Despite my married name of "Smith," my ancestry contains no one from the British Isles. It's basically German, Czech, and Italian. (My father's parents emigrated from the Italian region of Calabria, so there might be some Turkish ancestry in there, too.) Anyway, nothing about my genetic heritage explains my fascination with the Celts. Of course, throw some ancient Roman, Greek, and Viking stuff at me and I'm enthralled by that, too. Just call me easily distracted.
Anyway, my husband and I attended the Celtic Fest in Dayton last weekend. I dearly love Celtic music and often listen to it while working. I like Celtic designs, too. I find something intriguing about those designs, such that I own a few pairs of earrings with distinctly Celtic designs. Irish, Scottish, Welsh--it's all good!
Of course, the British Isles did not rise to fame for their cuisine. My father visited England a few times and returned with nothing good to say about the food he ate there. My oldest and youngest brothers have visited England and Ireland, but they didn't rave about the food, either. Frankly, I've no desire to try haggis or blood sausage. I'm not particularly fond of shepherd's pie, and beans on toast ... no ... just, no. However, the beer ... oh, yeah. And whiskey/whisky. Yum!
Regardless, I had fish and chips for lunch that day at the festival. I grew up with fish and chips from Long John Silver's and detest it. Yuck. But this time it was excellent. I was delightfully surprised, although eating deep-fried food didn't do me any favors. (As a woman of a certain age, I've learned to avoid deep-fried food.)
What really did me in was the jewelry. I enjoy shiny, sparkly things. My taste runs the gamut, from understated elegance to spectacularly tacky. Because I once worked with a woman who sold jewelry at renaissance fairs, I know that most of what's offered at such events is cheaply made stuff manufactured in China, purchased wholesale for pennies per piece and sold for dollars. Still, I looked over the shiny earrings, rings, bracelets, necklaces, and pins offered by the many vendors. Because, you know, shiny and sparkly. I'm a magpie at heart.
Then my eye caught the wares of another vendor. We approached and goggled. Elegant jewelry that looked like an ancient Celtic silversmith's fine craftsmanship. A quick conversation later, I learned that the vendor himself was the craftsman. He made this lovely stuff.
I was smitten.
I like supporting cottage manufacturers, craftsmen, and local businesses. The vendor is from New Orleans, LA, so he's not local, but still ... he made this lovely stuff himself. This is not mass-produced jewelry. So, we're ticking off all my fancies: unique, colored gemstones, precious metal, pretty-pretty-pretty. (For what little it's worth, diamonds don't hold the same allure for me as colored gemstones. You won't buy your way into my heart with diamonds, but offer me emeralds, rubies, aquamarines, amethysts, etc., and I drool.)
I took a deep breath and said we'd be back, because two pieces in particular caught my fancy. We wandered among the other vendors, walking away with a bar of Scottish granola-based something or other and shortbread cookies. We looked at shawls and shawl pins. (I already have a Scottish lambswool wrap in colors that make me think of springtime (love it!), so I don't need another. I also have a selection of brooches--mostly costume jewelry--that work beautifully as shawl pins and don't need any more of those, either.) My gaze swept over rings, but I don't wear rings. We even took a quick look at kilts, because my husband constantly asks me if "today" is "no pants day."
Get a kilt and you won't have to wear pants.
With temperatures in the mid-80s, it was hot. I was sweating in my summer dress and he sweltered in his heavy jeans.
We listened to music: not long enough, but my husband can't sit very long without getting antsy or falling asleep. There's no middle ground for him. We headed back and ended at the jeweler's booth. The bracelet that was still there. No one had purchased it yet, which meant it must be mine. I didn't ask about the price. I also got a pair of earrings.
No one ever accused me of being sensible when it comes to jewelry (or horses). Over the past several years, I have built a collection of earrings and bracelets. I don't often wear necklaces and, as stated, I don't wear rings. Now that collection will expand by one more gorgeous silver-and-garnet bracelet as soon as the jeweler returns home and adds another link the bracelet to accommodate my fat wrist.
Ah, the lure of sparkly things. Come to any event where I'll be and you'll see my wrists and ears festooned with jewelry. Gotta wear it somewhere!