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: Torques

The quality and type of metal, whether gold, silver, iron, or bronze seems to have had significance not only to mark the social and economic class of the wearer, but also in symbolic and magical ways. Silver, long associated with the moon, was the most commonly used metal for Celtic torques and bracelets. Gold, very rare and precious in the centuries BCE, was reserved for not only the wealthiest members of society, but also the most powerful in a spiritual sense. Gold, due to its luster and color, has long been associated with the sun, and by extension, the vitality of the life force itself.

Gold Celtic torc with three "balusters" and decoration including animals, found in Glauberg, Germany, 400 BC

The Newark Torc discovered near Newark, Nottinghamshire, in Coritani territory, and probably worn by a Coritani prince or king between 100-50 BC

Evidence points to the evolution of Celtic bracelets from unique, ornate, and symbolically powerful items called “torques.” Torques were crafted most often from silver or gold. They were perfectly circular and probably fit fairly tightly around the neck of warriors, priests, and noblewomen. As elaborate status symbols, torques were thought to contain the power to ward off the curses of enemies and maleficent sorcerers, as well as to provide protection and courage during battle. Torques symbolically represented essential aspects of a Celt’s relationship to his community and the universe as a whole.  Read more

 Celtic Neck Ring Gold Made 500-300 BCE, Metropolitan Museum of Art 

More on The Snettisham Hoard

The Snettisham Hoard, Iron Age, c. 75 BCE, Ken Hill, Snettisham, Norfolk, England. The crown jewels of Norfolk of over 2000 years ago, gold and silver torcs worn around the neck to display the wearer's importance. Torcs were first found at Snettisham in 1948 and 1950, and experts thought no more were buried there. In 1990, metal detectorist Charles Hodder found 9 kilograms of gold/silver fragments. He reported his finds and he and archaeologists found 75 torcs, carefully buried in small pits.

Gold Torc

Marriage Torc

One of the broken Torcs

The Snettisham Hoard

The Snettisham Hoard is a series of discoveries of Iron Age precious metal, found in the Snettisham area of the English county of Norfolk between 1948 and 1973.

The hoard consists of metal, jet and over 150 gold torc fragments, over 70 of which form complete torcs, dating from BC 70. Though the origins are unknown it is of a high enough quality to have been royal treasure of the Iceni, (Brythonic tribe in Britannia).

The hoard is considered number 4 in the top ten list of British archaeological finds selected by experts at the British Museum  

"The Great Torc, Snettisham, buried around 100 BC. The torc is one of the most elaborate golden objects from the ancient world. It is made from gold mixed with silver and weighs over 1 kg. Torcs are made from complex threads of metal, grouped into ropes and twisted around each other. The ends of the torc were gast in moulds and welded onto the metal ropes.

Ancient Golden Earring Discovered Hidden in a Jar in Israel

The assortment of jewelry is also out of the ordinary, notes Arie. Though the collection includes a number of lunette (moon-shaped) earrings of common Canaanite origin, researchers found an abundance of gold items in the collection and a number of beads made from carnelian, which was frequently used in the making of Egyptian jewellery in the same period.

This beautiful golden earring, decorated with figures of goats, was one of a trove of jewelry pieces that were wrapped in cloth and stuffed into a jar discovered by archaeologists at the Tel Meggido dig in Israel. When the team flushed the jar’s interior with water, earrings, a ring, and carnelian beads came tumbling out.

They aren’t sure why the jewelry was in the jar, but they posit that it could have been hidden there by the inhabitants of the home where the jar was found for safekeeping. The layer of soil where the find occurred dates from the 11th century BCE, a period when Meggido was under Egyptian rule, and the team believes the jewelry is either of Egyptian origin or inspired by Egyptian designs.

Image courtesy of American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Reposted from Discover Magazine 

Viking Gold Finger Rings

Viking Gold Scutiform Ring - 9th-11th century AD. A substantial gold finger ring with lozengiform bezel developing from the hoop, formed from a single cast bar; the narrow ends of the bar twisted over each other; the hoop decorated with sub-triangular and pellet-in-triangle punchmarks; the bezel formed with a central boss surrounded by subtriangular and chevron punchmarks.

Viking Gold Plaited Finger Ring- 9th-11th century AD. A ring formed from four rods plaited, joined at the reverse and the ends wound about each other. 

Viking Gold Cross-Stamped Finger Ring- 9th-11th century AD. A penannular flat-section finger ring with coiled ends, three bands of cross punchmarks to the hoop, in vertical and diagonal alignment.

Viking Gold Twisted Finger Ring- 9th-11th century AD. A round-section hoop formed as continuous twisted rods, thicker at the bezel.

West Yorkshire Hoard: What Was Found

What was Found?
Seven pieces make up this fantastic Hoard, many of which are in superb condition after all of this time.  A little more about each piece…

Cabachon Ring – An unusually large, complete and spectacular gold ring with a lozenge-shaped bezel set with a garnet gem.  Anglo-Saxon pieces of such high quality are extremely rare.  It was made to be displayed as a sign of great wealth and status and is in near perfect condition.

Cabachon Ring © Trustees of the British Museum

Filigree Ring – A very attractive and complete ring with filigree decoration, in excellent condition.  Two panels of six filigree scrolls are each separated by a fine filigree line bisecting the bezel.  Gold pellets sit in the centre of each scroll and in some of the angles between them.
Filigree Ring © Trustees of the British Museum
Niello Finger Ring – A rich and heavy complete gold ring with four enlarged, oval sections decorated with floral and zoomorphic motifs on niello background.  The ring is complete and in excellent condition.  The designs on the panels, especially the crouching animals, are typical of Trewhiddle Style decoration.
Niello Finger Ring © Trustees of the British Museum

Filigree and Granular Ring – A stunningly beautiful and unusually large gold ring with a round bezel and filigree and granular decoration.  The ring is complete and in excellent condition.  On the bezel, inside two beaded frames and one upright frame, follow short sections of wire imitating a twisted cable surrounding four spirals held by grooved collars and embellished with gold granules.
Gold Ring © Trustees of the British Museum

Cloisonné Piece - A gold fragment from a once-fine brooch, with elaborate cloisonné cells once containing inlays.  One side of the triangular fragment is formed by the beaded rim and another looks like it was torn off the original object.  The third side was cut in antiquity.  This type of brooch dates to the 7th century.
Cloisenne Piece © Trustees of the British Museum

Gold Ingot – A gold ingot (hack gold), cut down in size in antiquity to probably half its original size.  The underside shows impressions from the open-top mould, and the criss-cross pattern on the top is a result of the cooling of the metal, which leads to the formation of crystals.  It dates to the Viking period (late 9th to 11th centuries).
Gold Ingot © Trustees of the British Museum

Spindle Whorl – A flat lead spindle whorl with a central perforation, found about 4-5 inches from the ring. A spindle whorl would have been used in spinning and producing yarn.

The Leeds or West Yorkshire Hoard

Hoards associated with the Anglo-Saxon culture, from the 6th century to 1066, are relatively uncommon. Those that have been found include both hoards of coins and hoards of jewellery and metalwork such as sword hilts and crosses. The West Yorkshire Hoard dates in part back to the 7th Century and is on display at Leeds City Museum.

It is the "most significant find of Anglo-Saxon jewellery" from the area, according to Leeds City Council.

The most spectacular is a gold ring with a lozenge-shaped bezel complete with a garnet gem.

The collection is on loan in Leeds from The British Museum in London and is officially classed as treasure.

The hoard is "highly significant" and shows the presence of "high status" inhabitants around the area, according to the council.

West Yorkshire Hoard - 5 items of 7th to 11th century gold jewellery (a cabachon ring, a filigree ring, a niello finger ring, a filigree and granular ring, and a piece of a cloisonné bracelet), an ingot of gold, and a lead spindle whorl