While the Celts were well known for their fighting skills, historians have also proved their fondness for jewelry. Celtic artisans have created exquisite jewelry made of metal and adorned with meaningful Celtic symbols since 2000 BC.
Celts are believed to have created various pieces of jewelry as a way to express their creativity. Today, Celtic jewelry is still popular and worn by people all over the world.
Many different types of Celtic jewelry are available today, and you can shop now!
The Celts used a variety of materials when crafting their jewelry pieces. For the base of their jewelry, the Celts primarily used tin, bronze, gold, and silver.
When it comes to decorations, the Celts utilized coral, enamel, and colored glass.
Arguably one of the most distinct pieces of jewelry worn by the Celts is the metal torc. Also known as a traditional Celtic necklace, the torc is a type of neck ring. These neck bands were made from twisted metal of either copper, silver, bronze, gold, or an alloy of gold and silver.
A torc can range from simple to intricate. While some are more basic, simply iron rings that are not decorated, others are much more elaborate. For example, a torc might be twisted gold rings with cast and decorated terminals at either end.
Torcs were likely worn by all levels of Celtic society but were most popular with nobles, women, and warriors as a part of battle dress. The torc symbolized power and served as a token of a person’s status.
Brooches were a popular piece of Celtic jewelry, having been found in burial sites across Europe. They were worn by both men and women.
Brooches served multiple purposes – not only were they decorative pieces of jewelry worn on cloaks, but they could also be used to fasten cloaks on one or both shoulders. Using a safety-pin mechanism, brooches are able to be dated based on the evolution of their design.
The subjects used in brooch designs were varied, but animals were quite popular. Some featured whole animals, while others only showcased their heads. Brooches were made in gold, silver, iron, and bronze.
Bracelets, Anklets, Armlets, Rings, & Earrings
Bracelets were also a popular jewelry item amongst the Celts and were typically worn with one on each wrist.
Similar to bracelets, anklets were quite popular with the Celts as well and also worn with one on each ankle.
Armlets, however, served as an extension of bracelets. Tending to be cast in bronze and decorated with colored glass or enamel, armlets have only ever been found in Scotland.
Earrings were a common piece of jewelry worn by the Celts, but the ancient Celts didn’t start wearing rings until they were influenced by Rome.
Pendants & Hair Accessories
Pendants were used by the Celts as protective symbols. They often depicted symbols such as the three-pointed triskele, the tree of life, the Celtic knot, and the Celtic cross.
Other elements incorporated into pendant designs by the Celts include the Scottish thistle, Irish shamrock, and animals and plants.
Celts were also quite fond of utilizing pieces of jewelry as hair accessories. The most common piece of jewelry worn in the hair were hollow golden balls worn at the end of braids.
Other hair accessories like hairpins and combs were typically made of bone or horn. Celts of a higher class would wear tiaras or circlets to showcase their status.