A Pewter Cross (8" high) adorned with the iconic Claddagh symbol. This cross is beautiful when hung up on a wall, or displayed in a chest or on a shelf. It is a exquisite gift, as well as something to have for yourself.
History of the Celtic Cross
The Celtic Cross first appeared in Ireland and Britain during the early middle ages, when missionaries were busy planting the roots of Christianity among Celtic populations. The style represents a unity of Christian and Celtic motifs - after all, early missionaries are largely responsible for recording and thus preserving many Celtic customs and artwork. This hybrid art form is known as insular art (from 'insula', the Latin for 'island').
The cross typically features a nimbus - a ring around the intersection - which also provides support. Its true origin is unknown, though some historians have suggested it may have originally represented the Roman sun god Invictus.
The most famous surviving versions of these crosses are found in the monumental stone 'high crosses' erected from the 9th-12th centuries, which also depicted stylized Biblical scenes. Though insular art would later be overtaken by Romanesque art, it earned a comeback with the 'Celtic Revival' of the 19th Century, during a time when Ireland was rediscovering its heritage.
History of the Claddagh
The Claddagh (or Cladach, meaning 'the shore') features a crowned heart held by two hands - the heart represents love, the hands represent friendship, while the crown stands for loyalty. As far back as medieval times, engagement rings had been inscribed with clasped hands to signify one's fidelity, while the heart and crown were eventually added in the 18th century.
The Claddagh is named for the former fishing village that's now part of Galway city in the West of Ireland, where iconic Claddagh rings have since been produced for hundreds of years. Legend has it that in 1695, a local teenage silversmith called Richard Joyce became enslaved by Algerian pirates, and invented the Claddagh ring while in captivity.
Whatever the true origin, the Claddagh has since exploded in popularity among those desiring to celebrate their Irish heritage, appearing on many forms of jewellery and art from weddings rings to casual gifts of friendship.
About the Maker
In 1974, Paddy Collins revived the ancient craft of pewter manufacturing in Ireland, establishing his workshop in Mullingar, County Westmeath. Pewter has existed since ancient Egyptian and Roman times (as an alloy of tin mixed mainly with copper and antimony), and came to Ireland 800 years ago, becoming fashionable among the wealthy and for ceremonial purposes. Mullingar Pewter combines traditional handcrafted techniques that take many years to perfect, along with modern advances (modern pewter no longer contains lead, for instance), producing wonderful heritage gifts.