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Spring has me thinking of the Emerald Isle, Saint Patrick’s Day, and all things Irish. So I thought a post on Celtic knots might be interesting. And of course, we’ll take a look at some pretty Celtic jewelry!
The beginning of Celtic love knots
You’d think that Celtic love knots started with the Celtic people! But you’d be wrong! Because the design actually goes farther back than that. All the way back to the Byzantine Empire (so around 330 A.D.) where they were found in books and architecture. And all the way back to the Roman Empire, where they were found in floor mosaics. You can also see Celtic knots in Ethiopian, Islamic, and Russian art. So the motif has been around for a couple thousand years!
But nothing was really written down about Celtic knots until the Celts and Christians started to interact, around 500. This is when you start to see Celtic knots in early Christian artifacts, like bibles, crosses, and of course jewelry.
Pride in Heritage
Plenty of Americans with Irish, Welsh, or Scottish ancestry like to wear Celtic jewelry. For so many people, it shows pride in their heritage. But never fear if you’re not Irish! Like I said in my post on Irish Claddagh rings, anyone can wear Celtic jewelry – you don’t have to be any kind of ancestry at all. For me, and non-Irish person that I am, I love the geometry of the knots. It seems organic and natural, but also very neat and organized. It has a completely different vibe than Art Deco jewelry, which I also like because of the geometry.
If you’re so inclined, there are plenty of engagement rings, wedding rings, and eternity bands with Celtic knots.
Popular Celtic Knot Designs
I’ll be honest and say I hadn’t really noticed the subtle differences between all the Celtic knots. But there are different, unique designs and they all have have their own meaning.
The most popular design is probably the one most people are familiar with. It’s also called the Lover’s Knot, or the Triquetra. There’s plenty of meaning in three point design, with Christians believing it represents the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit.
The Celtic Spiral is supposedly one of the oldest of all the Celtic designs. I’ve read that it represents the three forces of nature – water, fire, and earth. Cool. Also, eternal life. And spirit and unity. Take your pick.
Celtic Love Knot
This design is different from the Lover’s Knot, which I talked about earlier. The Love Knot looks like two interlocking hearts and represents the love between two people. The Celts gave each other these knots like how we exchange rings now. I think this one might be my favorite…..
Created by sailors to remember their loved ones during their long journeys, this design is symbolic of friendship, affection, harmony and love. And even though it’s one of the simplest knots to tie, it’s also one of the strongest.
Dara comes from the Irish word “doire,” which means “oak tree.” The knot is meant to symbolize personal and spiritual strength, like the roots of the oak tree. I’ve also read it represents power, destiny, wisdom, strength, endurance, and leadership. All good things!
What’s distinctive about this knot is the four corners. They always have to be included. This knot is an ancient symbol of protection. People used it in battle or to ward off evil spirits. The design is meant to appear like an unbreakable barrier.
This cross is meaningful to both the Pagan religion and the Christian church. The Pagans believe it represents the four directions, and the elements, where divine energies meet. And for Christians, the cross is where Jesus died.
Your Celtic jewelry
I realized after writing this post that several of my earrings had specific knot patterns. What about you? Do you have any Celtic jewelry?