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.

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.

Broighter Hoard

A hoard of gold artefacts from the Iron Age of the 1st century BC that were found in 1896 by Tom Nicholl and James Morrow on farmland near Limavady, Northern Ireland.[2] The hoard includes a 7-inch-long (18 cm) gold boat, a gold torc and bowl and some other jewellery.

 Broighter Collar (c.100-50 BCE)

The luxuriously ornamented Broighter gold collar (torc), along with the Petrie Crown, is one of Ireland’s greatest surviving masterpieces of Celtic metalwork art from the Irish Iron Age.  Made by Irish metalworkers and goldsmiths during the first century BCE, the Broighter collar is a delicate tube of gold decorated in the La Tene style of Celtic art: a form influenced by Greek and Etruscan culture. Each end of the collar is buffer-shaped and fit together using a beautifully made T-shaped locking device.

The miniature boat is made out of sheet gold, a sheet gold bowl, two torcs made of twisted gold bars, two loop-in-loop gold chains with terminal boxes of sheet gold, and a large hollow torc made of hammered sheet gold highly decorated with incised and high relief swirls and arcs. The boat is obsessively detailed, complete with oars, benches, a rudder, yardarm and various tools.