Behind every beautifully-crafted Claddagh ring is a century’s worth of meaning. Traditionally, Claddagh engagement rings symbolize love, friendship, and loyalty. However, modern times allow for the wearer (and the gifter) to purchase and adorn these rings with whatever meaning they hold closest to them. If you’re planning on popping the question to your soulmate in 2022 with one of these classic engagement rings, here’s a complete guide to Irish Claddagh engagement rings to help you make the best decision.
What Does a Traditional Claddagh Ring Look Like?
If you’re new to Claddagh rings, you might not be familiar with what these look like. However, they are very recognizable due to their unique design. A traditional Claddagh ring features a heart in the center of the band that’s being held up by two hands on either side. The heart in the center of the band is topped with a crown.
Even though Claddagh rings can come in a variety of colors and settings such as diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, rose gold, and white gold, all rings will feature this famous design.
Meaning of Irish Claddagh Rings
As mentioned above, Irish Claddagh rings are meant to symbolize love, friendship, and loyalty. The heart in the center of the ring symbolizes love. The two hands on either side of the heart symbolize friendship. And, the crown represents loyalty. However, did you know that the position of these rings can provide insight into your relationship/marital status, as well?
Claddagh rings that are worn on the right hand with the heart facing outwards mean the wearer is single and looking for a relationship. If the ring is worn on the right hand, but the heart is facing inward (toward the wearer’s own heart), it means they are either not available or in a relationship with someone.
If the wearer is engaged, the Claddagh ring will be worn on the wearer’s left hand with the heart pointed outwards. Once the wearer is married, the heart will be turned to face inward.
Types of Claddagh Rings
As noted earlier, you can get a beautiful Claddagh ring in a variety of stones, however, if you’re looking for an engagement ring, variety is of utmost importance. Fortunately, Claddagh rings offer just that. Here are just a few of the most popular Claddagh engagement ring designs:
- Claddagh rings featuring gemstones: As mentioned earlier, you can customize your Claddagh engagement ring with your soon-to-be fiancé’s birthstone or favorite gems, such as a ruby, diamond, emerald, or topaz. You can either customize the heart itself or add gemstones to the band or top of the crown. There are endless ways to customize rings with colorful, vibrant gems to make your Claddagh ring more personal.
- Claddagh promise rings: Maybe you’re not ready to get engaged. That’s okay! With a traditional Claddagh ring, you can make a promise to one another without having to take the next step in the relationship (at this time). Since a Claddagh ring can hold different meanings throughout different stages of a relationship, buying one as a sign of your commitment to one another is a perfect way to celebrate your love, what you have, and what’s to come.
- Claddagh rings featuring the Celtic Knot: If you’re looking for something traditional or to celebrate your Irish heritage, why not add a Celtic Knot to your engagement ring? The Celtic Knot is one of Ireland’s most revered symbols and is a sign of love, friendship, faith, and even the Holy Trinity. Because of this symbolic meaning, the addition of a Celtic Knot adds a lot of meaning, especially if the country of Ireland holds a special place in your heart.
- A Claddagh necklace: Let’s face it, not everyone prefers traditional jewelry, especially if they have a job or lifestyle that makes wearing an engagement ring impractical. The best thing about jewelry is that it offers a wide range of unique options that are as beautiful and unique as you, your partner, and your love story. So, if you know that your soon-to-be-fiancé would prefer something other than a ring, an engagement necklace is a perfect option. There are necklaces available that are in the traditional Claddagh style. After all, no matter how these symbols are worn, they still represent the same intentions.
History of Claddagh Rings in Ireland
The sentiment surrounding Claddagh rings is just as beautiful and unique as its history. In fact, it’s one of the oldest Irish ring designs, dating all the way back to the 17th century. The Claddagh ring originally belonged to a group of European rings known as “fede” rings, which draws inspiration from the phrase, “mani in fede,” or “hands joined in loyalty.” Legend has it that the Claddagh ring originated on the shores of Galway Bay on the west coast of Ireland. However, it’s rather difficult to pinpoint exactly where the history of the Claddagh rings originated as the years have woven many fantastical tales tailed to its existence.
One of the most prominent legends is that the Claddagh ring was dropped in the lap of Margaret Joyce, a philanthropist who used her money to build bridges in the Connacht province. According to folklore, an eagle dropped the ring in her lap as a symbol of her good deeds. Another common legend is that a prince who fell in love with a maid, designed the Claddagh ring for her to signify his intentions with her. Even though the prince’s father disapproved of the marriage, he reportedly changed his mind upon learning the meaning of the ring.
While those two stories are, indeed wild and fantastical, the more likely story involves a man named Richard Joyce, who was captured and sold into slavery while working in the West Indies. Joyce, who was originally from Galway, learned goldsmithing while in slavery and supposedly created the ring during this time since he had someone waiting for him back home. Rumor has it that upon Joyce’s release, he returned to his true love and proposed with the ring he made.
Make A Statement of Your Love With a Beautiful Claddagh Ring
Whether you want to propose with a traditional Claddagh ring or customize it to reflect your fiancé’s style and personality, there are endless options available at Claddagh Rings Ireland. We have a variety of styles in stock, including rings for both men and women, in styles such as white gold, yellow gold, and silver. We proudly offer free shipping on all items shipped to the UK, Canada, and the United States.
Browse our current best seller Claddagh rings and find the perfect Claddagh ring to celebrate your perfect love story.