Celtic Rings – Not Just for Celts

St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend and it’s that time of year where many of us seek out a little Irish flavor – be it a pint (or two) of Guinness stout, a savory lamb roast, or just some bright green socks to add a dash of holiday flash. Perhaps the most recognizable hallmark of Celtic tradition, however, may be the knotted motifs, ornately woven and incorporated into much of what we hold synonymous with Ireland. At Green Lake Jewelry Works, our diverse portfolio of Celtic-inspired rings is one area of distinction in what we do, and many are on display in our online Celtic gallery.

Clients seeking a connection to their Irish or Scottish roots often incorporate these traditional patterns into their rings as a signal to their family heritage. But these patterns aren’t reserved for just those with a ‘Mc’ or a ‘Mac’ in their names – because, as it turns out, these patterns hardly belong to just Ireland, Scotland, or Wales.

It’s true: The Irish got what we regard today as Celtic art from their Anglo-Saxon neighbors to the east in Britannia, who were strongly influenced by early Roman colonizer’s motifs imported from the Mediterranean, which were embellished by Germanic tradition along the way, and at last Vikings who added their own mark when they invaded these isles centuries later. So really, it’s an art form that belongs to a myriad of cultural heritage. Even the endless knot motif, which is often confused  for a Celtic pattern, is actually a monastic symbol in Tibet, which owes its inspiration to India. Anyone can lay claim to Celtic ring!

Hand Fabricated Celtic Rings 

“Only Green Lake does this quality of filigree, I haven’t seen any other place do it like we do.”

Here’s what we lay claim to: Green Lake crafts a better Celtic ring than anyone. Assuredly, this is about as bias a statement as it gets, but is completely – and subjectively – true. Or so says Designer and Jeweler, Amber Worley. “Only Green Lake does this quality of filigree, I haven’t seen any other place do it like we do…Haters be trying to cast it, but it doesn’t look as good.” Amber, a gold and platinumsmith who specializes in hand fabrication, is referring to the different methods an artist may use to create a Celtic patterned ring. A cast design, that is where a wax mold is machine or hand cut with pattern and then cast into metal, is one way to capture the ‘look’ of the intricately woven ribbons that are characteristic of traditional Celtic motifs. The other way is to take tiny wire pulled of noble metal and delicately, and literally, weave the intricate pattern. The latter is obviously more labor intensive, and demands masterful craftsmanship, but the result is a more old-world, interlaced piece.

Celtic Rings with Carved Patterns

Carving Celtic patterns into a wax model are no easy feat, either! The process of making a model from a solid block and getting the pattern just right is oftentimes a painstaking task. The result can be particularly ‘manly’ in appearance, by incorporating a raised pattern with burly rails and a sandblasted or antiqued background. Below are some favorites:

Have a Celtic pattern in mind? Let us know, we’d love to make one just for you. Contact us at info@greenlakejewelry.com



About the author:

Eric Robertson is a writer, illustrator and creative lead for Green Lake Jewelry Works.