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Graduation Time is Near

 Seems like there is someone graduating each year from high school or college and I used to struggle with gift ideas. Several years ago I became acquainted with a line of Celtic jewelry carried by Terry at The Celtic Ranch. It is rich looking, well designed and priced within my budget. It is also nice because you can buy a gift that will always remind the recipient of you. The men’s jewelry looks masculine and is heavy enough to make you feel confident it will standup to everyday wear.

The women’s jewelry is just plain beautiful. Who is this designer and what is the name of his jewelry? It is Keith Jack.

The C. R. carries several of Keith’s award winning designs and you can also look at their stock on the internet at http://www.celticranch.com. Whether you purchase one of these pieces of beautiful jewelry for yourself or as a gift, you will not be disappointed. Check them out online but better yet, stop by and feel the weight and see the quality up close.

Saol fada agus breac-shláinte chugat.

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Celtic Crosses

celtic-899427_960_720Celtic Crosses are one of the more ubiquitous symbols in Ireland and throughout Irish

Mullingar Pewter Celtic Cross

Mullingar Pewter Celtic Cross

history. Legend has it that St. Patrick introduced the cross to Ireland, combining the traditional cross with the nimbus, the Pagan symbol of the sun to help the converts understand the importance of the cross. Others believe that the Celtic cross predates Christianity. Either way, it’s undoubtedly Celtic.

Celtic Christians erected high crosses, large, intricate stone crosses in churchyards and cemeteries throughout Ireland, Britain, and

ShanOre Sterling Silver Emerald and Diamond Celtic Cross

ShanOre Sterling Silver Emerald and Diamond Celtic Cross

mainland Europe, but the Protestant Reformation in Britain and Europe led to the removal and destruction of most of the ancient stone crosses.

Keith Jack Oxidized Sterling Silver and Gold Cross

Keith Jack Oxidized Sterling Silver and Gold Cross

In the 1800’s, Ireland underwent a Celtic Revival, and with the new sense Celtic pride, preservation of historic landmarks, and Celtic crosses became a priority. New crosses were built as the ancient symbols regained popularity, and today it is a symbol of Celtic Identity, as well as a sacred symbol.

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Fado Celtic Cross

Fado Celtic Cross

The tradition of Celtic crosses lives on today in the form of tattoos, garden statuary, and jewelry. Did I mention jewelry? We have some of the finest Celtic crosses made in Ireland, here at the Celtic Ranch. With names like Keith Jack, ShanOre, Fado, and Mullingar, you won’t find better quality, fine Irish silver, gold, platinum, and pewter Celtic crosses anywhere else.


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The Tree of Life

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Tree of Life Cluster Pendant with green accents

Tree of Life Cluster Pendant with green accents

The tree of life is such an evocative symbol that is neither masculine nor feminine. It is revered by all faiths and seems to tug at the spirit, reminding us that we’re connected to the earth, to the sky, and to all mankind. It’s a primitive symbol that can be found in every culture, on almost every continent.

Maybe it’s because it’s such a simple symbol, one of the first things most children draw, something that we all recognize and connect

An 1847 depiction of the Norse Yggdrasil as described in the Icelandic Prose Edda by Oluf Oulfsen Bagge

An 1847 depiction of the Norse Yggdrasil as described in the Icelandic Prose Edda by Oluf Oulfsen Bagge

with, or maybe it’s because trees are life sustaining, creating the very oxygen we breathe and the fruit that we enjoy. Perhaps it harkens back to our primate nature that we found comfort in the security of trees, where we were safe from saber tooth tigers. Whatever it is, the tree of life speaks to us.

The tree of life is a sacred symbol in most of the world’s religions. Zoroastrians, Jews,Gilded tree of life doors in Chotyniec Poland Christians, Muslims, Bahai’s, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Mormons, Pagans, Wiccans, and many Native American tribes all have a tree of life of some sort in their traditions.

The Celtic Tree of Life or Crann Bethadh in Gaelic is one of the more prominent ancient Druid symbols that found it’s way into modern iconography. The Druids believed that the tree of life was a link between heaven and earth, the

Keith Jack Sterling Silver and 18k gold Tree of Life pendant

Keith Jack Sterling Silver and 18k gold Tree of Life pendant

dead and the living. The ancient Celts worshiped trees and recognized that trees provided shelter, food, firewood, warmth, etc. In Celtic culture, it was forbidden to clear an entire area of trees moon-165487__180and they would always leave one sacred tree standing in the center of their communities. The Celts believed that trees were their ancestors and the most sacred tree of all, the oak, called “daur” (root word of door) was believed to be the Axis Mundi or center of the earth. The word Druid literally means “Oak Seeing” or “Oak Knower” .

 

Whatever your heritage, religion, politics, race or gender may be, we are all united by the tree of life. When you wear a tree of life necklace, you carry a link to all of human history, to life, death, the earth and sky next to your heart. It’s comforting. It’s home.

 


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Claddagh, a Ring, a City, a Legend.

Shanore Claddagh Ring with 10K Gold Heart

ShanOre Claddagh Ring with 10K Gold Heart

Few symbols are recognizable, more quintessentially Irish than the Claddagh. The hands clasping a crowned heart, symbolize love (the heart), loyalty (the crown), and friendship (the outstretched hands).

The Claddagh originates in the fishing village of Claddagh, which is now in the center of Galway, but was once just outside of the city walls.

According to Wikipedia: There are many legends about the origins of the ring, particularly concerning Richard Joyce, a silversmith from Galway circa 1700, who is said to have invented the Claddagh design as we know it.[3][4] Legend has it that Joyce was captured and enslaved by Algerian Corsairs around 1675

ShanOre Mens Claddagh Ring

ShanOre Men’s Claddagh Ring

while on a passage to the West Indies; he was sold into slavery to a Moorish goldsmith who taught him the craft.[11] King William III sent an ambassador to Algeria to demand the release of any and all British subjects who were enslaved in that country, which at the time would have included Richard Joyce. After fourteen years, Joyce was released and returned to Galway and brought along with him the ring he had fashioned while in captivity: what we’ve come to know as the Claddagh. He gave the ring to his sweetheart, married, and became a goldsmith with “considerable success”.[15] His initials are in one of the earliest surviving Claddagh rings[16][6] but there are three other rings also made around that time, bearing the mark of goldsmith Thomas Meade.[6]

ShanOre Birthstone Claddagh Ring makes an excellent Birthday gift

ShanOre Birthstone Claddagh Rings make an excellent Birthday gift

Today, Claddagh Rings are worn throughout the world by the Irish

Keith Jack Claddagh Diamond Ring

Keith Jack Claddagh Diamond Ring

and people of Irish decent and can have many meanings. It’s a common practice for parents to give their daughters Claddagh rings as birthday or first communion gifts, and friends or sisters sometimes exchange Claddaghs as a token of eternal friendship and loyalty.  Of course, Claddaghs are also often worn as engagement rings or wedding bands and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more fitting token of true love.

Knowing how to properly wear a Claddagh can get confusing and you might hear mixed information on which finger you should wear the ring. Let us help clear things up with these simple, Claddagh traditions.

-Worn on the right hand, with the heart facing out, indicates that the wearer is single.

-Worn on the right hand, with the heart facing in, the wearer’s heart is taken.

-Worn on the left hand, with the heart facing out, indicates that the wearer in engaged.

-Worn on the left hand, with the heart facing in, shows that the wearer is married.

 


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Highland Romance: or why Outlander Makes us Swoon

Scotland is just plain romantic. The churches, the mountains, the castles, and of course…MEN IN KILTS (swoon). This is probably why Diana Gabaldon chose to set her epic love story, Outlander, in Scotland.

The story, for those not in the know, centers around Claire, an army nurse during World War 2 who travels back in time to the 18th Century where she meets James Fraser, a Scottish fugitive from the British army.

Time travel, strong women, MEN IN KILTS. It doesn’t get much more romantic. The series

Outlander tie

Wool tartan tie

has been made into a TV series for the Starz network, and as such has made us all fall in love.

The costumes and scenery are big stars in the series, and there has been international clamor for clothing and accessories, so Outlander fans can keep a piece of their favorite romance with them, and perhaps feel a little like a Claire or Jamie themselves.

Outlander shawl

Be a Claire!

Outlander pendant

Hamilton and Young Standing stone pendant

Ingles Buchen, a renowned maker of plaids in Scotland, has created and exclusive licensed line of  beautiful wool fabrics  of both the Fraser and Mackenzie tartans, as well as a special Outlander tartan. These have been made into hats, shawls, ties, bow ties, scarves, and stoles which are now available in select stores.

To complement the plaids, there are pieces of jewelry commemorating special parts of the books, for instance there is a beautiful thistle and knot ring like the one Jamie gave to Claire, pieces with the Fraser crest and motto, and delicate pendants to add to your collection.

These pieces are available exclusively at The Celtic Ranch, and can be purchased online or in store.

Please go to our website to see our full collection of Outlander pieces, they make an unusual and romantic gift for your loved one, or even yourself!

Outlander collection

 


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Trinity knot: Sacred Symbol

The trinity knot is one of the most used and recognized symbols in Irish and Celtic jewelry, art, and decorations of all kinds. Why is it featured so prominently? Ancient Celts believed that there were three stages of life, three elements, three domains; earth, sea and sky, past, present and future. The trinity knot is an unending knot, connected with no break, which also symbolizes the unending connection we have with everything.The importance of three is not only prevalent in Irish and Celtic lore but also in most ancient and modern cultures, as well as mathematics.

trinity

Anu sterling silver and marcasite trinity knot pendant

The trinity knot is also associated in modern Christianity to symbolize the Holy Trinity, of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The number three is used 467 times in the Bible, notably when Jesus prayed three times in the Garden at Gethsemane, the amount of time Jesus was dead prior to his resurrection (three days), and the three hours of darkness that covered the land while Jesus suffered on the cross. For more information on the Biblical importance of the number three visit biblestudy.org.

In China, the lucky number three, or trinity,  is associated with mystical abilities and powerful creativity. It also has origins in Confucianism and Taoism, it stands for Heaven, Earth, and Human Being, and Tao actually means amiableness among the above three elements. To read an article about this go to travelchinaguide.com

In Hinduism, the trinity, or three, is also a spiritual number. It is representative of the order of the universe by the working together of the trinity of gods Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the preserver, and Siva the destroyer. It is believed that in working together these three elements of god bring about Rtam, the rhythm of the universe. Find out more on hinduwebsite.com

Pythagoras, Greek mathematician, developed many theories around the number three. His theories on triangles are taught today. Trinity, triangle…storyofmathematics.com

The number three figures prominently in so many natural phenomena that we don’t have space to list them here. The trinity is a spiritual and holy symbol, loved at once for its balance and mathematical perfection, as well as for its endless form.

Trinity

Trinity knot ring by ShanOre Celtic Jewelry

 


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Irish Time

We all know someone who is perpetually late. The person who shows up 2 hours to their birthday party, then tells you they need a minute to get ready. A minute which takes an hour. The person who unapologetically starts their dinner party preparations twenty minutes after the guests arrive.  These people are running on what we here at the Ranch like to call “Irish Time”.

Irish time is more than mere lateness. Late is for the ordinary. The Irish have turned a lack of punctuality into an art form. You can’t simply be late, you must be extremely,

Mustache pocket watch

Mustache pocket watch

unapologetically, unexplainedly late.

Like any great art, Irish lateness takes on many different forms, depending on circumstance and the artist executing it. We’ve put together a little tutorial so you too can operate on Irish time.

Dinnertime-dinnertime lateness must be carefully executed so that your companions will not abandon your plans, but will continue to wait for your arrival. This is best done around one hour or sometimes two, depending on whether you are the person who made the plans. If you are, you can safely broach the two hour mark with a minimum of concern. The perfectly crafted and executed late arrival will leave your group somewhere between “Ah, yes, I’ll have another pint” and “Dear God, I’m going to chew my own arm off if I don’t get some food in me”.

Parties-okay, a good party (craic) is not to be missed, in order to fully enjoy a party, your lateness must be calculated so that you don’t miss anyone getting completely pissed (drunk, not angry) and performing “Danny Boy” at a high volume in a rich falsetto (to be posted on Youtube), and that you don’t arrive so early that you’re the one getting completely pissed singing “Danny Boy” in a rich falsetto (to be posted on Youtube). We recommend no more than two hours, but no less than forty-five minutes.

Business meetings-typically, even the Irish like to be punctual when doing business, but a correctly formulated plan can make tardiness an asset to any meeting. Ideally you want to achieve a balance with your tardiness between allowing your colleague to believe they are the most important meeting of your day while simultaneously letting them know how lucky they are you showed up at all because you are very busy and in demand. A rough estimate is between a half hour and three hours depending on whether or not there is a bar where you’re planning to meet.

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on Irish time

, and will take these tips into consideration the next time you’re planning to be tardy.

 


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What is a Celt?

According to Google, a Celt is:
kelt,selt/
noun
plural noun: Celts
a member of a group of peoples inhabiting much of Europe and Asia Minor in pre-Roman times. Their culture developed in the late Bronze Age around the upper Danube, and reached its height in the La Tène culture (5th to 1st centuries BC) before being overrun by the Romans and various Germanic peoples.
a native of any of the modern nations or regions in which Celtic languages are (or were until recently) spoken; a person of Irish, Highland Scottish, Manx, Welsh, or Cornish descent.

from Latin Celtae (plural), from Greek Keltoi ; in later use from French Celte ‘Breton’ (taken as representing the ancient Gauls).
celt
selt/
noun

ARCHAEOLOGY
plural noun: celts
a prehistoric stone or metal implement with a beveled cutting edge, probably used as a tool or weapon.

So it’s a person or a cutting tool. Sometimes both (heehee). Commonly the term Celt is used to describe persons of Irish, Scottish, Cornish or Welsh descent, although there are seven Celtic Nations (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Galicia/Spain, the Isle of Man, and Brittany/Western France).

Mostly, the ancient Celts are a mystery. They had no written history, although they had a written alphabet based on trees, called Ogham which can be seen on on monuments around Ireland, Scotland, and Wales among other Celtic countries.

Their religion is also a mystery, there are neolithic monuments throughout Celtic countries, thought to be tombs. One of the most famous of these is Newgrange in the Boyne Valley of Ireland. Interestingly, during Winter Solstice, the light comes through a passage inside the monument and lights up the back. This particular monument pre-dates

Boru Wood Quay warrior inspired pendant.

Boru Wood Quay warrior inspired pendant.

Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids.

Ancient Celts were artists, carving spirals on their monuments, as well as making metal chalises  such as the ones found at Arda, the designs on these are used today in Celtic jewelry, cups, plates, wall hangings and other household items.

They were fierce warriors, and painted themselves with woad, a blue dye created from a plant to frighten their enemies. They fought naked, and it’s believed that Celtic women fought along side their male

counterparts.

The ancient Celts were a mysterious group, full of passion and spirit. That  legacy lives on in their modern ancestors. Next time you meet an Irishman, Scotsman, or Welshman, remember their rich ancestry. If they’re painted blue, well…

Photo courtesy of Lora O'Brien http://www.loraobrien.com/publications.html

Photo courtesy of Lora O’Brien
http://www.loraobrien.com/publications.html

 


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The Romance of ShanOre Irish Handcrafted Celtic Jewelry

ShanOre Jewelry stone set Celtic Knot Pendant

ShanOre Jewelry stone set Celtic Knot Pendant

We love Celtic jewelry at The Celtic Ranch. Love. It. We love all the knots, the braids, the crosses, the Claddaghs, stones, pearls and just all of it!

ShanOre Irish Handcrafted jewelry have been creating timeless pieces since 1979, their engagement ring, claddagh ring, and Tara’s Diary collections of Celtic jewelry are among some of the most sought after, not only for their beauty of design, but also for their craftsmanship and modern take on tradition.

ShanOre’s collection of Celtic wedding rings for men and women are among some of the most elegant and unique, they offer many different options of metal and diamonds, and for those who like a simpler look they make a variety of Celtic knot rings which can be wrought in silver, gold, and white gold.

Claddagh rings are a Celtic jewelry staple. Traditionally Irish, but many people who are not Irish have taken up the tradition as well, because “Love, Loyalty, Friendship” transcends nationality. ShanOre is famous for making some of the prettiest Claddagh ring designs in the industry. They also make the Claddagh symbol into pendants and earrings of all sizes, many designed to coordinate with their rings which make an elegant statement when worn as a set.

Trinity knots, also called simply Celtic knots, have no beginning or end, representing infinite love, possibility, and connection in a spiritual or romantic sense. Trinity knots are widely represented in ShanOre’s designs among our favorites is this simple, elegant ring expertly crafted in sterling silver. Another favorite is the trinity pearl set, which includes a ring, pendant, and earrings of a trinity knot graced at the end with a single pearl.

Celtic crosses are unique in their symbology, decorated with Claddaghs, knots, and depictions of events in the Bible, each design is singular and widely used in Celtic jewelry. ShanOre creates some of the most interesting and ornate pieces, including a St. Brigid’s cross that has become a customer favorite.

ShanOre birthstone Claddagh ring

ShanOre birthstone Claddagh ring

We can’t leave without discussing the tree of life, another traditional symbol widely used in Celtic jewelry. ShanOre’s remarkable tree designs respect the historical aspects of the tree joining heaven and Earth, uniting the worlds, while bringing to them a modern touch.

You can see why ShanOre is one of our favorite Celtic jewelry lines, the pieces we’ve shared here are a very small part of their entire collection. Come to the shop or visit our website and see our extensive collection, and watch our video of a Claddagh ring being made.


Let us be your personal shoppers. Stop by the store for our extensive line of shanore celtic jewelry and other carfully selected treasures to touch your inner celt
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