Why a Claddagh ring has special meaning

Image of Silver Irish Claddagh ring

Out of the many engagement rings you find, none are as unique as the Claddagh ring. It has been around for centuries, yet has never gone out of style. It is elegant, meaningful, and romantic. If you propose with a Claddagh engagement ring, you are certain to make your partner’s heart beat faster.

Its historical origins have been lost to the mists of time. Nobody knows how it came to be. Its distinctive design is loaded with meaning. The band has two hands holding a heart. The hands symbolize friendship, while the heart symbolizes love and the crown symbolizes royalty. A phrase often accompanies it: ‘Let Love and Friendship Reign.’ It is popular with couples who want to carve their own favorite romantic quote.

Once upon a time, the Claddagh ring was restricted to a small community in Ireland. However, today, its popularity is global. Anyone anywhere can buy a Claddagh engagement ring although its cultural heritage will be forever connected to the ancient Claddagh of Galway. If your heart tells you to buy this ring, here are some things you should know when you go shopping.

What is the meaning behind a Claddagh ring? 

These rings belong to a bigger European tradition known as fede rings. The name originates from the Italian phrase, “mani in fede”,  which means “Hands joined in faith”.  However, Claddagh rings have their own history. It gets its name from the Claddagh, Galway. The Claddagh means a seaside village. In Galway, you would find it outside the walls, irregularly built and connecting with other streets. A Catholic-only fishing community, strangers could not settle in this community.

They used the Claddagh ring as a marriage ring. For over four centuries, it was exclusive to them. Even today, it remains popular among them.

There are ancient customs and traditions associated with this ring. For instance, it is bad luck for you to buy your own Claddagh ring. Instead, someone must give it to you as a gift.

how do you wear a Claddagh ring?

Traditionally, it is worn on the ring finger or middle finger. But depending on which hand you wear it and in which direction the ring’s heart points to, it sends a secret message. If you wear it on your left hand, it means a lover gave it to you. If you wear it on your right hand, a family member or a friend gave it. It goes further:

  • Left hand and heart pointing in means that the wearer is in a serious romantic relationship, married even.
  • Left hand and heart pointing out means that the wearer is in a not-so-serious or casual romantic relationship.
  • Right hand and heart pointing in symbolizes that the wearer’s heart belongs to someone else.
  • Right hand and heart pointing out symbolizes that the wearer is single and open to love.

Today, it is a traditional gift among close friends, families and lovers. Interestingly, you do not have to be Irish to wear a Claddagh ring—though it might make you an honorary Irish person.

How is A CLADDAGH RING different from an engagement ring?

Unlike other rings, a Claddagh ring has a distinct design and has cultural meaning and history. Therefore, it is a brilliant alternative to the standard engagement ring, especially if your partner has roots or connections to the Emerald Isle.

What does it look like?

To be a true Claddagh ring, the design must have the hands, heart and crown elements. However, you can have many variations. Therefore, you can get it cut or cast into shape, or moulded or etched into a solid metal band.

When it comes to metal, silver or gold are frequently used. But you can use other metals such as platinum too. In fact, if you want to get particularly creative, you can even get it made out of leather! Primarily men wear heavy, wide rings, while women favor a narrower profile.

Further, customization opens the door to set jewels and gemstones. For instance, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds are popular. Moreover, birthstones are ideal and can be cut in a heart shape to fit the design. While a gem is not necessary, it will certainly add color and life to your ring.

Claddagh rings are a wonderful way to show your affection. When you select the metal and the style, be sure that it matches your partner’s fashion sensibilities and tastes. Your partner is sure to award you bonus points if the ring goes well with their existing jewelry or wardrobe.

 

What is the meaning behind getting or giving a Claddagh ring?

Traditionally, you have to give or receive a Claddagh ring instead of buying one for yourself. It is an appropriate and thoughtful gift for a partner or even a friend on any occasion. It becomes more significant if they have Irish heritage or ties to the Emerald Isle. 

Image of Womens Claddagh Heart Ring in Sterling SilverHow much does it cost?

Your budget’s flexibility will determine the price. You can get a lovely minimalist silver or gold Claddagh ring for as low as $50. If you add gemstones such as diamonds or emeralds, the price will increase. On the pricier end, these rings can go as high as $1,000.

If you desire a lovely stone but wish to save on your budget, perhaps you should consider a synthetic gem. It has the color of a naturally occurring gemstone and comes at a significantly lower and very attractive price.

Whatever you decide, a Claddagh ring will not break your bank. For this reason, it is an attractive alternative to other engagement rings.

How do you pick a Claddagh ring?

Start by picking the ring size style that works for you or your partner. There are four types of Claddagh ring size styles:

For small children choose the Baby size that come in ring sizes 2 to 6. Maids (small) are suited for teenage girls or small women and come in sizes 3 to 9. Meanwhile, Ladies suit the average person in sizes 4 to 10, and Men’s suit the average person in sizes 8 to 13.

Make sure the ring fits comfortably on the finger without causing discomfort. You should always visit your local jeweler’s to get a professional ring size measurement, which will save you the stress of resizing or having to exchange the ring. You should also bear in mind that ring fingers can swell up in warm climates or during pregnancy.

When choosing the type of metal, check that the skin does not react adversely to it.

Image of Diamond Claddagh Ring in Rose GoldFinding and keeping the perfect ring

You need to take some time to pick the perfect Claddagh ring that suits your needs. A little thought goes a long way: You will find your patience hugely rewarded. If you give it the proper care, it can last you a long time. Who knows? One day, you might even pass it down to your children or your grandchildren as an heirloom.

Many couples exchange Claddagh rings at their wedding to bless their marriage as both unique and traditional. An old Irish saying proclaims, “With these hands, I give you my heart and crown it with love.” A Claddagh ring is full of meaning, romance and tradition. If you want to pop the question – if you ask your beloved to spend the rest of their life with you – you want to make it special. You want to make it different. What you want is a Claddagh ring. It is truly extraordinary.

 

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