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People Do Not Have To Be Married To Wear Claddagh Wedding Rings


A Claddagh ring is one that follows design concepts that originated from the fishing village of Claddagh just outside Galway in Ireland. These rings were derived from a design concept that dates back to the days of the Roman Empire; whereby, two clasped hands are depicted on the ring. Two people clasping hands (in something a little stronger than a mere handshake) traditionally implies an exchange of vows between two people. In Italian, the phrase “mani in fede” means clasping hands and rings made to mark an exchange of vows became known as “fede” rings. Such rings remained popular far beyond Roman times; most significently to mark exchanging wedding or engagement vows.

The Irish Connection

Sometime around the end of the 17TH Century; an Irish goldsmith, working in Claddagh, designed and made a fede style ring that showed not only the clasped hands (exchange of vows); but also incorporated a heart (symbolizing love) and a crown (as a symbol of loyalty). Over the years; other jewellers copied the design and, by Victorian times, these rings were being sold across the whole of Great Britain and had all become known under the name of Claddagh rings.

Beyond The Obvious Connection With Wedding Vows

Because of the design’s Irish origins; Claddagh rings are also being worn by people who wish to display their Irish origins; Irishness; or, simple love of Ireland and anything Irish; such feelings are quite common amongst Irish Americans. Claddagh Wedding Rings might be used; to replace the more traditional plain gold bands on the bride and grooms fingers as they exchange rings; during their wedding ceremony; and, if the couple are of Irish descent that would be a perfectly logical thing to do.

Alternatively; many Claddagh rings are being purchased entirely on the grounds of the design’s Irish connotation. There is even a purported tradition (although nobody seems to know how it started) that how a Claddagh ring is worn can demonstrate the wearer’s situation; in so much as; if worn on the right hand with the heart pointing away from the body; then, the wearer is telling the world that they are a single person (that might be looking for love). However, when worn on the left hand in the same direction; it signifies that the wearer is engaged; regardless of the hand, if the heart points to the wrist; the wearer is “not available” (but, not necessarily married).


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