A report by CNN estimates that 2.8 million couples get engaged in the U.S. each year. That's a lot of rings to choose from. With so many options on the table, it's no wonder unique rings like Claddagh are gaining popularity for engagements and weddings.
If you're planning to pop the question with one of these, there are some important things you should know first. Lucky for you, this guide will take you through everything you need to know about the Claddagh engagement ring. Keep reading to learn more about this Irish symbol of love.
1. Claddagh Ring Meaning: What Is a Claddagh Ring?
The Claddagh ring has a unique design featuring two hands holding a heart topped with a crown. This iconic imagery carries important symbolic meaning.
The hands represent the friendship between two people. The heart signifies the love they share. The crown shows their loyalty and commitment to each other.
These Claddagh features create a meaningful symbol of devotion and unity. The hands holding the heart show how friendships can develop into romantic partnerships. The crown demonstrates fidelity and everlasting loyalty in the relationship.
This special imagery gives the Claddagh ring deep significance. The rich heritage behind the distinctive shape makes it a special choice for engagements and weddings.
Knowing the sentiment behind each part of the design helps you better appreciate the beautiful meaning of Claddagh rings. This makes selecting one for your proposal even more special.
2. How to Wear the Claddagh Ring
Claddagh rings can be worn on different fingers to indicate relationship status. Wearing it on the right hand with the heart facing outward shows the wearer is single and open to finding love. The outward heart shows it is available to be given away.
If the heart faces inward toward the body on the right hand, it means the person's heart has been captured. When worn on the left hand facing outward, it indicates engagement. The left hand facing inward signals marriage.
These traditional guidelines let you use the Claddagh ring to elegantly convey relationship status. It transforms the ring into a symbolic messenger of your love life. Knowing how to wear it properly preserves the lore around the Claddagh.
3. The History of the Claddagh Ring
The origins of the Irish Claddagh jewelry date back to 17th-century Ireland. The most notable legend credits Richard Joyce, a fisherman from Galway, with fashioning the first ring.
Joyce was captured by pirates and sold into slavery where he created the ring design for his loved one back home. After gaining freedom, he returned to Galway and produced Claddagh rings as a goldsmith.
Another tale attributes the ring to Margaret Joyce, Richard's mother. As a thank you for assistance, an eagle dropped gold coins into her lap which she used to create the first ring.
Regardless of its exact origins, the Claddagh gained popularity in Ireland as a wedding ring. The motif reflects values like loyalty and friendship that people want to represent in their marriage.
Originally worn by common folk, claddagh rings eventually became treasured by royalty like Queen Victoria and King Edward VII. The design remains an iconic symbol of love and Irish heritage.
4. Choosing the Right Metal
Claddagh rings come in a variety of metals, so you'll want to choose one that aligns with the style and needs of your partner. The most traditional option is gold. A 14k or 18k gold piece provides a stunning, timeless look. The yellow tone elegantly brings out the details of the ring's motif.
For a more affordable alternative, many opt for sterling silver claddagh rings. The silver creates a cool, vintage vibe. The material is also highly durable - those with skin sensitivities may prefer hypoallergenic metals like platinum or titanium.
The color of the metal also determines the overall aesthetic. Rose gold has a unique romantic blush hue.
White metals like silver, platinum, and white gold exude a more modern, sleek look. Determine which finish best represents your partner's style before deciding on the metal for your Claddagh ring.
5. Finding the Right Fit
More than traditional engagement rings, Claddagh rings require careful attention to sizing. The distinctive shape and bands on these rings mean they usually can't be resized after purchase. Make sure to determine your partner's accurate ring size before selecting a Claddagh wedding ring.
If you want the size to remain a surprise, borrow one of their existing rings and have it sized by a jeweler. Or sneakily trace the circumference of their finger on a piece of paper when they aren't looking. There are even adjustable Claddagh rings with sizing beads to allow for minor alterations after wearing.
6. Choosing Meaningful Design Details
Claddagh rings feature an array of engraved decorations that add symbolic meaning. Styles with a plain sterling silver or gold band spotlight the basic hands, crown, and heart imagery.
Some integrate stones like diamonds or birthstones into the heart design. Etched patterns like trees, stars, knots, and gems each have individual significance.
Consider your shared interests and values to select meaningful embellishments. For example, an infinity knot pays tribute to everlasting love. An engraved landscape reflects a favorite travel locale.
Adding these special motifs makes the ring more unique to your relationship. They infuse your love story into the ring's heritage design.
7. Finding a Reputable Retailer
With Claddagh rings gaining popularity, there are now many retailers to choose from. Take time to research different jewelers that carry Claddagh styles. Read through customer reviews and check ratings to gauge the quality of service.
Some retailers offer traditional designs straight from Irish artisans, while others have a selection of Claddagh jewelry and rings. You can even opt for customized options through designers that allow you to choose the metal, band, and embellishments.
Finding a reputable jeweler ensures you'll have a positive purchasing experience. Take your time exploring different retailers until you find the perfect one that fits your preferences. The right jeweler will help you select a meaningful ring within your budget.
Find Your Perfect Claddagh Engagement Ring
CladdaghRing.com offers a wide selection of authentic Irish Claddagh rings. Our sterling silver and traditional styles are made in Ireland, ensuring authenticity. Browse now to find the perfect Claddagh engagement ring for your loved one.