Celtic Jewelry

Meanings of our design names

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Knotwork is an ethnic artistic tradition among the Irish, Scots, Welsh and related nationalities. With it's characteristic over-under weave, the unending strand is a beautiful compliment to the symbol of a ring, which being circular has no beginning or end.

Celtic knotwork symbolism has many messages. It may be a lover's knot, a reminder of life's meandering quest or an emblem of a person's Celtic heritage. The repeated crossings of the knot  can represent the weaving of the physical and spiritual paths and the eternal continuum of life, love and faith.

Josephine’s Knot (RK1 & RK10) The Emperor Napoleon Bonapart employed many Irish soldiers known as The Wild Geese. He is known to have also patronized Irish culture by employing a court harpist and may have commissioned Irish craftsmen also. The empress Josephine was a favorite of seaman and the name of this knot comes from a nautical tradition, although the knot was used a thousand years earlier. The Josephine’s knot is a lover’s knot as it intertwines separate links to make the whole pattern.

St. Andrew's Knot (R21 and other designs) George Bain in his seminal work Celtic Art the Methods of Construction says that the St. Andrew's cross is the underlying angle of most Celtic knotwork. The diagonal cross of St. Andrew depicted in white on blue is the flag of Scotland. The Apostle Andrew was the first Apostle to follow Christ and was brother of St. Peter. Legend has it that before a great battle the king of the Picts prayed for victory and saw a sign in the form of a diagonal cross formed by clouds in the sky. When the battle was won he adopted Andrew as the patron saint of his kingdom and his cross as a national emblem. Pictland joined with the Scots kingdom of Dalriada under King Kenneth MacAlpin about the year 800 and the resulting kingdom of Scotland inherited the legacy of St. Andrew from the Picts.

Ceol Mo Cridhe (RK2) [Kyull mo kree] Gaelic for "Music of my Heart" Hearts are traditional in late medieval Scottish and Irish decorative art. About 1990 Walker and a number of other Celtic designers spontaneously and independently incorporated the heart into the knotwork tradition of Celtic art. The popularity of the Claddah ring (heart, crown and hands) has made this design equally popular with men and women.

Lochalsh (RK3) The area in the West Highlands of Scotland on the mainland near the Isle of Skye. The village Kyle of Lochalsh is the northern ferry port to Skye and site of the new bridge.

This ring with seven continuous knots is named remembering the story of St. Fillian of Lochalsh who, like St. Patrick, drove out the serpents. St. Fillian in the legend captured the King of the serpents in an iron pot baited with honey. He was chased by the the rest of the serpents until he had crossed seven streams, symbolized by the seven knots in the ring.

Ban Tierna (RK7) [Bon tee air nah] Gaelic for "Noble woman" The original pattern for this ring was made for a engagement ring for Kate, now the wife of Steve Walker’s principle bagpipe tutor. A strathspey (traditional Scottish dance tune) called Kate’s Golden Ring was composed by the piper/groom of this match. Walker’s wife Susan also wears this ring.

Galoglach (RK18) [Gal o glass] or [Gal o glach] Foreign military service was for many centuries the career of many adventurous Scots and Irish. The Golaglch were Scots soldiers from the Highlands and Hebrides who fought for the Kings of Ulster. In Gaelic it means "foreign youth".

Dal Riada (RK6 & R26) [Dal ree atta] several other spellings exist. The Irish colony in the West Highlands and Southern Hebrides, mainly in the area that is now Argyll. Gaelic speaking Irish established this Kingdom in the 5th century. Iona became it’s spiritual center during the early Celtic Christian period during the time that the Book of Kells and other great masterpieces of Celtic art were produced. Dal Riada was joined with Pictland in 844 A. D. to make the Kingdom of Alba or Scotland.

Lorn (R19) A region in the West Highlands f Scotland. Four repitions of one knot are separated by four repatitions of another knot, just as the four areas of land in Lorn are separated by four areas of water. Lorn encompasses the Isle of Mull in the west, the Morvern Peninsula to the north, Appin to the east and the Argyll mainland and port of Oban to the south. The sea quarters the land with the Sound of Mull, Loch Linnhe, Loch Etive and the Firth of Lorn.

Kintail (SW 315) Kintail is an area within Lochalsh in the West Highlands. The Five Sisters of Kintail are the prominent five mountain peaks in the area.

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30 Oct 2000