Claddagh rings as a contemporary Irish gift

When we think of celtic jewelry, the Claddagh often comes to mind and has been worn by generations living in Ireland and overseas. Not only is it synonymous with celtic rings, the Claddagh has a rich history and its symbolizm is as significant now as it was when it first emerged. Originating in County Galway in the west of Ireland, it is considered that the design was greatly influenced by earlier fede rings which were adorned with the symbol of joined hands.

Symbolism was of great significance upon its creation and the ring, as we know it now, was first produced in the 17th century. The symbol of the joined or meeting hands represented the forging of a union often marriage or engagement but also to symbolize friendship. These rings were extremely popular and were some of the first forms of engagement rings which incorporated decoration or symbolism into their design.

Claddagh rings evolved from this but with a few added features such as the heart to represent love and the crown as a symbol of loyalty. Together these three symbols represent the secret to a perfect relationship, love, friendship and loyalty. With a distinct Irish background, the Claddagh also emerged as a representation of Ireland and a person’s attachment to their homeland and heritage.

As a result of mass emigration during the late 19th and throughout much of the 20th century,  the mystic of the Claddagh was spread all four corners of the globe. Despite its place as a symbol of such cultural significance and meaning, the Claddagh continues to maintain its position as a stylish celtic jewelry accessory or as gifts from Ireland in contemporary life. Not much has changed in terms of relationships throughout the generations and these three symbols are still as relevant today as when it was first created.

Today, the Claddagh allows individuals to reinforce their relationship status simply by which hand it’s worn on and the manner in which they wear it! For those of you who have joined the social media revolution and Facebook, in particular, then you will be aware of how significant the ‘relationship status’ on a profile can be. Single, married or It’s complicated! All of these can be symbolized by wearing the iconic Claddagh.

Claddagh ring

Depending on how you wear your Claddagh ring you could be saying something significant about your love life. It can be worn in four different ways, each of which has a specific meaning! To avoid any mixed signals then simply follow the steps below:

  • On the right hand, with the point of the heart facing towards the hand – Heart is taken and they are in a relationship.
  • On the right hand with the point of the heart away from the hand – Heart is open to love and they are not in a relationship.
  • On the left hand with the point of the heart facing the hand – Married or in a long term relationship.
  • On the left hand with the point of the heart away from the hand – Married but their heart is open to love!

How will you wear your Claddagh ring?


One thought on “Claddagh rings as a contemporary Irish gift

  1. Pingback: The symbols of Celtic Jewelry and its Christian meaning – Part 2 | Irish Gift Ideas

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