Handfasting was practiced in Northern Europe
as a primary stage to marriage
still practiced into modern times.
“Handfasting” is derived from the verb
used for making a contract of marriage.
The couple is promised for “a year and a day”
as they hand-festa
(Norse:” to strike a bargain by joining hands”).
The rite varies between practitioners
but usually incorporates the participants
to bind their hands together with ribbon or chord;
a physical extension of promises made and kept.
Using a design of two strands creating a combined knot
stronger than the sum of it’s parts.
The bracelets are to be put on during the ceremony
and worn for the “year and a day”;
then cherished as a keepsake when the marriage is preformed.
Many have chosen the bracelets for handfasting
and the rings for the marriage.
The Handfasting Rings
hold the same knot work design
for those people that find the bracelet too cumbersome.
Lovers Knot Ring
I have made another version of the Lovers Knot,
giving it a more “Celtic” feel:
weaving the knot work in to a more intricate design.
Celtic Lovers Knot Ring
If you are looking for a custom piece to be created for you,
I can design a knot work for your Wedding
or Handfasting that would be a “two of a kind” set.
Other Rings may be seen at the
created and developed
by Kirk McLaren
of Amulets by Merlin
This reminds me very little of a story
When I was on the circuit, selling my jewelry at various Festivals and such; I made friends with a great number of people. One of which I will refer to as The Amazon. She was a powerhouse. For many years The Amazon was contracted to run security at many of the festivals we attended. Strong, stalwart and True, she would go about the festival in her golf cart making sure we were safe and on the look out for those who would preform mischief. Accompanied by her faithful companion: her dog would ride shot gun as she would cruse about. Her golf cart was equipped with speakers so she could listen to music and when she was in a hurry would turn it on to Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyries”.
One Event we were on the top of a mountain shaped like a table top for gatherings and such. Some of the attendees were a bit tired of The Amazon cruising by, telling them to pick up their trash and other directives. On a lark one of them discovered The Amazon’s Dog actually learned how to ride and steer the golf cart, and so while the Amazon was busy, one of the culprits coaxed her dog to sit in the driver’s seat, switched on Wagner’s fateful theme and off went the cart, dog and all.
I recall a small crowd of people laughing hysterically as The Amazon chased her faithful companion across the field, heading for a cliff. She did finally catch up as the cart bogged down in a ditch, however the Amazon did in turn chase about a few of the culprits who were punished with “noogies” (her sense of humor was a grand as her laugh).
In the Gathering which followed, her dog often drove about in the cart under the Amazon’s watchful eye. Each time I hear the Valkyries I still envision the flight of the Amazon, fleet of feet chasing down a golf cart toward impending doom.
This weekend I am celebrating my 30th year!
The story of the beginning of Amulets by Merlin actually takes place over a decade earlier. I have been interested in the making of jewelry and sculpture for most of my life. In the early days of High school (1971 I was in a Madrigal group, singing A cappella with a small host of other students. I wanted to make something for the girls to go with their formal gowns. For a few years before I have been beading and creating beads and charms for my own amusement as well as sculpting in clay. For the Madrigal group I decided to forge ahead and fuse bent wire in the shape of the word: “Mads” to be hung on chains. The girls loved them and thus I began a journey in discovering their fabrication end of jewelry making.
As life does for so many of us, I found myself getting married and taking on jobs such as construction and later working as a draftsman, truck driver and other forms of employment. I continued to focus on the arts in sculpture and painting, but still attempted to make rings, and necklaces.
In 1985 I refocused my efforts to to transform images of the Tarot into small sculptures. Because of this fascination I attended (a year later) an exhibition of La Lioue jewelry. I was inspired and in mid April of 1986, I took out my first business license and began to form my own line of jewelry. I then began my public presence in a shop called “The Crystal Cave” in Costa Mesa, California with the blessings of Karen Tate. Slowly I built up my tools and shop.
After a severe accident, I found myself no longer able to drive a truck and so focused on jewelry design full time in 1990, the next year I received training at the Gemological Institute in California. My first big festival was Marshal Scotties Renaissance Fair in Southern California. After several festivals on the west coast I moved to Virginia. By 1992 I completed the jewelry line for the Tarot, also developed a lot more featuring God and Goddess images, natural themes such as trees and flowers. I had also taken on a number of custom pieces. By the time the digital age came into being, better photographs were available to me and by 1998 I started my first online presence, all the while attending art festivals, gatherings and other events up and down the East coast.
After decades of being on the road, I have now focused more on custom designs and staying in my shop as much as possible. You may still view my work at the Mystic Moon in Norfolk Virginia or on line at Amuletsbymerlin.com.
It has been a very long and strange road, indeed. In a couple of weeks I plan to release a new piece! Watch for it, it’s a big one!
A bee rests on a musical notation: the Flat. This carving of a bee poised on the flat sign may be worn as a pendant: the jump ring is hung from her antennae.
The Flat Symbol is used in musical notation to indicate the note being played is to “go down” (in tone) one half step. In a key signature, a single B Flat is the key of “F” or “D” minor.
I have a hive in my yard and have been fascinated by the Bees tending our gardens over the past couple of years. This is my First “Bee Jewelry” offering.
One inch tall, available in Silver or Bronze.
This musical amulet was originally designed as a gift I created for my piano students and the dear ones in my family for Yule.
After waiting a few months I have decided to offer this piece as a part of my musical line of jewelry.
To get yours, please visit my Bee Flat Amulet page,
More musical notation jewelry may be found on my Music Jewelry Page.
You may recall I have been making Isaac Bonewits designs in my jewelry line for some time. I have recently developed his classic Druid Awen as a Brooch.
The Awen Isaac created is more than the simple dot and stave seen in the old writings: this is a wreath of oak leaves with the Mesopagan Druid symbol of the “three rays of light” emanating from three acorns and staves (like wood) completing the design.
I have augmented the piece by making it a functional Penannular Brooch. the Brooch Frame is of knot work of my own making with a pin mounted and able to “travel” around the frame.
To learn how to use a Penannular Brooch and learn more about this new piece, please visit my page The Awen Penannular Brooch.
To see more of my designs of Isaac Bonewits, please view my Bonewits Collection.
As many of you already know, I have been producing the designs of Issac Bonewits featuring the Awen. In his design, the symbol is of three acorns (the source of light) with three staves (the emanation of the Light) framed in a wreath of leaves. The original amulet is about an inch tall. Since then I have developed the design into a larger version of the Awen of an inch an a half and a smaller version I am using to hang from Shepard hook earrings. This year I have gone even smaller, about 3/8 of an inch and attached a stud for pierced ears.
When you go to my website, you may find the entire collection of Isaac’s designs which include the Sigil, a Pentacle which he named “Spells for Democracy“, an amulet of Dagda’s Shield, Dagda’s Club, as well as the Awen pendant designs. I have also expanded his collection to include an Awen Ring.
Originally designed by Isaac Bonewits, interpreted, developed and produced by Amulets by Merlin. Available in single and pairs.
On this page is the new link for the Awen Stud Earrings which may be purchased one at a time or in pairs. To get your Awen Stud Earrings, you may go to the special ordering page – available in Sterling silver.
For more Druid Jewelry please visit my Druid Jewelry Page.
Two serpentine dragons in one amulet, facing each other and holding a stone between them; the settings are in the shape of dragon’s teeth. Their wings frame the piece touching on top and below. Their claws weave their magic between them.
Twin Dragons Amulet
This Amulet of Dragons is about a balance of energy suspended in mid air. Fierce dragons are known to fight each other, however these twin dragons hold their own space to provide a balance for each other: recognizing their differences, they support each other in flight, speaking to each other they credit each others perspective. They are the balance of opposites, yet seem exactly alike: their scales, position and movement are dissimilar and because of those differences, support each other. This amulet is a reminder of how opposites attract, how different views expand perspective and how diversity strengthens us all.
The Twin Dragons Amulet is one and a half inch tall amulet is designed for a stone set between each other and comes with an 18” chain permanently attached at the wings.