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.



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.

See more at Reena Ahluwalia 

Broighter Gold Collar Details



The Broighter Gold Collar. Concentric arches drawn by compass highlight raised decoration of S-shaped scrolls, trumpet shapes and lentoids. From the hoard of gold objects. Broighter, county Derry. 1st century BC.  



The Broighter Gold Collar. Concentric arches drawn by compass highlight raised decoration of S-shaped scrolls, trumpet shapes and lentoids. From the hoard of gold objects. Broighter, county Derry. 1st century BC.


The Broighter Gold Collar. From the hoard of gold objects. Broighter, county Derry. 1st century BC. Concentric arches drawn by compass highlight raised decoration of S-shaped scrolls, trumpet shapes and lentoids. Collars are especially associated with Celtic kings and gods. The sea god Manannán mac Lir was associated with Lough Foyle and may have had special significance for a local king, perhaps as a protective deity or divine ancestor.


The Broighter Gold Collar. From the hoard of gold objects. Broighter, county Derry. 1st century BC. Concentric arches drawn by compass highlight raised decoration of S-shaped scrolls, trumpet shapes and lentoids. Collars are especially associated with Celtic kings and gods. The sea god Manannán mac Lir was associated with Lough Foyle and may have had special significance for a local king, perhaps as a protective deity or divine ancestor.


See more at Reena Ahluwalia

The Coggalbeg Hoard: The Roscommon lunula




In March 1945 when a Roscommon farmer, Mr Hubert Lannon, was cutting turf on his bog in the west of Ireland.  As he sliced through the dark peaty soil a flash of gold suddenly caught his eye. Bending down for a closer inspection he slowly uncovered a hoard of golden treasure. It consisted of a beautiful gold lunula and two gold discs, which had lain hidden in the depths of the bog for over 4,000 years. Hubert carefully gathered the precious items together and then brought them home for safe keeping.

The largest item in the newly discovered hoard was a beautiful gold lunula. This exquisitely made gold collar was shaped like a crescent moon. Flat and thin, it had been fashioned out of hammered sheet gold and was decorated in inscribed motifs. An item of great prestige it was probably originally worn around the neck. Lunulae, such as this one, appear to be a distinctively insular form of jewellery, with the vast majority of the 100 or so known examples coming from Ireland. They are a striking testament to the metal working skills of our Early Bronze Age ancestors.

The Roscommon lunula was also accompanied by two gold discs that were similarly made from sheet gold. These objects were decorated with a cross motif surrounded by a double circle. This was the first time lunula and discs had been found together. Indeed, the distinctive shapes of these objects led some experts to suggest that they may represent stylised moon and sun symbols. Why they were buried together in a bog remains uncertain, but it is possible that they represented an offering to some prehistoric deity. This deposition of precious objects in watery places is characteristic of much of Irish prehistory.

Gold Lunula


The Gold lunula is a distinctive type of early Bronze Age necklace or collar shaped like a crescent moon.  

The gold lunula from the Gwithian area, Cornwall © The Trustees of the British Museum


They are normally flat and thin, with roundish spatulate terminals that are often twisted to 45 to 90 degrees from the plane of the body.

Of the more than a hundred gold lunulae known from Western Europe, more than eighty are from Ireland; it is possible they were all the work of a handful of expert goldsmiths, though the three groups are presumed to have had different creators. Several examples have a heavily crinkled appearance suggesting that they had been rolled up at some point.

Lunulae were probably replaced as neck ornaments firstly by gold torcs, found from the Irish Middle Bronze Age, and then in the Late Bronze Age by the spectacular gorgets of thin ribbed gold, some with round discs at the side, of which 9 examples survive, 7 in the National Museum of Ireland.


Gold lunula from Schulenburg, Germany, Provincial, linear group.


Gold lunula  - British Museum - Found in a bog on the Tir Dewin Farm

Flat sheet crescent of beaten gold with quadrangular terminals rotated relative to the crescent. It is decorated with an incised geometric pattern.

The horns are decorated with horizontal patterns of horizontal lines, rows of dots, bands of diamond shaped motifs and void spaces. The horn’s inner and outer edges are decorated with a border of horizontal lines.




A band of three incised lines and two irregular rows of dots separate the horns from the rest of the body.





The decoration extends down the body in the form of a border parallel with the inner and outer edges. The border consists of a series of parallel lines and rows of dots.



Gold lunula from Blessington, Ireland, Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age, c. 2400BC – 2000BC, Classical group

Chevrons and Lozenges incised into the Blessington Lunula.

Incised or punched decoration, confined normally to the horns and the internal and external edges, usually consists of fields of simple geometric patterns, Zig Zags , lozenger , triangles , parallel lines.
 
Llanllyfni, Wales, Britain



Celtic Jewelry

A torc is an ancient Celtic form of neck ring. Although items from as early as 1800 BC have been found in Egypt that resemble torcs, the name is commonly used for bronze, iron or golden neck rings from the European Iron Age. These neck rings developed from simple rings into elaborately decorated ornaments with or without rich terminals. Most Celtic torcs have been found in France but there is an extremely wide spread of torc- like ornaments encountered throughout excavations from Spain to the British Isles and Scandinavia and from Persian lands to Egypt.


The Roman author Pliny writes that torcs were part of the Celtic battle-dress but excavations have revealed mainly women and girls wearing torcs. 


Celtic torc from the Iberian peninsula showing typical celtic chased motivs




Iron Age grave sites show us corpses that were fully dressed and ornamented. This allows us to form a detailed picture of jewelry worn in those days. The most widespread type of jewelry was the safety pin used to fix clothing: the fibula. Most commonly made from bronze but also found in iron, silver and gold this garment fastener is found in large numbers. Finger and toe rings were rare, more common were bronze and some gold and silver bracelets and cast bronze solid armlets, cast with the lost wax technique and decorated with enamel and glass. Red enamel in particular popular among the Celts. Torcs are another typical ornament found in Celtic graves, mainly female ones. This item developed from a plain iron ring to elaborately decorated neck rings in gold.


Golden Neck Ring 550BC.jpg

Roman influences are seen long before the Roman conquest of the Celtic lands but after the defeat of the Celtic armies in the first century BC and the Roman march to the Rhine and British isles had begun the full 'romanization' of the Celts was a fact. The Celtic 'high-society' started to act, dress and talk like Romans and the latest trends from the Empire's capital made it all the way up to Northern Europe. Finger rings, chain necklaces and earrings were new forms of jewelry in these parts of the world up until then and became popular items. New materials such as gemstones and silver were introduced as well. But it wasn't all new though, certain typical Celtic characteristics are still to be recognized in jewelry from the first quarter of the first millennium such as the use of enamel and typical Celtic knot motives. Old styles fused with new ones to produce a Gallo-roman style.


Celtic Spiral Bracelet.jpg

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Celtic Gold

The Frasnes-lez-Buissenal pot-hoard found near a spring in Belgium. Dated 50 B.C. the hoard, which consisted of two gold torcs and nine gold coins, was probably a ritual offering to a spring deity worshiped because the two gold torcs were not designed to be worn by its Nervii tribal owners.


The ancient Greek writer, Diodorus, writing circa. 20 B.C. commented about the astonishing Celtic religious practice of safely and freely depositing gold offerings such as the Frasnes-lez-Buissenal hoard in temples and other sacred sites.



 Nervii tribal hoard

Although no provenance is provided for this Celtic gold ring, it is dated to 400-300 B.C. (early La Tene period). Part of a trio of gold rings, the ring has a ram's head motif similar to the gold torc found in the Nervii tribal hoard. The Nervii were one of the most powerful Belgic tribes; living in northern Gaul at the time of its conquest by Rome.


Again, sadly this iron/copper alloy sword and scabbard has no provenance. Dated late La Tene period at 60 B.C. the museum believes that the hilt depicts a warrior; however, ther figure is just as likely to depict a deity.