The images you'll see as you scroll down to the current text are all part of the story telling in my novel, Realms of Gold:Ritual to Romance.


Bianca Caldwell, pen name, Bianca Fiore, is a writer for an art magazine. In each of her monthly stories she describes an object used in ancient ritual.



More Celtic Gold




Hollow gold balls. Late Bronze Age, Ireland. Graduated sizes and with holes suggest that these balls could have been strung together to form a necklace.


An Amber necklace and a gold dress fastener. 800-700 BC. Ireland. 



Metropolitan Museum of Art, Treasures of Early Irish Art 1500 B.C. - 1500 A.D. New York.

The Derrinboy armlets are a pair of magnificent gold bracelets that were found deep within a County Offaly bog in 1959. Dating from the Late Bronze Age, these precious artifacts formed part of a small hoard of objects that were discovered by Mr. Patrick McGovern as he was digging turf. 

 They are decorated with raised ribs of alternately plain and patterned repoussé work.  They come from what is termed as the Bishopsland Phase.  The repoussé technique involved hammering a design onto a piece from the back.



Celtic Hammered Gold Bracelet




Gold Bulla

Found in the Bog of Allen, Co. Kildare and dates to about 700 B. C. it can be seen in the National Museum of Ireland. These were enigmatic objects of lead covered in gold foil decorated with repoussé designs of concentric circles, semi-circles, triangles and other patterns.  It is believed they may have served as an amulet or an object to ward off evil or ensure fertility.

 


These gold lock-rings come from the Dowris phase of the Late Bronze Age and date to circa 800 - 600  B. C.  They have a diameter of 10 cm. and length of 5 cm. with an internal width of 1.35 cm.  They were found in Gorteenreagh, County Clare in 1948 and are now on view at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

These gapped conical ornaments, thought to have been used for holding hair in place, such as at the end of a plait, demonstrate the highest skill of the early Irish goldsmith.


National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology Decorated gold discs

The general belief is that the discs relate to a cult of the sun and that the cruciform shapes of the design are intended to represent its life-giving rays.


One interpretation of the gold discs is that they were placed as symbolic breasts on the chest of a king, creating an image that fused the leader with the life-giving deity…


A gold disc with almost prefect concentric circles within larger circles of the disc.



 Gold disc, perhaps a terminal from a collar or ear spool. 800-700 BC. National Museum of Ireland.  

Celtic Gorgets

This collar was found in a bog in Shannongrove, Co. Limerick, sometime before 1783. There are at least ten similar pieces from Ireland. We know that some of them come from the lower Shannon area. We do not know what they were used for, but they were probably ceremonial collars. On the inner side of the collar, under each of the circular terminals, is a hole. The collar probably rested on the chest and was held in place by a chain running between the two holes and passing round the back of the neck.





The most famous collar of the "gorget" type was found in Glenisheen, Co. Clare in 1932.  It dates to the 8th century B.C. and is a semi-circular shape with two elaborate disc shapes at either end.  It was found in a rock crevice in the Burren area of Co. Clare and it is remarkably well preserved, it is c.31 cm in maximum diameter.


Celtic (Ireland), 800-700 BC The Victoria & Albert Museum

There is some amazingly intricate repoussé work on this piece.  Repoussé was a technique used by craftworkers in Europe which was adopted at this time by the native craftworkers to good effect.  The designs themselves are native in origin being similar to the designs on earlier lunulae and round based pots.  Some archaeologists believe this gives evidence that there were many foreign influences and invasions at this time because of the non-native techniques that were adopted by the native craftworkers in Ireland.




The Gorteenreagh Collar was discovered in 1948 and is dated to c. 800 - 600 bc. along with two lock-rings, two bracelets, and a fibula or dress fastener.  The Gorteenreagh Collar is much simpler in design than the Glenisheen, although the terminals are of the same design, unfortunately as can be seen from the photo, it did not survive the ravages of time and is a little dented. (not bad though after 2600 years!)





Celtic Gold Ring

This ring evokes the splendor of the Celts and their love of personal adornment. It is one of the most lavish surviving examples.









4th century B.C.Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Tara Brooch

The Tara brooch. 8th century. This brooch was found not in Tara but near the seashore at Bettystown, Co. Meath, in 1850. Its provenance was attributed to Tara by a dealer in order to increase its value. It is made of cast and gilt silver and is elaborately decorated on both faces. The front is ornamented with a series of exceptionally fine gold filigree panels depicting animal and abstract motifs that are separated by studs of glass, enamel and amber. The back is flatter than the front, and the decoration is cast. The motifs consist of scrolls and triple spirals and recall La Tène decoration of the Iron Age.


The Tara brooch. 8th century. This brooch was found not in Tara but near the seashore at Bettystown, Co. Meath, in 1850. Its provenance was attributed to Tara by a dealer in order to increase its value. It is made of cast and gilt silver and is elaborately decorated on both faces. The front is ornamented with a series of exceptionally fine gold filigree panels depicting animal and abstract motifs that are separated by studs of glass, enamel and amber. The back is flatter than the front, and the decoration is cast. The motifs consist of scrolls and triple spirals and recall La Tène decoration of the Iron Age. A silver chain made of plaited wire is attached to the brooch by means of a swivel attachment. This feature is formed of animal heads framing two tiny cast glass human heads. Along with such treasures as the Ardagh Chalice and the Derrynaflan Paten, the Tara Brooch can be considered to represent the pinnacle of early medieval Irish metalworkers’ achievement. Each individual element of decoration is executed perfectly and the range of technique represented on such a small object is astounding. National Museum of Ireland.
 
A silver chain made of plaited wire is attached to the brooch by means of a swivel attachment. This feature is formed of animal heads framing two tiny cast glass human heads. Along with such treasures as the Ardagh Chalice and the Derrynaflan Paten, the Tara Brooch can be considered to represent the pinnacle of early medieval Irish metalworkers’ achievement. Each individual element of decoration is executed perfectly and the range of technique represented on such a small object is astounding. National Museum of Ireland.

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