For many, making Celtic jewelry is an attempt to keep the rich tradition of the Celtic people alive. Celtic jewelry is steeped in a heritage that is filled with nature, love, and the symbol of eternity. Couples often exchange Celtic jewelry as a symbol of their love and commitment.
Celtic Jewelry History
People generally associated the Celts with the Irish and Scottish. The Celts dominated mid and western Europe for a thousand years. The Celts were well-known for the intricacies of their jewelry designs, which were often found on Bible covers and crosses. Their infinity loops were often influenced by Saxon traditions, and animal patterns were frequently used in the designs as well.
A well-known feature of a true piece of Celtic jewelry is the never-ending knot. Although some jewelry pieces didn't feature this evidence of infinity, a true Celtic non-loop design always ends in a spiral or some other zoomorphic element.
Nature was the primary inspiration for Celtic designs, and gold, silver, and bronze were typically used to create the jewelry. Jewelry experts style marvel at the intricate designs and sophisticated knotwork that is associated with Celtic jewelry. These materials continue to be used, and pewter is often a favorite metal as well.
Making Celtic Jewelry
Today, jewelry making workshops feature a variety of jewelry making ideas, including classes on making Celtic jewelry. Jewelry making is a fun and creative hobby for the beginner and the experienced, and the creation of Celtic jewelry is no exception.
If you aren't confident enough to try a project on your own, then check with your local hobby and jewelry stores to see if they offer any classes. You could also purchase a jewelry making book that offers patterns and instructions. For example:
Basics Jewelry Making Steps
Before you begin to make a piece of jewelry, you'll need to gather all of your supplies and tools. Consider the style of jewelry you want before choosing the appropriate wire gauge. The lower the gauge, the thicker the wiring will be. For heavier pieces, you will need a thicker gauge. You can also use the Celtic designs with leather cording for a different look.
The following is a list of basic instructions for you to follow:
- You'll typically need wire, round nose pliers, and chain nose pliers, as well as any embellishments, such as rhinestones or beads. The round nose pliers work best for making loops, while the chain nose pliers work best for angles.
- Create your own template using craft or graphing paper. Decide what size you need, according the type of jewelry you will create. If you are giving the jewelry as a gift, get appropriate measurements before you begin.
- Measure the wire or cording. Allow for a little extra wire, which you can cut later. Once you've measured, carefully cut the wire.
- Bending the wire takes a bit of finesse, but you've gotten accustomed to working with pliers and handling the wire, you'll become much better at making smooth bends, circles, and other shapes. Hold the pliers with your primary hand and the wire in your secondary hand for better handling.
- Work with the tip of the pliers for smaller loops, and use the middle of the pliers for larger loops.
- If you are adding gemstones, rhinestones, beads, or any other embellishment, you'll need to secure them tightly with the wire. You might want to practice with a few scrap wire pieces first before beginning your actual project. It's important to get the wire tight, while at the same time ensuring a smooth wire around the object.
- If you want to copy a true Celtic piece of jewelry, keep in mind that you shouldn't leave any loose ends. If you aren't making an infinite loop, twist the ends into hooks or add clasps.
Making Celtic jewelry is a wonderful hobby that can bring much joy to you and others in your life. Celtic jewelry is an heirloom that could be treasured for generations to follow. Now that you're ready to embark on your jewelry making adventure, have fun!