Were Argyle gravy jugs named after the Duke of Argyll?

Inveraray castle kitchen, ArgyllIf you’ve heard of an argyle gravy jug, you’ll know it’s a pot with a double wall. Hot water goes into the cavity between the outside and inside, and creates an insulating jacket to keep the gravy warm. They were popular in wealthy British households in the later 18th century, a period of elegant dinners [more…]

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Can a luckenbooth brooch have a heart but no crown?

antique luckenbooth brooches - Anstruther-Duncan collectionMost luckenbooth brooches sold today are heart-shaped with a crown above. Sometimes the design is a pair of interlocking twin hearts.  But it wasn’t always so. This kind of traditional Scottish brooch could be a very simple outline heart, as you can see in some museums. So don’t take it as a rule that only [more…]

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What are trade dollars and pieces of eight?

trade-dollarsTrade dollar is a general term for many similar sized coins once used in China and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Originally, the trade dollar was the Spanish or Mexican silver eight reales coin (also called a peso), familiar in Pacific trade through the Spanish colonies since the 17th century. The term dollar comes from the [more…]

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Which celebrities have been given a claddagh ring?

Claddagh rings - photo by Athena - CC-BYWhen Buffy the Vampire Slayer script writers put a claddagh ring on Sarah Michelle Gellar’s hand in 1998, millions of Buffy and Angel (David Boreanaz) fans began to take an interest in this traditional Irish love ring. The internet has added to that new wave of popularity with thousands of sites explaining how to wear [more…]

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What is meant by ‘authentic’ Celtic jewellery?

Torcs like these necklaces were worn 2000 years ago in Celtic cultures - photo by Helen Etheridge - CC-BYDictionaries say authentic means genuine, but how much does that help when browsing Celtic jewellery stores? A strict interpretation of the word would leave us nothing but ancient gold, silver, and bronze belonging to museums. Many people choosing this kind of jewellery simply want pieces influenced by Celtic traditions in tune with their beliefs and [more…]

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