Celtic wedding rings employ the knot, a motif unique to Celtic art and a perfect symbolic representation of matrimony. Before we discuss Celtic wedding rings, a brief discussion of the origins of the form is in order. The term “Celts” refers to a large number of different ethnic and tribal groups united by the Celtic language. The Celtic language is, more properly, a group of Indo-European languages identified by linguists as being of common origin.
While it was once believed that Celts shared a common tribal source, more recent archaeological evidence indicates the Celtic culture was spread through the conquering of and trade with different cultures. There is no common ancestral heritage to the many branches of Celtic culture, and which of the cultures came first is lost in the long-gone annals of prehistory.
The term “Celtic art,” which includes Celtic jewelry, refers to stylistic similarities between artifacts of different cultures that suggest a prehistoric relationship to those who spoke the “Proto-Celtic” language. In modern terms, it refers to 18th century Celtic revival art, which was an expression of the desire of contemporary Celts in the British Isles to distinguish themselves from the Anglo-Saxon roots of the English.
Celtic art is primarily ornamental, making it well suited to jewelry. In this it has more in common with Arabic art than with the representational art of the classical tradition. Unlike Arabic art, however, Celtic art avoids straight lines and employs symmetry only sparingly.
A common and unique motif in Celtic art is the knot. It is used to symbolize infinity, eternity and union. It is this that makes Celtic bands uniquely suited for matrimonial jewelry.
There are some beautiful three dimensional Celtic wedding rings available. These designs do not have the traditional flat band with solid, even edges. The band is formed by the loops of the featured knot pattern, with open spaces captured within the design. A variation on this is two solid ring edges serving as a frame for a graceful flow of rope-like metal capturing open space within the design.
Common patterns used in Celtic wedding bands are the Infinity Motif (a two strand braid), the Trinity Knot (three interlocked petal-shapes, commonly found in Catholic Churches and similar to the universal sign representation for nuclear), the Celtic Knot, the Celtic Circle, the Newgrange Spiral, the Celtic Spiral and the Celtic Heart. The number of possible combinations of these designs is extremely large. When we add the ingenuity of modern artisans in edging styles and gem insets, Celtic wedding rings for every taste are available.