Designing jewelry is not the first step in my process of adding pieces to my collection. As of recently, I have become much more selective as to what I choose to dedicate my time, energy and efforts towards.
It has to be special... very special.
Personally, I am infatuated and fascinated by history, especially ancient history, the mystical and the unknown. From the Egyptians to the Mayans, there is lost knowledge and secrets within every ancient civilization.
So, when designing jewelry, the sequence of events can go one of two ways:
1 - Start With A Symbol
I see a symbol or a design that intrigues me, then I do my research and trace back who, where, when and why. Based on what I find, I usually always feel some kind of an emotional connection or a spiritual and empowering message. I ask myself:
What does this particular symbol mean?
What did it mean to the originators at that point in time and how may this viewpoint expand my view of the world?
Why did they believe what they did and how did their belief systems affect their quality of life?
2 - Start With The Message
There are some messages that are too important to me to not want to share or that I feel genuinely deserve my time and attention to create something of my own and share it with my audience. Based on the message, I then search deep within myself for the best way to express this message via design. That's what makes my pieces unique compared to any other designer, and that's also what makes every other designer different from me.
Many of my designs are inspired by the Ancient Celts and their iconic knot work. Why? I am very much intrigued and in awe of this particular culture and their mark on the world. The knot work is not only fascinating and complex, but it is meaningful in that it portrays a sense of infinity and connectivity. I share this view point with the Celts in that we are all connected, and the decisions we make affect those around us. One tug of a string and you will affect the others as well. Their knot work expresses the need for balance and harmony.
After I had designed the ring, back in 2009, I received many requests for the matching set - earrings, pendants, bracelets, etc. And hence, the Fleur de Knot Collection was born and has transformed into one of my most, if not the most recognizable pieces of my portfolio.
Another design I wanted to make a part of my collection is the traditional Celtic Cross. There are several different versions and interpretations. The Celtic Cross design can be traced back to the Early Medieval Ages. What makes it a Celtic Cross specifically is the circular ring around the cross.
According to Adele Nozedar's The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook, "Intertwining shapes and lines, however, generally point toward ideas of connectedness and the harmonious convergence of opposites, male and female, fire and water, Heaven and Earth, for example. In addition, any sign that can be made without the pen leaving the paper tends to have strong protective associations, and knot-work, with its continual looping and spiraling, could have been used in this way, perhaps used for amulets and talismans."
Did you read that? ... used for amulets and talismans.
That's fucking amazing!
This means they purposefully embraced these designs to be worn on their person and they believed in the power of energy via symbolism. I believe in this, too.
Think about it.
Someone created something tangible to be worn, and the tangible piece is an expression of an emotion, whether it be protective, healing or loving. The design itself, via the continuance of the line work, in addition to the intention is a manifestation of that energy.
Now, let's dive a little deeper into some historical facts you may or may not know. The Celts originated from the Urnfield culture, located in modern day Halstatt, Austria. So, while they certainly did have a presence in Ireland and Scotland, traces of their culture can be found in many more regions.
According to this article at Celtic-WeddingRings.com, these are the different regions where evidence of the Celts residence has been found:
- - Asturias: Between the regions of Galicia and Cantabria in northern Spain.
- - Breizh: In Brittany on France’s
- - Kernow: In the county of Cornwall on England’s west coast.
- - Galicia: On Spain’s
- - Eire: Ireland.
Mannin: The Isle of Man.
- - Alba: Scotland
- - Cymru: Wales
When I read this, my mind was blown.
My maiden name is Asturias.
On my father's side of the family, we have been able to trace back to the first Asturias who left Spain in the mid 1800's and settled in Guatemala, where I was born and where all of my immediate family resides.
Not that it's a really big deal - I identify and relate to things whether or not I have a direct link to something. But I hardly ever read or come across anything about Asturias, Spain. So, this certainly strengthened my emotional connection to the Celts, their work and their culture. Now I am much more eager to go visit this place, to say the least.
Like many civilizations, different regions had their own identifying culture and language. In my home country of Guatemala, there are several different dialects from different tribes across the country. The Celts were no different. Multiple languages were spoken, several of which are now extinct.
Part of the reason their languages seemed to vanish is due to the lack of the written word. When it comes to oral tradition and education, the Celts did not use writing because they highly valued the spoken word. This is due to two main reasons, the first being the spoken word is powerful and directly communicates from one person to another. This direct form of communication shows the Celts valued to whom they spoke to. When words are written down, unless you destroy it, you have no idea where that will end up. The Celts were very protective and selective about their knowledge and information.
Their high regard for the spoken word clearly indicates their strong beliefs in the mystical and esoteric realms... such as Celtic Magic.
"Magic was commonplace in the mythologies of the Celts"
says mystic author Kristoffer Hughes's book, Celtic Magic.
He goes on to say,
"The term Celtic refers to a cultural tribal group defined by their use of language who spanned parts of Northern Europe and in particular the regions of Gaul (modern day France and Belgium), the British Isles, and Ireland.
It is important to note that the term Celtic does not refer to a bloodline but rather to a cultural line' it is this freedom of movement that enables the Celtic spirit to migrate and settle in other lands.
To many the Celts are a people of long ago, lost to us by the chasm of time. But the Celts are still here: they exist as the people and descendants of the six primary Celtic nations of Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, the Isle of Man, Scotland, and Ireland. Celtic identity, however, is a fluid affair whereby millions of individuals worldwide identify themselves or aspects of their ancestry, whether generically or spiritually, as being inherently Celtic."
The Celts were indeed master artists.
Compared to the Greeks and the Romans, Celtic women had much more freedom and liberties. They were warriors and fought along side their men, even becoming military leaders and they had the ability to rule, become queens, own land and divorce. Artisans like blacksmiths and metalworkers produced jewelry, tools and weapons while dominated by males but their execution earned them the title as "Men of Art."
Now, that's badass.
If you have time to read more about Celtic Women, this was a great article.
So, what can we learn from the Celts?
All thoughts are energy. Well, for me personally, as a designer and spiritualist, what I take most from the Celts was their high regard for the spoken word, their intricate art and knot work, and their mystical perception of the world. We should all be very mindful and respectful not only to ourselves but to everyone around us with the words we select to communicate. The words we use are powerful and really matter because regardless of the language used, a sound is coming out of our bodies through the use of our mouths and vocal chords to communicate a thought.
When a sound is created, a word verbalized, when it is received by another consciousness, they absorb that energy. To the extent to which it affects them, is entirely out of your control.
What you can control is what you say and how you say it.
Secondly, the artistry the Celts were known for clearly indicates what I stated before, which is inter-connectivity and infinity. That's mad inspiration for me and the work I do.
Lastly, everything I have learned about the Celts clearly demonstrates they had a very special outlook of the world, which is why so many thousands of years later, their influence is still around for us to admire, appreciate and interpret for our own expansion of perception. As a culture and civilization, their mark on this world still brings us back to the basics and remind us of forgotten knowledge. Sometimes, that's exactly what we all need - to be taken back to a different time and place in order to understand what, why and how we can make perceptional changes in our lives to find appreciation in what we often take for granted.