Several years ago, in early June, a young man came into my shop and asked if we had any jewelry that was symbolic of “fatherhood” or “father and son”. Father’s Day was coming up, so I thought he must be looking for a gift for his own father, but he went on to explain that he was expecting to become a father on the following week.
Now the expectation that there are specific meanings in Celtic knots is folklore of the Celtic Revival more than it is an established language of historically established symbols. As I explained to the young man, to his disappointment, there are some general symbolic themes to all knotwork designs and a few very specific knots, notably crosses and “trinity knots” that have religious significance, Some modern designers have created specific symbols like he sought. But generally the style itself is emblematic of Celtic heritage and the endless weaving ribbon can be seen as a symbol of continuum or the meandering and interweaving paths of our lives. Unfortunately for him, at that time, I had nothing that would satisfy his quest.
But I am not one to shrink from taking artistic license. I have designed other knots to which I attribute names and meaning. This man was obviously very excited and passionate about his new identity as a father, just as being a father, and now a grandfather is very much who I am.
I started sketching out a design and refining it over the next few days. The result combines three symbols: the eternity knot, the heart, and the acorn shape. The eternity knot in the center is framed above and below by masculine angular arcs. The shape suggests an abstract acorn, a traditional symbol of strength and potential, as well as a heart for a father’s unending love. The single continuous strand is symbolic of the never-ending path of fatherhood as the spiritual and physical are woven together.