How to Buy an Antique Celtic Ring

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How to Buy an Antique Celtic Ring

Celtic heritage is rich with deeply ingrained tradition that is represented by ancient symbols. The Celts thrived during the years 500 BC through 400 AD. It was during that time that most Celtic symbolism found its way into the design of jewellery, especially rings. The symbols often carried immense spiritual implications and because of the spiritual significance, only Celts who had attained lofty statuses were allowed to wear the rings. Ancient Celtic rings still have relevance because, through the centuries, families have passed the rings down from one generation to the next. This tradition translates into a fertile contemporary ancient Celtic ring market.

Jewellery lovers can find ancient Celtic rings in jewellery shops and shops that specialise in Celtic artefacts. They can also peruse car boot sales and visit antique shops that feature ancient jewellery. While there are many online sellers of Celtic jewellery, the best place to search for rings of Celtic origin is online at the leading auction site, eBay. Before jewellery lovers shop for ancient Celtic rings, they should first learn about the Celtic jewellery eras, research Celtic symbols, understand the importance of measuring the right ring size, and review a few buying steps to ensure that they purchase an authentic ancient Celtic ring.

Ancient Celtic Jewellery Eras

While most jewellers define ancient jewellery as items that were constructed at least 100 years ago, a different antique definition applies to Celtic jewellery. The most recent pieces of ancient Celtic jewellery date to 400 AD. Any Celtic jewellery produced after 400 AD may not fall under the category of "ancient".

Bronze Age (4400-1400 BC)

The official use of the term "Celtic" describes the inhabitants of Europe during the Iron Age. However, Celtic traditions, such as language, culture, tools, and jewellery predate the Iron Age era by thousands of years. Celtic jewellery styles and techniques used during the Iron Age derived from the jewellery styles and techniques of the Bronze Age. Celtic jewellery from the Bronze Age stresses the differences in social status as evident by the prestige jewellery worn by chiefs and warlords found in Bronze Age era Celtic graves. The expression of high social status through jewellery design became the trademark signature of future ancient Celtic jewellery.

Late Bronze Age (1400 BC-1200 BC)

The long tradition of bronze working provided the foundation for future ancient Celtic jewellery periods. Late Bronze Age techniques included casting of gold, wire making, and bar twisting. Casting technique improvements increased the complexity of jewellery shapes and sizes. New materials, such as glass, were integrated into beads and rings. Amber, bronze, and gold were utilised to decorate metals, and thus, enhance the value of ancient Celtic rings. The Late Bronze Age era was the first time Celtic jewellery was constructed to match Celtic clothing.

Iron Age (1200 BC-400 AD)

Iron Age gravesites demonstrate that many Celts were buried fully dressed and wearing ornamental jewellery. Safety pins were a widespread type of jewellery that fasten articles of clothing. The most common safety pin, the fibula, was cast in iron, silver, or gold. Celtic rings from this era are hard to find, but the rings available for sale possess intricate artwork and fine craftsmanship. Gold and silver bracelets dominated Celtic jewellery during the Iron Age. Torcs, which developed from plain iron rings to elaborately decorated yellow gold rings, have been found in Iron Age Celtic graves, especially in female graves.

Significant Celtic Symbols

Celtic symbols and signs are omnipresent in Celtic jewellery, especially ancient Celtic jewellery. The term "Celtic" refers to the inhabitants of Great Britain and Western Europe between 500 BC and 400 AD, although the origins of Celtic culture predate official Celtic culture by thousands of years. Much of Celtic symbolism comes from the Romans, who conquered the Celts during the ascent of the Roman Empire. Much of the meaning of Celtic symbolism derives from conjecture. However, there are some common symbols that represent meanings agreed upon by both Celtic historians and jewellers who specialise in antique Celtic jewellery.


This Greek term that means "three-legged", and hence, this symbol depicts three legs running. Triskelion represents competition and Celtic progress.


Another symbol of three, this Latin-inspired symbol represents a variety of holy trinities. It measures the various facets of spirit, nature, self-awareness, and the cosmos.

Triple Spiral

Represents the three powers of maiden, mother, and crone. The triple power denotes female power and the symbol is prevalent in ancient female Celtic jewellery.

Three Rays

The outside rays in the Three Rays represent male and female energy, while the middle ray provides the balance between the two conflicting rays. This a relationship-based symbol that often appears on ancient Celtic wedding rings.

Single Spiral

Perhaps the most powerful of all Celtic symbols, the Single Spiral represents outward radiating ethereal energy, which symbolises growth, birth, and the expansion of human consciousness.


The quintessential Celtic symbol of balance, with four circles symbolising the four elements of earth, fire, water, and air. Balance is achieved by the inner fifth circle that unites the four elements.


The bridge between heaven and earth gives this symbol the deepest spiritual meaning amongst Celts. Infinity and eternal love are depicted by the circle within the ringed cross.

How to Obtain an Accurate Ring Size

The most important part of the ancient Celtic ring buying process is obtaining an accurate ring size. Residents of the UK have many more size options than North American residents, although the same scale still is utilised for both men and women who live in the UK.

First, cut a thin strip of paper and wrap the paper around the ring finger. Make sure the paper rests below the finger joint and close to the knuckle. Mark the spot where the paper ends meet, and then measure the distance with a ruler. The following chart measures ring finger diameter and circumference, matching the measurements with corresponding UK ring finger sizes.

Circumference (mm)

Diametre (mm)

UK Ring Size























































Numerous online jewellers offer ring size charts for UK residents. Moreover, local jewellery shops employ highly trained jewellery sales professionals to provide accurate ring finger measurements. When in doubt, seek professional help for accurately sizing the ring finger.

How to Shop for Antique Celtic Rings

Shopping for antique Celtic rings requires patience and an abundance of research. Online dealers, car boot sales, craft fairs, and Celtic fairs can offer ancient Celtic rings. The key for consumers is to verify the authenticity of the ring, which begins by investigating the seller.

Investigate the Seller

Any seller who offers multiple antique Celtic rings that contain the same design and construction most likely should not be considered an authentic dealer of antique fine jewellery. Antique Celtic rings are one of a kind, and thus, never consider a seller who offers the fine rings in bulk. Online shoppers should review customer feedback and in-person buyers should look for professional certifications and commendations.

Ask Questions

Ask antique jewellery dealers the right questions, such as how the dealers came across the Celtic ring. Most dealers who offer authentic antique jewellery purchased their pieces from jewellers, received it as family heirloom, or they are professional antique jewellery dealers. Authentic antique Celtic ring sellers can provide extensive information about when the ring was constructed and the significance of the Celtic symbolism embedded in the ring.

Look for a Mark

Authentic antique jewellers always make an impression somewhere on vintage fine rings. Research the myriad possible marks by going online and reviewing the photographs posted by authentic jewellers. Not only do the jewellers describe the unique marks, they also expound on the antique jewellery piece's origins and the craftsmanship used to construct the piece.

The Importance of Patina

Professional jewellers refer to patina as the sheen that develops on a piece of jewellery after years of use. Most antiques rings are sold without being restored to prevent damage to the precious metal utilised to construct the ring. Any antique Celtic ring under consideration must display some signs of wear.


Any dealer who offers an antique Celtic ring at a price that appears to be much lower than market value should raise buyer eyebrows. Antique jewellery typically costs more than mint condition pieces. Compare the price of the ring to the market price of the metals used to construct the ring.

How to Buy an Antique Celtic Ring on eBay

eBay offers jewellery lovers plenty of sellers who put ancient jewellery pieces up for sale. The key to finding such sellers is to utilise eBay's powerful search engine. Type specific keywords into the search engine to reduce the number of search result pages. For instance, typing "vintage jewellery" or "gold antique rings" can shorten the amount of time that you spend on a search. Once you find the right seller, navigate to the seller's product page to review the accepted payment methods, delivery terms, and return guidelines.

Because of authenticity issues, only consider buying an ancient Celtic ring from one of eBay's Top-Rated Sellers. These sellers have established track records for selling superior products and offering generous return policies. eBay places an electronic ribbon icon by qualified top-rated seller photographs. You can also review the seller's feedback that appears on seller product pages. Search for sellers who have received positive feedback for the past year and have garnered high praise for selling antique jewellery. Once you build a business relationship with an eBay seller, inquire if that seller runs an eBay Store where you can purchase future products directly.


Buying antique jewellery requires self-discipline and the inclination to perform hours of research. The research particularly comes in handy for buying antique Celtic rings, since most fine jewellery shoppers are not aware of Celtic culture and traditions. The Celtic cultures only thrived for about 1,000 years, but during that time, the significance of Celtic symbols manifested on all sorts of Celtic jewellery pieces. Ancient Celtic rings are an excellent example of how Celtic symbolism permeated the jewellery of the Celtic era. While Celtic symbolism reaches as far back as 4000 BC, it did push into prominence until about 500 AD.

Celtic symbolism features a number of spiritual references that convey the importance of body energy and mystical forces. The common symbolism of them is balancing contrasting energy forces. Balance appears in the symbolism of many ancient Celtic rings available in contemporary marketplaces. Once a symbol is chosen, the next step in the ancient Celtic ring buying process is to obtain an accurate ring size. While you can perform the measurement on your own, it is recommended to at least confer with a jeweller to ensure accuracy. Look for ancient Celtic rings at car boot sales, where sellers make family heirlooms available, or go online and shop for the right ancient Celtic ring on eBay.

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