What inspires us…
What inspires us… Since the humble beginnings of St Justin back in 1984, Jeremy and his team have been inspired by their surroundings in beautiful West Cornwall. We are going to take a look at how we are inspired, whether it’s recreating ancient symbols, feeling the magic of, or drawing on the natural beauty of, this amazing county. Our skilled craftsmen and women have produced a diverse catalogue of designs that appeal to the traditional and the modern.
Cornwall was home to the ancient Celts who’s art has been discovered carved into stone tombs and on pottery fragments and ornaments. Ancient symbols such as Trisceles and Trefoils are popular designs recreated many times in history and have added meaning.
The trefoil knot is an interlaced triquetra (three cornered) and is also known as a trinity knot. It was used in metalwork, illuminated manuscripts and commonly on crosses in the early Christian period. In Celtic design it is often interpreted as the three realms Land, Sea, Sky. In Christian designs it represents the Holy Trinity. Its modern interpretation is associated with love, honour and protection.
The triscele is commonly found in late Celtic art and is thought to have some Roman influence, although fine examples are found in the native art of Ireland and Scotland. It is thought to represent the three realms of Celtic lore: the past, the present and the future. One of the most popular of Ancient Celtic designs, it survived well into the Christian period, probably because it could also be considered to represent the Holy Trinity.
- Celtic Knotwork
The Celts used knotwork to decorate many of their artifacts. To them, the intricate patterns woven into spirals and knots symbolise the continuity of life. There are still many different knot designs in our catalogue, cast into pewter, bronze and Sterling silver, in fact the pewter square knot is still in the top 10 best selling items.
- Tree of Life
The Tree of life is our most popular design, not only is it beautiful and intricate but it has special meaning. The concept of a tree of life has been used in science, religion, philosophy, and mythology. A tree of life is a common motif in various world theologies, mythologies, and philosophies. It alludes to the interconnection of all life on our planet and serves as a metaphor for common descent in the evolutionary sense.
There are an array of granite standing stones dotted around Cornwall, many of which are ancient Celtic crosses. The majority of our collection of crosses are based on Celtic designs but we have now added some more Christian styles and crosses from around Europe.
- Celtic Cross
The Celtic cross symbolises the bridge to higher energies and planes of existence. It represents the relationship between the celestial realm (vertical axis) and the earthly plane (horizontal axis). The circle around the cross symbolises both the Great Wheel of Life and the solar energy. The tall shafts, like the ancient menhirs and the inscribed stones of the dark ages, represent the union between the earth and spirit, the stones firmly fixed in the earth and reaching upwards to the heavens. In this way it can be seen that Celts easily adapted their ancient religious beliefs to the new ones introduced by Christianity.
- Canterbury Cross
In 1867 a small bronze brooch was excavated in St George’s Street in Canterbury. This cross shaped brooch had a Saxon design and was dated to circa 850AD. A replica, carved in stone, can be seen just inside the SW transept entrance of Canterbury Cathedral.
- Calatrava Cross
Calatrava were an order of monks, turned Knights, who occupied a castle of the same name in 12th century Castile (Spain). They wore this Calatrava cross on their armour in battle against the Moors to protect their territory.
Legends, myths and magic
Living in this beautiful county of Cornwall we are surrounded by tales of myth and magic. Our collection boasts a selection of mythical creatures and symbols associated with enchantment and Celtic legend. Here is an example of some of our most popular:
- Triple Moon
The triple moon is a powerful goddess icon. Symbolising the moon in three phases waxing, full and waning, the triple moon represents the three stages of womanhood – maiden, mother crone.
The triple moon goddess symbol carries strong psychic energy and goddess symbol jewellery is associated with feminine intuition and mystique.
Found in Celtic lore, the pentagram or pentacle, symbol of light to the Druids, represents the five divine aspects of earthly rule: The Stone of Destiny (Lia Fail); The Sword of Lugh; Magical Fiery Spear of Finias; Cauldron of Dagda (Ceridwen) from Murias; the Magical Boat of Manannan the Manx Sea God.
According to many myths, the hare symbolises femininity, longevity and rebirth and is associated with the lunar cycle. The Anglo-Saxons depicted Ostara, the goddess of the moon, fertility and spring, with a hare’s head. Eostre, the Celtic version of this goddess was said to be a shape-shifter who turned into a hare at full moon. Both hares and rabbits were sacred to the Celts and were used for divination and other shamanic practices.
Dragons are often depicted with wings, a serpent’s tail and horns. These three elements symbolise celestial force, earth energy and regeneration. They usually inhabit and control the underworld, the seas and the mountains. Dragons are guardians of power and secret knowledge.
As well as the company ethos being steeped in the history and legend of Cornwall, we have over time looked further afield for ideas. Archaeological studies and discoveries have produced a wealth of designs as well as the readings of ancient civilisations. Many are also closely linked to legend or carry sentiment and luck.
- Chalice Well
This design reflects the beauty and mystery of the cover to the ancient Chalice Well at Glastonbury where, according to legend, Joseph of Arimathea hid the Holy Grail.
- Staffordshire Hoard
On the 5th July, 2009, whilst metal-detecting on farmland in southern Staffordshire, Terry Herbert began to unearth the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever found. Comprising over 1500 items in gold, silver and other alloys and valued at £3.3 million, the collection is thought to date back to the late 7th and early 8th centuries. St Justin has recreated history by producing items inspired by this amazing find.
The use of bind runes is ancient, probably arising almost simultaneously with the use of runes as an alphabet.
Essentially, a bind rune is a symbol composed of several runes overlaid, one on top of another, to form a single character
Flora and Fauna
Cornwall is famous for its natural beauty and amazing light that has attracted artists for generations. The colours of the seas around our coast have lead to us producing a new collection of enamels that reflect the amazing azure colours of the Atlantic Ocean. Just a short drive from us is the picturesque beach at Porthcurno that has become one of the top beaches in the World due to the stunning colours of the water on a hot summers day. Our new Sterling silver collection ‘Glas Mor’ (Blue Seas in the Cornish language) features beautiful glass enamels, each piece is themed around the Cornish coast and items are named after some Cornish Coastal features such as Cribbar which is a reef off the Towan Headland in Newquay, Cornwall.
Our head office is located overlooking Mounts Bay, with St Michael’s Mount as a focal point, the sea is never far away and can occasionally be heard pounding the shoreline. The office and manufacturing premises have been built alongside a large pond and this in itself gives us much inspiration with the tranquillity and the wildlife that surrounds us. Many animals have also been added to our collection as they may hold special affection in our hearts, such as cats, bees and particularly Robins who many believe carry the spirit of lost relatives.
Next year is our 35th Anniversary and, although over the years we have produced a wide range of products, we will continue to gain inspiration from this beautiful part of the world and bring you even more inspirational products – hopefully for many more years to come.