Dal Riata Brooch
Our Dal Riata Brooch celebrates the more Celtic and Pictish elements of this Insular Art style of brooch, with bold interlocking spirals. It is a medium size brooch, measuring just over 2 inches in diameter (53 mm). Perfect for great kilts, ancient kilts, fly plaids, earasaids, renaissance attire, and more. Available in Bronze or Sterling Silver.
- Made in the USA
- Celtic, Pictish, Insular Art Style
- Interlocking Spiral Designs
- Medium Sized Brooch
- Approx. 2″ in Diameter (53 mm)
- Handcrafted in Bronze or Sterling Silver
What is Dal Riata?
Dal Riata (also spelled Dalriada) was an ancient Gaelic kingdom that included parts of western Scotland and northeastern Ireland. According to legend, the three sons of Erc -Fergus Mor, Loarn and Oengus – founded it through conquest sometime in the 6th century AD, and it lasted well into the 8th century. Dal Riata is probably best known for the monastery of Iona, founded by the monk Columba in 563. Iona was a very important center of religion. learning and art, and is credited with the formation of an artistic style known as Insular Art, which combined Mediterranean, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Pictish elements. The Book of Kells, probably produced at Iona, is one of the best examples of this style. Dal Riata was also known for its fine metal work, most notably for a distinct style of penannular brooch.
The History of The Penannular Brooch
Also known as the “Celtic brooch”, the penannular brooch is used to fasten clothes. Our customers often use them to fasten fly plaids, the aprons of ancient kilts, and the extra fabric of great kilts. Jamie Fraser from OUTLANDER wears one to fasten his great kilt (one similar to our Wrought Iron brooch). The name comes from the fact that it is made of an incomplete ring. People associate them with the British Isles of the Early Medieval period the most.
People of Iron Age Europe first used them for the practical purpose of fastening clothing. Elites of Ireland and Scotland from 700-900 owned highly ornate brooches made of precious metal. They are the most significant non-religious metalwork from Early Medieval Celtic art. Celts continued to use more simple brooches, such as a thistle brooch, into the 11th century Viking age in Ireland and Scotland.
Both men and women wore these brooches. The men wore them at the shoulder and women at the breast with the pin pointing up. An Irish law stated that the wearer was not at fault for an injury sustained from the pin of a brooch if the pin is pointed up and does not project too far out.
Elites and clergy in Ireland wore the most elaborate brooches. The clergy likely wore them only for ceremonial purposes to fasten copes and other vestments. An Irish statute stated that sons of major kings that are fostered should wear gold brooches with crystal inserts. The sons of minor kings only needed to wear silver brooches. This means that our 3 Stone Penannular Brooch resembles those worn by the sons of major kings, because of the crystal inserts.