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    Celtic Jewelry is Steeped in History

    Celtic Jewelry is Steeped in History

    All cultures throughout history have placed a significant importance to symbols. Long before the development of modern communications, ancient cultures used symbols as a way to share information. The ancient Celts left behind a long history of symbolism and artistry that endures today.

    The Celts are though to be the earliest Aryan settlers in what is now Europe. It is thought that the Celts were driven westward by succeeding waves of Teutons, Slavs and others. Referred to by the Romans as Gaels, the Celts were once the predominant race in what is not Britain, Ireland, France, northern Italy and parts of Spain. The Celts are thought to have reached the apex of their influence in towards the end of the third century B.C. It was a matter of time before the Celts fell before the great legions of the Roman Empire.

    Relegated to the northern reaches of Britain, including Ireland, the Celts split into two factions, one dominating Ireland and Scotland. The other sect came to predominate what is now Wales and the rest of Britain. Like many pagan cultures, the Celts were earth worshipers and had a particular interest in the sun.

    There was a great belief among the Celts that all things on the earth were interconnected. No where is this belief more apparent than in the intricate knot work that has come to symbolize Celtic life. Often thought to be the work of angels or other celestial beings, the knot work is now a staple in Celtic designs that can be seen in paintings, sculpture and jewelry. Celtic knot work jewelry is very popular and requires a great deal of artistic ability to produce. The delicate braiding can be seen in a variety of rings, pendants and bracelet jewelry.

    The cross shape that dominates the Christian religions is actually a creation of the Celts and predates Christianity at least several centuries. In the center of the cross is often found a circle, thought to represent the unity of nature. Since the sun played an important part in the Celtic belief system, the circle could also be the sun. The four points of the Celtic cross are said to represent the four known natural elements of fire, water, earth and wind. Another explanation is that the four points represent the four corners the earth.

    The five sided star or pentacle, is another dominate symbol in Celt history and has found its way into the design of Celtic jewelry. The pentacle is widely associated with practitioners of Wicca and other earth worshiping sects. The symbol has been given a bad name by many orthodox religions. Many orthodox religions equated paganism and earth worship with devil worship. Even today, there are many mostly Christian sects that claim the pentacle Satanism. The Celts saw the symbol in its true sense, representing the various stages of life, birth, childhood, adult life, aging and death.

    Another popular form seen in Celtic jewelry is the Claddagh. Graced by a heart held by two hands and a crown, the Claddagh is a universal symbol of love, fidelity and devotion.

    Like many other ancient cultures, the Celts placed a great deal of emphasis on animals. This makes given he belief that all life on earth is somehow connected. Very similar to Chinese culture, birds, horses, dogs, fish and serpents all had a special significance. While many people that Saint Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland, the act of driving out the serpent was merely a metaphor. The serpent tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden so the metaphor refers to driving the devil out of a land that St. Patrick was trying to convert to Christianity.