Celtic Pendant Designs and History

With the level of skillset and the incorporation of technology we purpose into all our undertakings, the world of jewelry, and especially that of the fashion industry, has continued to astound us with their almost identical copies of budget-breaking designer pieces. In the same breath, Celtic pendants in the new age have been crafted in their numbers as more people are drawn to their culture. 

Celtic Pendant Meaning

Unlike the torque that held significantly strong meaning, the pendants were more readily available and generally worn or carried along for their special spiritual or mystical potencies.

Each symbol of the Celtic tribe contains within it some strong belief or association to or with events, things, or animals that shaped the lives of the Celts.

Celtic Pendant Designs

There were different types of signature Celtic jewelry designs and they all had a special meaning behind their creation.

·     Claddagh Ring

Depicting two hands holding a crowned heart up, the Claddagh is a great symbol of love, friendship, faithfulness. Not surprisingly, they have been used as wedding bands on several occasions.

·     Celtic Triskele

The triskele stands for the sea, sky, and land and helps you keep in mind this ever-present relationship.

·     Four-leaf clovers 

You will find them handing as pendants, as ring crowns, and as earrings. They represent good luck and success and remind you to keep your faith, hope, and love.

·     Wild Irish Rose 

Picked to symbolize the tenacity and beauty of women, the Irish Rose fits perfectly as it thrives in very harsh conditions.

·     Celtic Owl

A representation of hidden knowledge and revelation of the truths. The owl was believed to be a guide into the dark world as it could see clearly in the dark and it is a swift hunter. Wearing this symbol could help you avoid or escape the tricks placed in your way by those who wish you evil.

·        Celtic Knotwork

This product of the insular style adopted by the Celts in Ireland and Britain symbolized an endless knot with no ending or beginning. 

  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.

Celtic Pendant History

Traditional Celtic pendants featured the popular and expected symbols that meant the world to their beliefs. Jewelry featured spiral, circular, diagonal, and parallel lines that were blended into the entire mold of the pendant.

As it was the Iron Age, the Celt’s had mastered the art of working metal and they skillfully carved out silver, gold, and bronze pendants that were in the shape of one symbol or another. 

Celtics 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.

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 Book of Kells, some scholars believe, 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.

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.

However, even with the availability of other materials, they stuck to using gold, silver, or white bronze to make their jewelry. Iron was more used to make household and war accessories.

Ancient Gaelic Jewelry

Gaelic was a subject language of the Celtic tribes. Their specific style of jewelry making was called Insular and it had such a great impact that when the Christians came through the nation, they adopted some of their artistic expressions and blended them in with Christian symbols and art.

The common theme of most artistic designs in and around the Celtic age centered around people and nature. The Celtic designs, however, are missing significantly the factor of humans or things. They did, however, incorporate never seen before figures of snakes and birds.

The level of craftsmanship when it came to the geometric lines and spirals was like none witnessed before, and considering their limited access to resources and technology, their attention to detail is nothing short of mind-blowing.

The entire piece was decked with complex and never-ending patterns that so skillfully treaded the curve with acute precision.

Ancient Records

The Book of Kells is found to be the best source of knowledge in all matter’s Celtic symbols and designs. It rests in a library in Dublin, Ireland after they claimed ownership of it based on its resonance with their culture.

With detailed hand-drawn pictures clearly depicting the intricate Celtic insular designs, it contains the Latin version of the Gospel of the New Testament.

Every day at Trinity College, a different page of the book is on display.  


Celtic pendants encompassed all possible symbols of significance to their culture. Their variety in design, symbol, meaning, and material make them a perfect gift for anyone with an appreciation for intricately designed jewelry. 


Celtic Pendant
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