Jan 14, 2010

Celtic Ring Money Necklace

I came across this "Days Gone By" necklace the other day and was drawn to the look of the aged ring on an oxidized chain, but it was the description that really grabbed my attention:

Could it possibly date from the 5th-1st century BC? If so, it would make for a really unique and interesting piece of Irish jewelry. I reached out to the seller/designer, Monica, at Moon Over Maize, begging more details. I didn't quite get a certificate of authenticity; she trusts her supplier's reputation and word, and seems genuinely excited and interested in the ring's history.

Monica's response:
"This is one of my favorite pieces in my shop as it is almost surreal to be connected to such a long ago time. As for the authenticity of the coins, I must take my suppliers word. They have an outstanding reputation and guarantee the authenticity of not only these rings, but all of their high value ancient coins as well.
This is the description they have given about the Celtic rings:
We do not clean our rings - we sell them as they come from hoards and after washing them with warm water to remove the adhering dust. Although they might look nicer while shiny, rings with removed patina (as many sold on eBay) are arguably worthless, since it becomes impossible to authenticate it and prove its' age. Celtic ring money are my most favorite type of artifacts/coins (I bought my first ring when I was a high school kid :-), and we have a huge inventory of authentic ring money. When you buy from us, the authenticity of the rings and your satisfaction are guaranteed."

This article on CalgaryCoin.com suggests that these rings were in fact used to assemble horse harnesses:
"Recently thousands of simple bronze rings, similar to this one, have been sold as Celtic ring money. While there is evidence for the Celts using metal rings as a form of money, all of the types that can be documented as money have fairly complex shapes, and not made of bronze. These rings were junctions joining leather straps to other parts, to assemble a horse harness."

Calgary Coin's argument and supporting images seem to make sense, though I didn't exactly break a sweat in my research. Honestly, I'm not even sure I care whether these rings were used for horse harnesses or to buy horse harnesses; I'd still buy this necklace. It'd make a great gift (ahem, alternative to a cheesy Claddagh necklace!) for its connection to Celtic days gone by. Can't wait for someone to ask me about it ...

1 comment:

Monica said...

I agree, whatever its purpose was does not really matter to me. What I am drawn to is its age and the fact that it was handmade so many years ago.

Thanks for the mention!

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