Fascinating Facts about Celtic Engagement Rings


Wearing a Celtic ring is the symbol of friendship, loyalty and love throughout the world. With its distinctive design, these rings are easily recognizable and can trace their history back to the rugged Irish coast hundreds of years ago. Although the early samples of Celtic rings were made of gold and always had the same three elements, rings today have adapted to a more modern lifestyle while still maintaining the special meaning. Because they are of a class of jewellery called “faith rings”, to get one from someone special indicates more than just wearing a beautiful piece of jewellery. While one does not require travelling to Ireland to get it, it retains the history and symbolism of the traditional Irish version

Celtic Ring Designs:

Celtic rings also known as Celtic wedding rings/Claddagh rings. First they were seen some 300 years back in the Irish fishing village, Claddagh from an Irish term which means Flat Stony Shore. The earliest rings had been made of gold and show two hands presenting a heart between them. Over the years, these rings have evolved and the most common change being the addition of another heart to create a two heart Celtic ring. Other modern changes include fashioning the ring out of silver or platinum or incorporating a gemstone. No matter what the style is, it always retains the same elements and symbolism. The ring itself holds only a part of its meaning, how it is worn is also an essential part of the message.

History of the Celtic Ring

Like most things which have been handed down through generations, the history of these rings takes several forms. A well-known story in the Celtic Ring tells that a young widow named Margaret Joyce inherited a large sum of money from her Spanish merchant husband after his death. Later she married the mayor of Galway, Ireland, and used her wealth to build many bridges across the country. The first Celtic ring is said to have landed on her lap from a passing eagle as a reward for her generosity. 

Another popular story regarding the origin of these rings is the story of Richard Joyce, a Galway native, that has captured the week he was to be married an Irish girl and he has been sold to a Moorish goldsmith as a slave. Richard then spent several years learning the trade and created the foremost Claddagh ring for the lady he had left behind. In fact he was set free when William III ordered the release of all British subjects. The goldsmith offered to give him some of his possession and the hand of his oldest daughter if he stayed with her. Richard had refused and had returned to Galway with the foremost  Claddagh ring, gifting it to his first love who had never been married. He lived in Galway all his life, becoming a goldsmith himself. The oldest Celtic rings bear the mark for Richard Joyce. This description gives some truth to this version of the story. 

How to wear these Rings: 

As these rings carry heavy symbolism, how they are worn gives a specific message to potential suitors. Traditionally given as an engagement ring, if the wearer is engaged or married,  the ring is generally worn on the left hand, with the crown pointing away from the wearer’s heart. If the wearer agrees to consider love and a romantic relationship, they wear the ring on the right hand, pointing towards the heart. If they are not interested in a relationship, the ring is worn on the right hand, pointing away from the heart.

Where to find such rings:

Wearing these rings no longer requires a trip to Ireland. However, if you are fortunate enough to visit the country, there is no shortage of craftsmen who will gladly make one for you. Silver engagement rings are also widely available in jewellery stores  Fashion Plaza and on the internet.

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