Celtic Bracelet Meaning And History

Bracelets have long been an iconic fashion statement that is simple yet powerful enough to make a statement even while dressed in denim and a t-shirt. Built to be a little bulkier than the dainty bangle, they almost always feature beautiful designs. Some of these designs of the Celtic bracelet have seeped into the present day.

Featuring aspects of several cultures all rolled into one, the Celtic bracelet was a thing of beauty and class. It was something worthy of desire for both the men and women of the Celtic era. They were mostly made of silver, gold, or white bronze.

Their designs were distinctively telling of times before the Christian adoption of beliefs. The Christian inspired pieces were interlaced and were made of all types of mixed materials.

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The Celtic designs had spirals, circles, zigzag, parallel lines and were never interlocked like the Christian versions. They were what Celtics originally used before the infiltration of the Christian influence.

Celtic Bracelet Meaning

Celtic nobility and royalty were in the rampant habit of wearing bracelets of all types and kinds. They wore them on their wrists, forearms, and their ankles.

Even as they wore them for decorative purposes, the rich also wore multiple of them in attendance of royal balls or parties. They would then generously gift these extras to entertainers who they felt did a great job.

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Popular bracelet designs and their meaning

  1. Celtic Mother Knot represented a trinity relationship between mother, child, and faith.
  2. Celtic Sister Knot features a heart knot that symbolizes the great love between sisters, girlfriends, cousins that is unbreakable. It also spots the triple spiral which represents the three stages of a woman which are; maid, mother, and wise woman.
  3. Celtic Family Knot is woven into a strong and complicated knot with each weave representing a family member. This knot is eternally strong just like the love we have with family.
  4. Celtic Eternity Knot symbolized by asymmetrical knot tying fixedly with no visible ends or tips to the knot. This is where the phrase “tying the knot” originated from as couples’ hands were bound together at the wedding to represent their eternal and unbreakable love.
  5. Celtic Stag was a symbol of great importance to the society as they believed it was a communication from the Divine and that your good fortunes were on the way.

Scottish Celtic Jewelry History

Around 1000 B.C. was the beginning of the Iron Age over the Celtic nation. Most artifacts from this time were found in a horde at an archeological site discovered after a lake’s water levels dropped.

The findings revealed a ton of jewelry with beautiful geometrical designs boasting of diagonal lines and spirals all along the curve or twist of the interlaced metal. Heads of unsightly creatures decked the tips of these torques and had their “bodies” woven together with incredible mastery.

Scottish were deservedly admired for their intricate designs that dotted every inch of these gorgeous and regal metal pieces. Though we do have modern designs that claim to be replicas of the original, the Celtic level of skill and precision remains unmatched till date.

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This Celtic style was known as Insular and it picked around the 4th and 5th centuries. It is evident in the Christian artwork like in stained glass windows of churches, old church walls, and ancient tombstones. The debate is still ongoing about who popularized the Insular style of metalwork. 

Some scholars believe that the Book of Kells answers this question outrightly. This ancient manuscript made of calfskin contains in it the Latin version of the four New Testament gospels and has clear and detailed patterns that we presently attribute as being Celtic.

Contrary to previous writing that made no difference in size in their notes, the Book of Kells made an obvious distinction between small and big letters. It is instrumental and very significant to the present and future as the oldest reference available of the symbols and patterns that represented the Celts.

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The Iron Age was the birth era of the Celtic culture. Though the Christians had adopted a contraption of their shapes and patterns of decoration, they were never really the Celtic decorations that were found on jewelry.

Working with steel and iron opened up possibilities and increased ways or working in the Celt’s sense of representation. Having to work the metal and forge designs into it as opposed to the much easier casting, gave rise to a variety of items, ornaments, and weapons.

The Torque

This is the Celtics’ most iconic creations in terms of jewelry in the Iron Age. This is the true original Celtic necklace that was worn across the society. With some plain and heavy designs for the men and twisted, light-weight, and artistic pieces for the women. Male children of nobility wore their torc and it is suggested that men handed it down their lineage.

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Snettisham Great torq which was made of electrum metal, a natural alloy of gold and silver, and was found in 1950 in Norfolk. It was made of eight uniquely twisted strands that had been wound together and turned into a finely decorated tip.

Brooches and Bracelets

These were also popular in the Celtic society. Bracelets were worn on the ankles and wrists all the same and armlets were unique to the Scottish Celtic. They took the shape of a bracelet but were mostly made of bronze with colored gems or enamels embedded in them.  

Brooches were particularly household and personal items because of their fastening functionality. Worn on one or both shoulders, these beautiful ornaments of old were made of silver, gold, iron, or bronze. To easily fasten your garb, they had been designed into a safety-pin.

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Conclusion

While it is evident that the Celtic bracelets were the reserve of the well-to-do in the society, they were still a very much sought-after piece of jewelry and a fashion and status statement-maker. While in the Celtic land it was common for men to wear them on their wrists, arms, and calf, bracelets in the modern age are still largely a woman affair. However, things are rapidly changing.

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Celtic Jewelry