Friday, September 23, 2011

A Few of my Favorite Things: Part Five

My Celtic Jewelry

My maiden name was Fergus, solidly Scotch Irish, but the truth is that I’m over half German and the rest is some sort of anglo-mutt. Still, I feel much closer to my Celtic roots than my German, and nowhere is this more evident than in my powerful affinity for the Celtic knot.

While the Celtic knot as we know it didn’t appear in Celtic art until after Christianity reached the British Islands (5th century AD), nor is there any evidence that knotwork or the spiral and geometric patterns that preceded it were assigned a particular meaning, I have developed my own interpretation and the symbol has become an important part of my faith statement.

A Celtic knot has no beginning or end, evokes beauty in simplicity, and depicts interconnectedness. That’s a lot of how I see God.

I started collecting Celtic jewelry in 1997, with this ring I purchased at the Scottish Heritage Festival in St. Paul. It’s still my favorite piece—simple, silver and stunning. In 2000, I used it as the pattern for the piece de resistance of my collection: my permanent anklet. The truth is that I lose things. Lots of things. I even worried when Dan proposed that I would lose the engagement ring (I haven’t yet!) So I thought a tattoo would be the perfect thing for me: jewelry I can’t lose!

The necklace came from Irish on Grand in St. Paul, probably around the same time as the tattoo. Just a couple weeks ago, I met a woman at the Scottish Highland Festival grounds at the Renaissance Fair wearing the identical piece. She didn’t know where hers had come from—it had been a gift.

I bought the barrette in St. Michael, MD, when I visited Sue just after her son was born in 2002, and I wear it more than any other hair accessory I own. It’s the perfect thing for pulling my unruly mop out of my face.

I have several other pieces, now, as friends and family have figured out these are gifts I’m sure to be happy with. Dan brought me a beautiful silver knot necklace in 2005 when he was in Scotland. His parents have given me a delicate, hammered gold Celtic cross, a stone-carved knot on a leather thong, and a large medallion engraved with the name of Manawydan, a character from Welsh mythology.

In all honestly, I’m not really that big on jewelry. I don’t own anything remotely expensive, have no desire for gold or diamonds or anything of the sort. I prefer simple, rugged and meaningful. And when I wear these pieces, I am reminded of my connection to God and that, as much as the jewelry itself, makes me feel just a little more beautiful.


  1. My favorite piece is the necklace - I can see the 'infinity' in it the clearest. And it's lovely.

  2. The clasp actually broke at one point and I went and bought a replacement (thank goodness for the jewelry-making craze!) and figured out how (inexpertly) to fix it. It's that important to me!