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New: Four-Point Celtic Knot Pendant Design

Amulet of Mara Celtic Necklace

I got a request from a customer to create a pendant that they were unable to find anywhere else. They had a photo of a similar four-point Celtic knot pendant, but it was not in silver. They found me through Shapeways’ Designers For Hire project. They chose me because they had seen that I had created similar pendants already.

Designing The Pendant

This was a challenging piece for a couple reasons. First, they wanted a gem in the center. I have not worked much with gems, although it is something I want to practice and learn. Second, they wanted the piece to be only slightly bigger in diameter than a quarter. Cramming the details into that small of a space would be a challenge. Third, it had a series of four infinity knots that had to be at a lower depth than the four main points that were out front.

After studying the picture I created an initial version of the design with Blender. I knew the first version was not perfect, but I uploaded it to Shapeways anyway. This allowed me to use their model checking tools to see what areas might have problems. I found that some of the details were were being treated as “walls” which were too thin to be made with 3D printing. To address those issues I put a “backing” on the thin wires that come out of the outside of the circle. This basically made it so they would be treated as details coming off of a wall. “Details” have a different set of design guidelines than “walls”. Making the piece larger also helped, so that I could make everything a bit thicker and easier to 3D print.

The customer had picked out a 5mm diameter cabochon to put in the center, and the initial version did not have quite enough space in the center for it. So that was another reason to make the pendant a bit larger. With those things in mind I created a second version of the pendant. This time it passed Shapeways’ model checks. I then shared pictures with the customer to make sure they liked the design. Once they gave their approval, I ordered the piece in silver. I already had the cabochon on hand, so when the pendant arrived I was able to put everything together.

The Final Product

Overall I’m happy with how it turned out. I had done a design or two before with a four-point Celtic knot, but what makes this piece really eye-catching are the four infinity knots that are in the background. Those really add another level of complexity to the design.

After doing this, I’m interested in doing more designs with gems and especially cabochons now. The cabohon was easy to work with since it has a flat back. They are much easier to mount than a princess cut gem would be, for example.

One minor problem is that the prongs for the cabochon got polished down so they were shorter than I had hoped. I had planned to use glue to mount the gem anyway, in addition to the prongs. So, the prongs are not doing much to hold the cabochon, but they did locate it nicely in the center of the pendant.

Meaning Of A Four-Point Celtic Knot

I’m not sure if this symbol has any special meaning to the customer, but a four-point Celtic knot can symbolize a few different things. It could symbolize:

  • The four directions North, South, East, West (in fact the piece looks a bit like a compass)
  • The four seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter)
  • The four ancient elements (Earth, fire, wind, water)
  • The four phases of life (birth, growth, death and transformation)
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D&O Celtic Jewelry Featured in Local Pittsburgh Magazine

Katie C'Etta

I did a recent collaboration with actress and model Katie C’Etta. She had spotted some of my jewelry on Instagram and reached out to me about working together. After learning a little bit about Katie, I quickly realized it was a unique opportunity that I should not pass up.

Katie is involved in a lot of different things. She has three films in the works, has appeared in commercials and has modeled for many different brands. She also has her own blog where she features local fashion and other projects she is working on. You can see one of her short films on Vimeo. It is called Circles and was directed by Reese Hayes.

Katie C'Etta Local Pittsburgh Magazine
Katie C’Etta  in Local Pittsburgh Magazine

She featured the Dragonfly Necklace and Triquetra Bracelet in her Instagram account. It was also featured in a photo shoot she did with Local Pittsburgh magazine. The photo featured the Dragonfly necklace is on page 53. I’m told that Local Pittsburgh is the top local magazine in Pittsburgh. This is pretty exciting because it is the first time one of our pieces has appeared in a print magazine. The jewelry will also appear on actress Emily Goode in the upcoming film The Way That I Am, which is tentatively planned to be released in 2017. That will also be a first. I will share more about that as I learn more about the film and when it will be released. You can read more about Katie and track her budding career at her web site.

As I said, this was another collaboration that originated from Instagram. Instagram has been great for finding people like this that have a common interest, and that I can work with in a way that is beneficial to both of us. I wrote about what Instagram can do for budding artists and small businesses in this earlier post.

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New Pendant Designs Available

Celtic Sisters' Knot Necklace

I recently designed three new pendants, each with a different inspiration.

Celtic Sisters’ Knot

The Celtic Sisters’ Knot is one that I’d been meaning to do for a long time. My most popular pendants seem to be ones that symbolize family in one way or another, such as the Motherhood Knot, Father’s Knot, and Mother and Child Knot. This is my version of this knot.

Celtic Sisters' Knot Pendant
Celtic Sisters’ Knot Pendant

Anchor Pendant

I was inspired to create this when I read a quote that said “Hope is the anchor of the soul.” I really liked the idea of the anchor as a symbol of hope. It’s not intuitive but it still seems to work. This phrase is inspired from a Bible passage, Hebrews 6, verses 16 to 20. Here is the full passage from the New International Version:

16People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Anchor Pendant
Anchor Pendant

Bleeding Rose Shield Pendant

This was inspired from various tattoos I have seen, and also from the Dropkick Murphys album cover Signed and Sealed In Blood. I really liked the image of a bleeding rose and wanted to understand what it meant.

Obviously, the rose is a symbol of love. Some would say that a bleeding rose is supposed to symbolize the idea that love can outlive death. This idea goes way back actually, all the way to Greek mythology. The rose was a symbol associated with Aphrodite, who was often depicted wearing them. Adonis was her lover. There is a legend that a rose bush grew where he died and his blood had spilled, and that before that roses were white and not red.

The Celtic Knot around the border of the shield is also another reference to this idea – two loops are intertwined and don’t have a beginning or an end. Celtic art and Celtic knots often border on goth style in a lot of cases. This one is probably the most goth design I’ve ever done. It took a long time to figure out how to make the rose intricate enough to be somewhat realistic, but also robust enough that it could actually be 3D printed.

Bleeding Rose Shield Pendant
Bleeding Rose Shield Pendant
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Septagram Symbol Meaning

Recently, someone asked me to create some pendants of the septagram symbol. This piqued my interest. I became curious about the meaning behind the septagram symbol.

Keep in mind that some may refer to the septagram as a heptagram. You will find in all of the sections below that the septagram represents groups of seven. It often represents completeness or wholeness.

Biblical Meanings Associated With the Septagram

As you may already know, the number seven is used many times throughout the Bible. In most contexts the number seven represents completeness or wholeness. It can mean both physical or spiritual wholeness.

According to the Bible, God created the Universe in seven days. The seventh day was the Sabbath. Also, Isaiah 11:2-3 describes seven Gifts of the Spirit:

2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—

3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

The seven gifts are wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord and delight in the fear of the Lord.

Less pleasant to think about are the seven deadly sins. Those are lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy and pride. Some believe Revelations 16 says that seven plagues will herald the end times.

Septagram As An Occult Symbol

For centuries, astronomers knew of only seven other planets than Earth. They were called “wandering stars”. They were: Sun, Moon, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mercury and Mars. The Sun and Moon occasionally were eclipsed. Also, the Moon would go through phases. The other five “wandering stars” were a lot more distant. All of the normal stars moved in a straight arc every night. The five “wandering stars” appeared in different places every night, and did not move in an even arc like the others. Their position relative to Earth changed as they went around the Sun. Because there were seven known planets, the number seven and the septagram became another symbol of the completeness of the Universe.

The names of the days of the week also come from these seven original planets.

Modern pagans adopted the septagram as their symbol. It is sometimes called the “Elven Star”.

Finally, some believe it represents seven directions – North, South, East, West, Above, Below, and Within.

Septagram As A Symbol of Alchemy

Before I read about this, I thought that Alchemy was about trying to convert common metals into valuable metals. The classic example is the attempt to turn lead into gold. That is known as physical alchemy. However, there is a belief that the same steps of Alchemy can apply to a spiritual transformation for a person, known as Spiritual Alchemy. This is by far the most interesting meaning to me.

The Seven Steps of Physical Alchemy

  1. Calcination – The alchemist burns the material to ashes. This breaks it down to a uniform state of decomposition.
  2. Dissolution – The alchemist dissolved the ashes in water in this step.
  3. Separation – The alchemist filtered the material and discarded any undesirable material.
  4. Conjunction – The alchemist combined the leftover materials into a new substance.
  5. Fermentation – The alchemist introduced yeast or bacteria to convert sugars to acids, gases or alcohol.
  6. Distillation – The alchemist boiled the solution to increase its’ purity and potency.
  7. Coagulation – The is the precipitate or sublimation to solid form of the purified result of distillation. This solid was called the philosopher’s stone. This was the legendary stone that could turn lead into gold.

The Seven Steps of Spiritual Alchemy

  1. Calcination – A person reaches a low point due to personal loss or suffering. This creates a need to undergo a spiritual transformation.
  2. Dissolution – The person breaks down internal barriers and reveals buried problems or burdens.
  3. Separation – The person discards problems and burdens and gets back to their true essences.
  4. Conjunction – The person recombines the essences into new belief system. For example, the person could combine masculine and feminine sides, or conscious and subconscious.
  5. Fermentation – The person goes through a process to become inspired. They could use prayer or meditation to achieve this.
  6. Distillation – The person goes through another cleansing process. The intent is to make sure no remnants of the problems or burdens are carried forward to the final stage.
  7. Coagulation – The individual unifies mind, spirit and body into a state of enlightenment.

I summarized these seven steps from these two sources:

Also, some call the process of alchemy Magnum Opus. There are four main stages. However, people often expand these to more stages, such as the seven described above.

Finally, alchemists chose seven metals, again based around the planets:

  • Gold = Sun
  • Silver = Moon
  • Copper = Venus
  • Iron = Mars
  • Tin = Jupiter
  • Mercury = Mercury
  • Lead = Saturn

Other Uses of the Septagram

Occasionally, heraldry uses the septagram symbol. Anything from flags to uniforms can use the septagram. One example is the Flag of Cherokee Nation. Coat of Arms, family crests, and other similar symbols sometimes use the septagram. A few police forces use a septagram shape for their badge. Some people researched why many police forces use stars as badges. It doesn’t sound like there was much reason behind it. The main reason so many chose a star as a police symbol was because it was simple and fairly easy to make.


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D&O Celtic Jewelry 2015 Recap

Claddagh ring - from Instagram

I started out in the summer of 2012 not knowing really anything about 3D printing or jewelry design or internet marketing or anything really. I try to remember that I basically started from nothing and keep a humble view of this business. I do these year-end recaps more to keep myself motivated than to try to brag. However, 2015 was a really good year so it’s hard not to brag a little.

New Designs

In 2015 I did not really have to think very much about what I should be designing next. I had a steady stream of customers reach out to me to ask me to design something for them. I then could take these designs and list them and try to sell them to other customers. A couple of them have proved to be pretty popular. Here are the new pendants that I designed on request for customers this year:

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I made a conscious effort this year to reach out and collaborate with others in a mutually beneficial way. I reached out to other jewelry designers and people getting into modeling. I would send them jewelry. They’d post pictures of themselves wearing it to social media or web sites. Then I’d also post the pictures to my various sites to return the favor and gain them a little exposure. This got my jewelry in front of different audiences. Many of these people I collaborated with provided me with great, great pictures that I could use on my own web sites and social media. This was something I think I sorely needed. Before this year I just didn’t have many pictures of people wearing my jewelry.

A lot of this interaction and outreach happened on Instagram. I just joined Instagram in January of this year. Through outreach and interaction I was able to gain over 2,100 followers. It’s hard to know how much traffic was driven to my site from Instagram, but it had to have helped. It was also a source of some new ideas. A few of the custom pendants came from customers I met on Instagram.

One really neat moment from this year was I was searching Instagram for topics related to Celtic jewelry. I came across someone who had posted a picture of one of my Claddagh Ring designs. It turned out that it had been used as an engagement ring.

Here are some pictures of people who were awesome enough to share pictures of them wearing my jewelry in 2015:

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Site Traffic

At this time last year I spent a lot of time trying to optimize my web site for search engines. I settled on the WordPress layout that I currently have. The Yoast SEO plugin has been indespensible for this effort. I did a lot of keyword research at the same time which I think helped in some regards.

Another thing I did during my outreach was building some backlinks to my site. I think that probably had a big impact on where I ranked in searches. I also tried to blog on a somewhat regular basis, although that proved to be hard at times. It’s hard to know though which of these SEO tactics worked, or if it was a sum of all of them. The biggest traffic driver to this site are people searching for the meaning of various Celtic symbols.

In any case, the traffic to this web site nearly tripled in 2015 over 2014. Some of that is to be expected since in 2014 this site was still in its’ infancy to a large extent. In January and March I did a couple giveaways that drove a ton of traffic. After doing those giveaways my traffic hit kind of a bottom in April. The thing that surprised me though was that traffic increased every single month after that this year. By October, I was getting more organic traffic than I did in January or March which were boosted by giveaways.


My total number of sales increased by 42% over last year. To me that is really important but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Last year I did a lot of craft fairs that really contributed a lot. About 40% of my sales last year were at those craft fairs. This year, I only did one craft fair and barely made any sales. I focused all my energy on online sales. My online sales increased by more than double (237%!). So this more than offset the lack of sales at craft fairs.

The main reason for this was that I opened an Etsy shop. Last year I was not on Etsy at all, which was probably an oversight. I tried Etsy back in 2012 and 2013 and did not make a single sale. So I gave up on it for a while. Someone recommended I give it another shot. I got on Etsy again in January and started to make some sales. In all, Etsy accounted for a little over half of my online sales this year.

The number of sales through my Shapeways shop was up only slightly, but my revenue from Shapeways was up 83%. People were buying more expensive items. A big chunk of this increase was due to three ring sales where the customers purchased the rings in solid gold.

Finally, the number of sales from this web site was still pretty modest. It only accounted for about 15% of all my sales, but I did double the number of sales from my web site over last year. This shouldn’t be a surprise since traffic increased so much. My ultimate goal is to keep growing sales through this site.

Coming In 2016

One thing I came across during all my interactions were bangle bracelets. I’ve already made three of my designs available in a bracelet version and if it proves to be popular I may offer more.

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