Jewelry is not just about looks, right? Jewelry is also intended to say something about us. Or perhaps it is a symbol of something or someone who is important to us. Jewelry is truly a personal statement.
This explains the enduring popularity of the Claddagh ring, without a doubt the most popular Irish ring style. In fact, it may be one of the most popular ring styles overall. For many people, Irish jewelry is a meaningful statement of heritage. Claddagh rings are often received as a gift from a close friend, a boyfriends or girlfriends, a fiancé, or a spouse, which means the ring likely represents an important person and the shared relationship. Finally, the Claddagh ring, in its very design, sends some pretty powerful messages about one’s priorities and even relationship status. All of this is inherent to the Irish ring – so it easily becomes that strong personal statement so many people want to make with their jewelry choices. A Claddagh, of course, can appear in pendants, bracelets, and earrings as well – but the ring is the most popular incarnation.
If you have not seen a Claddagh ring before, take a look:
The marking characteristics of this lovely Irish ring are a crown, heart, and set of hands. The crown symbolizes loyalty. The heart, of course, represents love. And the hands give a shout out to the ensconing quality of friendship. Beyond the crown, heart, and hands, Claddagh rings vary in look and style. It is common to see basic styles like the one above but as styles evolve, so does the Claddagh ring. A Claddagh ring can be made of silver, gold, platinum, titanium or some other common jewelry metal. The Irish ring can be made even more Irish with a green emerald heart. Diamonds on the crown are not uncommon. Some Claddagh rings have etchings, embellishments, or other enhancements as well. Like with other jewelry, a demure size and profile is common in women’s rings, but Claddagh rings are easily “bulked” up in size and profle to create a more masculine look for men.
Beyond the beauty of this iconic Irish jewelry piece, the Claddagh ring is adored for the message it sends. And not just the significance of loyalty, love, and friendship. There is another meaning that the wearer can communicate via the way the ring is worn: right-hand or left-hand; facing outward or facing inward. The left-hand carries obvious weight, being the location of the marital finger. But the placement of the heart also matters.
Here are the ways in which a Claddagh can be worn and the associated meaning:
A Claddagh ring placed on your right-hand with the heart facing outward sends the message that your heart is open to new love (you are not taken).
A Claddagh ring worn on the right hand with the heart facing inwards shows that you are considering a new love, but it may not be permanent yet (dating).
A Claddagh ring worn on the left hand with the heart facing inwards shows that you are taken permanently (married).
Now that you know the symbolism of the iconic Irish ring, wear your Claddagh with newfound knowledge and pride!