Celtic jewelry is often rich in meaning and tradition. This is a short guide to some of the cultural terms used on our site in order to highlight the inspiration behind some of our jewelry designs. We promise to add to this collection of terms over time. Please Contact Us if there any topics you would like us to add to this collection.
The Anna Livia
The Anna Livia is another name for the River Liffey, the river that flows through Ireland's capital city - Dublin. This great, historic river has been the scene for merchants, invaders and High Kings throughout the ages.
The Ardagh Chalice
The Ardagh Chalice was discovered in1868 by two young boys digging for potatoes. On display in the National Museum of Ireland, it is recognized as one of the worlds’ finest representations of Celtic art and metalwork. It’s intricate knot work and design is the inspiration behind much of the jewelry represented on our website.
A birthstone is a precious stone that represents ones month of birth, and have traditionally been gifted to people in the form of jewelry. The following is a list of birthstones that Celtic Promise jewelry features for each month:
JANUARY - Garnet | Deep Red | Constancy
FEBRUARY - Amethyst | Purple | Sincerity
MARCH - Aquamarine | Light Turquoise | Courage
APRIL - Cubic Zirconia (CZ) | Clear | Innocence
MAY - Emerald | Green | Love & Success
JUNE - Alexandrite | Purply-green | Health & Longevity
JULY - Ruby | Deep Pink | Contentment
AUGUST - Peridot | Pale Green | Married Happiness
SEPTEMBER - Sapphire | Blue | Clear Thinking
OCTOBER - Pink Tourmaline | Light Pink | Hope
NOVEMBER - Yellow Topaz | Yellow | Fidelity
DECEMBER - Blue Topaz | Blue | Prosperity
The Book of Kells
Housed in ‘Trinity College’ in Dublin, The Book of Kells is recognized as Ireland’s greatest treasure, and the finest representation of Celtic artwork in the world today. Dating back over 1200 years, the manuscripts that depict the Bible and the four Gospels, were drawn and painted by Irish Monks. Its’ delicate Celtic artwork and design has been the inspiration for the many Artisans and Master Jewelers of Ireland today.
The Celts were a diverse group of ancient tribal societies that were scattered throughout Europe and date back as far as 800BC. While the earliest known Celts hail from Central Europe the most prominent Celtic societies today are in Ireland, the British Isles, and parts of Northern France and Spain. The ancient Celts were famed for their rich cultures and traditions, and are celebrated in the modern day with Celtic language, art, music, and of course … beautiful jewelry!
A Celtic Cross is a symbol that features a cross with a ring around it's intersection. Legend has it that St Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, used this design to link the Christian symbol of the cross with the pagan sun's life giving properties. There are many, beautiful Celtic Crosses still scattered around Celtic lands. Most are richly and masterfully engraved with Christian symbolism.
Celtic Knots are a variety of intricate knot patterns that have been used in Celtic artwork for centuries. The knots that were used for ornamentation in Christian monuments and manuscripts are best known for their absence of a beginning or ending to their design – and represent the eternity of life.
The ‘Claddagh’, named after its Irish creators town of birth, is one of the worlds most iconic symbols of love and unity. The basic structure of the design is a heart held by two hands, and capped with a crown. The heart represents love, the hands friendship, and the crown symbolizes loyalty for its wearer. There are three traditional ways in which a Claddagh Ring is worn to symbolize the wearer's relationship status:
SINGLE - The ring is worn on the right ring finger with the heart pointing outwards.
ROMANTICALLY INVOLVED - On the same finger with the ring pointing towards the heart.
MARRIED OR ENGAGED - The ring is worn on the left hand wedding ring finger.
Ogham (pronounced like the English word “Home” – less the ‘H’) is an early medieval alphabet that was used primarily to write the Old Irish language. Some estimate the alphabet to date back as early as the 1st Century BC. The script takes the form of simple lines and is seen on hundreds of surviving stone inscriptions dotted around the Irish and British countrysides. Ogham is usually carved vertically, with letters read from bottom to top.
The Shamrock is the national symbol of Ireland. It was used by St Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as one union, when bringing Christianity to Ireland. While not to be confused with the four-leaf clover, the shamrock is an Irish symbol of luck Internationally. Its structure is represented in many forms and is worn and celebrated by the Irish around the world as a mark of their Irish heritage.
Standing Stones are large ancient stones placed vertically in the ground. They are scattered around Celtic lands throughout Europe but are particularly prevalent in Ireland and the UK. Their former use is unknown but many believe them to be the former centers of ancient Celtic townships, and possibly the site of ancient religious ceremonies.
A Torc is a large circular band of metal jewelry typically made of strands of metal twisted together. The great majority are open-ended at the front. While usually worn around the neck, the torc has been adapted to create other pieces of jewelry such as bracelets and earrings.
The Trinity Knot is probably the most iconic of the Celtic Knots. An eternal knot featuring three corners, it is used to symbolise all things three-fold. Popular meanings include the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and the relationship of three including Man, Woman and Child as well as Grandmother, Mother, Grand-daughter. Simple and iconic, this design features in many of our Celtic Promise designs.