Choosing a quality gold ring is a wonderful experience for anyone showing their love and devotion to a special person.
But which ring do you choose if you want to symbolize loyalty, love and friendship? As jewellery specialists, we’ll go over the legend of the classic Irish Claddagh ring and explain why this ring is not only beautiful to wear but can become an important family heirloom.
Let’s start with the brief answer, then head into more details.
A Claddagh ring, Dublin Claddagh ring or fáinne chladaigh is Celtic in origin and is a symbol of loyalty, love and friendship. Claddagh rings were often passed from mother to daughter as family heirlooms. The design of the heart, crown and clasped hands is based on the ancient roman Fede ring.
So with the short answer in mind, so we can understand a little more about the meaning of Claddagh rings, we can explain exactly what it is.
What is a Claddagh ring?
There’s no denying that Celtic jewellery is amongst the most legendary and beautiful varieties, but the Claddagh ring is probably the most recognisable and well known.
The traditional design of the best Claddagh rings is associated with Ireland and its people historically but has grown to have meanings throughout other customs and cultures.
‘The Claddagh ring is probably the
most recognisable and well known’
Love, devotion and friendship
The Claddagh ring or fáinne chladaigh is Gaelic in origin and is a traditional style that encompasses love, devotion and friendship.
The ring is traditionally a band with two cupped hands holding a heart with a crown above.
The attractive design of the Claddagh ring has a specific meaning. The crown represents loyalty, the heart is to symbolize love, and the hands are for friendship.
For this reason, a Claddagh ring is a wonderful choice to cherish your loved ones including partners, friends, children and parents.
Often Claddagh rings were passed down in families from mothers to daughters so for this reason, a Claddagh ring is a perfect keepsake or a family heirloom.
Don’t forget that Claddagh rings aren’t just for women, you will be able to buy gents Claddagh rings from the best jewellers in Ireland and across the U.K.
“The crown represents loyalty, the heart is to symbolize
love, and the hands are for friendship.”
Read on to discover more about the heritage of this classic love and friendship ring.
The history of the Claddagh ring
Claddagh rings have an extensive history dating back to Roman times. They are ‘fede’ rings which refer to the clasped hands design which denotes love, friendship or betrothal. Fede rings were popular and originated from Rome or possibly more ancient times. The word ‘Fede’ is Italian and means ‘hands clasped in faith.
Claddagh rings were used as ‘promise’ rings historically, especially across the medieval and Renaissance period in Europe. The Irish version has deep roots in Irish folklore and mythology.
Sometimes known as the Fenian Claddagh, they are often referred to as the Dublin Claddagh ring and were originally made in Dublin during the 1800s. However, the first known Claddagh ring hails from County Galway in the 1700s and was recently restored to its ancestral home!
“They are ‘fede’ rings which refer to the clasped hands
design which denotes love, friendship or betrothal.”
How should I wear my Claddagh ring?
So although rules are made to be broken! There are some traditions on how to wear your Claddagh ring.
- If you are single: The way to wear a Claddagh ring to keep in mind its heritage, is to wear it on your right hand with the crown pointing outwards. Historically this showed potential suitors that the wearer was single
- Those who are in a steady relationship: If your loved one buys a Claddagh ring for you and you are in a long-term relationship, wear it with your right hand and turn the crown inward towards your body. This is the same if you have bought the ring for yourself. The way the ring faces is traditionally so that anyone who wishes to court you, understands your relationship stature!
- How to wear a Claddagh ring if you are engaged: The traditional way to wear your Claddagh ring if you are engaged is similar to when you are single, meaning place the crown pointing outwards, but the defining feature here is that it’s worn on your left hand rather than your right.
- Married Claddagh ring wearers: your ring should be placed on your third finger's left hand with the crown turned inwards towards you.
“The way the ring faces is traditionally so that anyone who
wishes to court you, understands your relationship stature!”
What finger is a Claddagh ring worn on?
If a Claddagh ring is a betrothal or as a wedding symbol, then follow the usual customs of your personal culture. The third finger of the left hand is traditional in most western cultures.
However, it can be worn on whichever finger you personally prefer as a symbol of friendship, love or devotion or even if it’s simply to admire its classic Celtic design. Feel free to experiment and enjoy your Claddagh ring on whichever finger feels right to you.
Which metals are Claddagh rings made in?
Although silver Claddagh rings are very popular, they are also available in a range of metals.
With traditional yellow gold making up over 50% of traditional wedding ring purchases in the U.K., you can rest assured you can celebrate your love for your cherished ones with a gold Claddagh ring.
The choice is extensive. From platinum to rose gold, you will find a Claddagh ring in your favourite precious metal.
Add a birthstone to a Claddagh ring
Traditionally Claddagh rings were only designed in metals but today there is a wide range of Claddagh rings set with gemstones.
Birthstones are an extremely popular addition, which customizes a Claddagh ring for the wearer.
While precious gems such as emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, peridot and other green gems echo the Irish flavour of these classic rings.
Claddagh rings for engagement or wedding rings
You can share your love for your partner with a Claddagh Engagement Ring. Traditionally a Claddagh engagement ring is worn on the left hand with the heart facing outward to symbolize engagement and pointed inward for marriage.
Claddagh engagement rings have proclaimed love, loyalty and friendship for centuries.
Is it bad luck to buy my own Claddagh ring?
Traditionally in Irish folklore, it was considered bad luck to buy your own Claddagh ring. However, in more modern times, superstition has been replaced by a more easy-going approach to this.
You might even like to start your own tradition of all the firstborns in your family buying their own!
Many people also buy their own Claddagh rings as a memento from a trip discovering the beauty of Ireland!
If you have bought the ring for your own use, follow the tips above for how to wear it.
“Many people also buy their own Claddagh rings as a
memento from a trip discovering the beauty of Ireland!”
So we hope that’s given lots of information on the background of the classic Irish Claddagh ring and many reasons to buy one!
Here at our elegant Dublin premises, Gear jewellery has an extensive range of high-quality diamond, gold and silver ring for all occasions.
Book an appointment with our expert in-store diamond experts who will showcase our beautifully carefully curated collection from our latest range of rings.