The Celtic culture reached Ireland at around 500 BC and the culture and the style of artwork that followed is called La Tene’ after an area of Switzerland where artifacts reflecting the La Tene’ style were first found. The style is defined by curves and spirals and human figures are rarely seen. The Celtic pieces of jewelry that are foundation of this style are:
Claddaghs are expression s of love and friendship. The origin is almost certainly from the Irish fishing village of Claddagh near Galway. Legend says that in the 16th century a love torn jeweler named Richard Joyce, from Galway was kidnapped by pirates. Thinking of the woman he was in love with, he designed a ring to express how he felt. It consisted of a heart to express his love, a crown for his loyalty, and hands for their friendship. He returned to her after 5 years and learned that she was not married, so he presented the ring to her and the Claddagh has been presented as a wedding ring ever since. Claddaghs are worn on the left hand facing inward if your heart is spoken for. If you are not in a relationship you wear the ring on the right hand facing outward.
Celtic crosses are generally thought of in religious terms, but the Celtic cross is actually much older than Christianity. They are equal-armed crosses enclosed by a circle. The cross can symbolize the four corners of the earth or the four elements. The circle is a symbol of eternity and the path of the sun in the sky. When Christianity was introduced, it became common to see the cross atop a matching pedestal.
Pentacles consist of a five-point star enclosed within a circle. Pentacles can be interpreted as representing the five stages of life: birth, youth, adulthood, old age, and death.
Celtic jewelry is still popular not only in Ireland today, but all over the world. It is one of the most requested styles currently.