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Beautiful Claddagh Jewelry for Irish Lovers

Updated on August 11, 2017
Romantic Irish Claddagh Rings for St. Patrick's Day (or Valentine's Day)
Romantic Irish Claddagh Rings for St. Patrick's Day (or Valentine's Day) | Source

Claddagh Design

The Claddagh is a heart, crowned, being held by a pair of hands. The center heart may be represented by a stone but is typically made of metal.

What is the Claddagh?

Originating in the Irish fishing village of Claddagh, the Claddagh ring is a symbol of love, loyalty and friendship. The symbolism is inherently Irish, often coupled with Celtic designs on the "arms" of the hand (or the ring part). Though other jewelry has stemmed out of the Claddagh, it is traditionally a ring because its shape lends itself to this kind of design.

The Claddagh design has become popular in England and the United States as well as in Ireland and it is a design you may see worn frequently. It can also be worn as a wedding ring by those who choose this traditional symbol.

Gold Claddagh Ring
Gold Claddagh Ring | Source

Tips for Wearing Claddagh

  • Singles should wear the ring on their right hand.
  • Singles who aren't dating should wear the heart turned out (toward the fingertip).
  • Singles who are dating should wear the heart turned in (toward the palm).
  • Engaged people should wear the ring on their left hand with the heart facing out.
  • Married people should wear the ring on their left hand with the heart facing in.

How to Wear a Claddagh Ring

How to Wear a Claddagh Ring

The symbolism of the Claddagh ring is beautiful, and the rings are intended to be worn in a very specific way. Claddagh rings themselves send a message to the non-wearer about the status of the person who is wearing the ring.

If you wish to take part in the beautiful symbolism of the Claddagh ring, consider the following.

Both men and women may wear the Claddagh, and it comes in versions for both genders and in all sizes. You'll find several recommendations on this page, but browsing through a jewelry store or even Amazon should produce good results for both men and women in designs that will suit either gender.

The Claddagh may be worn by singles, dating singles, engaged people and married people, but in each case the symbolism is different. See the wearing tips to the right for how to wear your Claddagh ring.

Claddagh bangles make a good addition to the ring as they can be worn in the same way. Other jewelry is not traditional, however, and isn't preferred.

Claddagh Ring Positions and Their Meanings

Right Hand
Facing Out
Single -- Looking
Right Hand
Facing In
Single -- Dating
Left Hand
Facing Out
Left Hand
Facing In
The Claddagh ring, worn on the left hand with the heart pointed toward the palm means this woman is married.
The Claddagh ring, worn on the left hand with the heart pointed toward the palm means this woman is married. | Source

Buying a Claddagh Ring

While the Claddagh can be used as a wedding or engagement ring for people of either gender, it you may also choose to purchase your own Claddagh ring. After all, it is sometimes worn by singles to denote their single status!

Claddagh rings offer a lot of choice in their appearance. Some have wider bands while others have narrow bands; some are inscribed and others aren't. You may like the look of the rings which include a celtic knot design along the band of the ring, or you may prefer something that focuses on the traditional heart, crown and hands design.

Consider when purchasing your ring that they vary in price from surprisingly inexpensive (as little as $2.99 on Amazon) to quite expensive at about $700 (on Amazon). Make sure that what you're purchasing is worth the price that you're paying. It's advised to look for genuine gold or sterling silver instead of lesser metals.

Some rings come with gemstones inserted into them for the heart. If you choose to purchase one of these, ensure that the price you're paying is market value for the stone you've chosen. Diamonds, emeralds and rubies are generally more expensive than other gems, for example.

If purchasing a Claddagh ring for a girlfriend or boyfriend, please skip the stone unless you're absolutely certain that it suits your partner!

Men's Claddagh Ring
Men's Claddagh Ring | Source

What to Look For

  • No Crown Over the Heart
  • No Hands -- Hands Replaced with Celtic Knot or Braid

Your Claddagh should include the heart, the hands and the crown!

Non-Traditional Claddagh Designs

If you're looking for a Claddagh ring, particularly if you're using the internet in your search, you're going to run into some designs that aren't traditional. These include the designs which are listed to the right, among other possible "failures."

A true, traditional Claddagh ring includes the heart in the middle, the hands holding the heart, and the crown over the heart. If your ring is missing one of these pieces, it isn't traditional. While it's entirely your choice, these rings may convey a different message and should probably be avoided as gifts for your lover.

The Claddagh Symbolism

A Claddagh Ring with Celtic Twist and Hands
A Claddagh Ring with Celtic Twist and Hands | Source

Reasons to Choose Claddagh

  • Women can offer a Claddagh engagement ring to their boyfriends.
  • Claddagh rings are less expensive than traditional diamond solitaires.
  • They double as both the engagement and the wedding ring.
  • This is a very traditional wedding ring for people of both genders.

Why Choose a Claddagh Engagement Ring?

Perhaps many women desire to have a traditional engagement ring with a diamond solitaire. This is negligible, as more and more women are opting to take a more feminist approach or to be less traditional in general, but it seems that the media would have us believe that most women want traditional wedding and engagement rings.

There's nothing wrong with that.

But why can't a woman pop the question to her man? And if she chooses to, should she do so with a ring in hand? Should she wish to offer a ring to her boyfriend at the time of proposal, a pair of Claddaghs makes an excellent choice, as both partners can wear their ring to represent their relationship with one another.

The Claddagh also makes a good choice for a woman's engagement and wedding ring for three reasons (listed to the right). If your girlfriend doesn't worry about the "bling," this is an excellent alternative that will make her feel loved and connected to tradition.

How to Measure Your Ring Finger

Claddagh Rings Make Great Gifts!

Claddagh rings make incredible gifts for any gift-giving occasion. This article has been compiled in time for St. Patrick's Day (and if for some reason you plan on giving gifts for St. Patrick's Day, more power to you!) but you could also give a Claddagh ring for Valentine's Day, Birthdays, Christmas, or engagement. They would even make a nice purity ring to give to your daughter!

There's no reason that a Claddagh ring needs to be an expression of romantic love. The symbols stand for love, loyalty and friendship. If you want to do something for a friend and you're looking for a symbol of your affection, a Claddagh ring might be a good choice. Just because it's a traditional wedding ring doesn't mean that you can't give it as a gift to a friend!

Irish Pronunciation of "Claddagh"

Claddagh is the name of a fishing village in Ireland, and the word is spelled in the traditional Gaelic way. If you don't speak Gaelic or are unfamiliar with the gutteral tones of this language, you may have some trouble pronouncing the word. If you've heard it before, you probably know that it's pronounced \ˈkla-də' \ . You may listen to the pronunciation of this name in the video to the right, if you like!

Which do you prefer?

See results

Other Claddagh Jewelry

These days Claddagh jewelry comes in a variety of forms, most of which mimic the ring shape. You can purchase earrings and necklaces, but the Claddagh is traditionally a ring and not an earring or a necklace. Bangles are another appropriate application of the Claddagh design.

The bracelets are worn with the same symbolism as the rings are, and you can purchase one of these from Amazon below, should you desire to do so. These would make a great gift for your close friends if you're looking for a way to share this symbolism!

© 2014 Becki Rizzuti


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