Since ancient times, Irish metal and goldsmiths have created stunning Irish jewelry that is now recognized the world over as truly magnificent works of art. Their skills and attention to detail yielded treasures that never cease to amaze.
The use of filigree in Irish jewelry of that time is generally recognized as the finest that the world has to offer. The Tara brooch is one such example. The sheer number of intricate designs where one metal thread can be traced through the various Celtic knots and weaves is almost incredible. In most cases, the beginning and end of the design cannot be found as the ends are cleverly hidden in the tails or heads of a Celtic serpent, or the like.
The Ardagh Chalice is another beautiful example of the capabilities of Irish goldsmiths and metal workers. It is believed to be the finest piece of 8th century metalwork to ever be discovered. In addition to decorative and functional clothing accessories and religious artifacts, torcs were also a popular specialty to early Celtic goldsmiths. In more recent times, the Claddagh ring has become the most popular example of fine Irish jewelry, and is known the world over.
The materials for Irish jewelry have included copper, bronze, silver, and especially gold. Today, most Celtic jewelry is made from either silver or gold, with gold generally being preferred due to its nonreactive properties with air and everyday chemicals. Gold in Ireland enjoys a long history, as evidenced by the large number of artifacts that have been unearthed both in Ireland and across mainland Europe.
Ireland has a long history of fine jewelry-making, perhaps unrivaled given the limited tools to work with at the time. That fine tradition remains today with some stunningly beautiful pieces of jewelry in our Celtic collection.