their stories and feats just to brag. A very particular fact that took place when it came to shredding the meat was that the strongest fighter of all was investigated, so it was done as a kind of contest or competition of bullies for just that purpose, the winner of the competition was allowed the title of the most courageous warrior of all the present companions but the competition wasn’t about hurting each other’s bodies, as the bragging allusion is that each warrior had to tell details of comics or feats that would leave the others’ as if it were nothing of the other world.

The winner of this verbal crusade, apart from being awarded as the most courageous warrior among all those present, had the right to be rewarded with the carving of the roasted animal, that is to say, the animal was bitten and distributed by amounts and the winner was the only one with the right to do so by himself because he had understandably shown his battle skills. Regularly the winner was left with the best piece of meat that the roasted animal had, that piece was called part of the winner, that part was the smallest area of muscle the animal could have. The Galas of the warriors were determined to be made of heavy material to provide protection from the cold and any external damage they might receive, which was not the case in a full battle with swords.

Celtic Jewelry: Religion

From the point of view of religion, jewellery was a fundamental part of the story because of the symbolism of status and the dogma of the spokesmen or speakers of the time. The religion of the old Celtic peoples more centrally in the years before the occupation by the Romans, is not well established what makes the data that were collected relative to try to remake that piece of history, which do not really throw enough information, because they are jewels, or pottery that were wielded when making solemnities or masses of worship of their gods. But not all the reviews are insufficient as happened to the Welsh, on the other hand there are the famous Druids or also known as priests or agents set apart to belong to the churches to worship their gods repeatedly.

The priests, apart from having the task of governing and worshipping, were also the representatives of educating the youngest of the communities to try to form them as well as possible and to turn them into warriors or to rescue any other position that the community would need at the moment. The existence of monuments used to be insufficient because they were often preliminary to the arrival of the Celts, in western Europe, the monuments called Druidic Stones either by the misplaced type of inquiry or any other reason gave no indication of providing any religion, collectively that was never evident in the role of the ancient Gauls.

The towns of the well-known Gauls were small entities that managed to live and establish themselves in countries known as France and Belgium, on the west line of Switzerland, as well as in Holland and Germany west of the Rhine. This type of population is generally established on the banks of the rivers because the same agglomeration of water provided them with a much better quality of life, ending up by providing them with water, food, and in addition to that they could plant and make blessings using the river waters.