Irish Weddings
Weddings and Courtships
Irish Claddagh Ring

If you were to name the one "shape" of ring that best represents love and loyalty, you would probably point to the Claddagh Ring. This is the best known shaped ring in the world.

Irish Claddagh Ring The tradition of the Claddagh ring first began in a small town near Galway, on the western coast of Ireland. This town's name was "An Cladach", a Gaelic term meaning "stony shore". Men from this area were going overseas to find fame and fortune, often leaving their loved one behind. The woman who waited would wear this special ring to warn all other men that her heart was taken, and that she would stay true to the one she loved.

Many Europeans at the time would wear rings that featured the symbolism of a heart - for love - and hands - for undying friendship. However, the An Cladach added in a new component - the crown. The crown signified eternal loyalty. The long distance separation was a true test of a relationship.

Irish Claddagh Ring The couple would have to weather months or years of separation. This was a firm promise on both of their parts. The man was away working hard to earn enough money to be worthy of his true love's hand in marriage. The woman was putting her faith in him to come back to her - and vowing that she would remain true to him until he returned, no matter how long it took.

The basic form of the Claddagh ring is for the shape to be formed in silver or gold. You can make the claddagh ring even more personal by using the birthstone of one or both of the couple, or by inscribing your names on the inner band, where it is next to your skin.

Weddings and Courtships Series by Lisa Shea
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