Celtic Engagement Rings -The Claddagh

The claddagh ring is the most popular design among celtic engagement rings. This design has been around for centuries and is still a favorite for lovers today. This style is very traditional, but some modern interpretations are breathing new life for a new generation.

Love, Friendship, Loyalty

The reason the claddagh is so widely used in celtic engagement rings is because it symbolizes love, friendship, and loyalty. The design features clasping hands with a heart in the center, topped by a crown. The hands symbolize friendship, the heart, love, and the crown is a symbol of loyalty.

While the ring is ideal for an engagement or wedding ring, it is also exchanged among friends or given to a child from a parent. The protocol for wearing a claddagh ring as an engagement ring or wedding ring is to wear it on the left ring finger with the heart facing inward to show that the person is taken.

Legend And Folklore

As with many celtic engagement rings, the story of the first claddagh ring is clouded in legend and folklore.

The name Claddagh refers to a fishing village near Galway. The original design is said to have originated here, supposedly at the hands of Richard Joyce. Joyce is said to have been captured by Algerian pirates and sold to Moors where he apprenticed as a goldsmith.

Legend tells it that while captured, Joyce created the first claddagh ring for his love who he had left behind in his home city. Once he was released, he returned to Claddagh to find the woman he could not forget.

She had not married and so, he presented her with his ring and they were later wed. Joyce remained in Claddagh, working as a goldsmith, recreating his romantic design for others.

Cousins In Design

The claddagh ring is not unlike another, older design, the fede ring. It can be reasonably assumed that the popular celtic engagement rings have evolved from this ancestor.

“Fede” is an abbreviated version of an Italian phrase that means “hands joined in faith”. Fede rings were one of the earliest forms of the engagement ring, dating back to Roman times; they were very popular during the European Renaissance.

Family Heirloom

Celtic engagement rings are often prized by their owners and passed on from one generation to the next. In the 19th century, Sir William Jones published a book Finger-Ring Lore, in which he mentions the claddagh ring saying that it is commonly “transferred from the mother to the daughter who is first [to be] married, and so passes to her descendants. ”

Today, it is not uncommon for celtic engagement rings to be handed down. These rings can be quite old and therefore require special care. If the ring does not have any stones set, a simple polish may be all that is needed. Rings that have diamonds or gemstones set may need attention.

One of the first places for a ring to suffer is on the prongs which may need to be rebuilt. If the ring is set with an emerald, as are many claddagh engagement rings, the stone may need to be either repolished or replaced, as emeralds are very soft and prone to scratching and chipping.

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