About St Justin
Each piece of St Justin jewellery and giftware is crafted by hand and eye in Cornwall, the South West extremity of Britain. This wild and beautiful land was home to the many native Celts who were driven away from the temperate midlands of Britain by invading European warriors, such as the Angles of Northern Germany. It is in places such as Cornwall, Wales, Ireland and Scotland that the art of the Celts and ancient Britons has survived, carved into stone tombs and discovered on pottery fragments and ornaments.
The venerable alloy of pewter is made of 92% tin, with copper and antimony to harden it and enhance casting. During most of the 20th century the tin used to make pewter was mined in Cornwall where the majestic granite steam engine houses dominated the landscape. Today, sadly, Cornish tin mining is no more and the picturesque ruins of our industrial past add to the romance and mystery of Kernow.
Pewter rose in popularity during the Middle Ages, replacing wooden tableware in well-to-do households. Enduring and malleable, it acquires an attractive patina with age, and can be fashioned into almost any form desired. Unrivalled until the 19th century, pewterware was exported to all the corners of the world during the grand days of the British Empire. Its quiet dignity and venerable history makes it the material of choice for St Justin’s noble jewellery and giftware.
At St Justin, the distinguished tradition lives on. High quality pewter ingots are fused in a crucible and the molten metal is poured into the rubber moulds created from the artist’s original sculpture. After cooling and linishing, the items are hand-polished and painted by skilled craftspeople, before clips and other findings are spot-welded into position.
The result is a gift of great beauty and craftsmanship - an object of art to treasure forever.
The Celtic deities were bold, noble, beautiful and daring, representing mythic archetypes clear to us from modern day psychology. It is thought that the legends and stories of the Celtic Gods were used to teach and inspire, much as the Bible is used today. The Celts thought themselves to be potentially existent in all worlds, in the sense that they related to each part of their cosmology. It was considered easy to pass between the worlds of the created realms and the Otherworld. The Otherworld in Celtic myth exists alongside and entwined with the real world. This is represented in the spirals and continuous knotwork of Celtic Art, which also represent the continuity of life.
Sacred to Celtic religion was the number three and its compound number, nine. Great importance was given to these triplicates, and this is seen particularly in Celtic triscele designs.
As the years went by, religious scholars and monks adopted the traditions of Celtic art, creating illuminated texts such as the Lindisfarne Gospels. Their work exemplifies the simple sophistication of form and from their creations are drawn many of St Justin’s favourite designs. As Christian beliefs spread across the world, the Celtic cross evolved, with the circle that surrounds the cross symbolising the “great wheel of life” – a belief that pre-dates Christianity. These carved stone crosses are scattered throughout the country and are a common site in our Churchyards today.
Celtic art reverberates through the centuries, identified by the simple sophistication of form and an indefinable feeling for the rightness of things. Modern interpretations of Celtic tradition have given us the Arts and Crafts movement and the era of Art Nouveau, where the ancient Celtic Belief in elegance of form and a reverence for the Earth and its creatures is apparent in the work of artists from many nations. Our range includes products inspired by the work of Scottish designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Isle of Man designer Archibald Knox, and Czech designer Alphonse Mucha.
The result, as given form by St Justin in pewter, bronze, silver and Cornish tin, is not only a recreation of the past, but a continual evolving of living art, created by modern craftsmen for the people of today.