Ram Penannular Brooch
The ram was popular in Celtic art, and was a sacred animal in the Celtic religion. Strong and true, the ram was the leader and protector of the flock. The ram presents a powerful image of strength and sturdiness. Not coincidentally, this is one of the strongest /brooches we make, able to hold even the heaviest of garments.
- Handmade in the USA
- Bronze or Sterling Silver
- Measures Approx. 2 5/8″ (68 mm)
- Ram Head Terminals
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.
The Ram’s Characteristics and Contributions to the Scottish and Irish Economy
Rams are known to be strong, stubborn, and protective. When you get on their bad side, they persistently ram into you. Humans also exhibit this kind of behavior when using a battering ram during war. Many men of honor might desire to acquire these attributes of the ram: strength, protectiveness, and persistence.
Rams, of course, are male sheep. Sheep continue to be an important part of Scottish and Irish economy. Not long ago, spinning and knitting were a vital part of the average Scot’s income. All the kids were taught to knit from a very young age. They would knit jumpers and accessories in order to contribute to the family’s income. This makes the ram an important animal to many families in the recent past. The rams contributed a lot in terms of reproduction to make lambs, lamb haggis, and protection of the flock. Thank the next ram you see at the Highland Games! (We all know the sheep herding demonstrations are the funnest part of Highland Games.)
Scotland continues to provide excellent quality wool goods to luxury brands, as well as our own company: The Celtic Croft. Of course, we can’t forget that the kilt is traditionally made from wool. The Celtic Croft continues to carry kilts made of Scottish milled wool tartan. We also carry tweed vests, jackets, and hats straight from Scotland! The ram is definitely vital to our company as kilt makers. This bracelet honors this fundamental animal.