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With a shift towards wearing meaningful engagement rings, many young couples are looking for ring designs that are not just pretty but also contain symbolism and history.
Irish engagement ring designs have been popular for a long time and are universally sought after, whether you’re Irish or not.
Here are the top 5 Irish engagement ring designs on the market and what they mean.
Claddagh Engagement Ring
Typical Claddagh Ring Design. See this here.
This is perhaps the most well-known of Irish ring designs. Claddagh rings feature a heart clasped by two hands with a crown placed on top.
The ring symbolizes love, friendship and loyalty, but for those who are religious, it can also represent the Holy Trinity – the father, the son and the Holy Spirit. These meanings make the Claddagh perfect for a wedding or engagement ring.
Claddagh rings have been in existence for about 3 centuries now, although some believe that they’ve been around for thousands of years. The Claddagh ring comes in various styles, including classic and contemporary designs.
If you are giving or receiving a Claddagh ring, it’s important to understand the etiquette related to wearing it. How you wear the Claddagh ring can determine your relationship status, so knowing this means that you won’t unwittingly give off the wrong message!
Here’s how to wear the Claddagh ring:
- If you’re married – Wear the Claddagh on your left hand, with the heart pointing towards you.
- If you’re engaged – Wear it on your left hand, with the heart facing away from you and outwards.
- If you’re single – Wear the Claddagh ring on your right hand, with the heart facing outwards. This indicates that you might be looking for a relationship.
- If you’re unavailable – Wear the Claddagh on your right hand with the heart facing towards you. It means you may be in a relationship but aren’t committed yet.
Quick Test: What is the relationship status of this woman?
If you said married, you’re correct! However, is this a hard and fast rule? No. Many people will wear a Claddagh ring any way they prefer. So it’s best not to make assumptions simply because someone’s wearing a Claddagh ring in a certain way.
Celtic Owl Engagement Ring
A Celtic owl is a unique Irish symbol. See this here.
A Celtic owl isn’t most people’s first thought when looking for a unique engagement ring, but it certainly is an intriguing and eye-catching one. The Celtic owl symbolizes wisdom and insight and coupled with some Celtic knot designs, can be a very meaningful engagement ring. This is perfect for someone who loves mystical symbols and unique jewelry.
The Celtic owl design works well for wedding rings too. Here’s an example of a Celtic owl wedding ring design. However, because it’s pretty elaborate, wearing a Celtic owl engagement ring and a wedding ring can be too much. You might want to consider wearing just one ring as an all-in-one ring.
Celtic Knot Engagement Rings
A Celtic knot engagement ring is a unique and intriguing ring style. This design is quintessentially Irish and was used in the Celtic style of Insular art. Celtic knots were mainly used to decorate books, sculptures and artwork.
There are many versions of the Irish knot, with infinity knots and basket weave knots being the two main categories. The knot represents balance and eternity. Its symbolism is ideal for an engagement ring, much like eternity bands.
Celtic knots with three points can also have religious connotations and can symbolize the Holy Trinity (similar to the Claddagh).
Trinity Knot Engagement Rings
A popular version of the Celtic knot. See this here.
The trinity knot is sometimes called the triquetra, which is the Celtic word for three-cornered.
A trinity knot can symbolize many things:
- A family – a father, mother and child(ren)
- The Holy Trinity – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
- Each stage of your relationship – your past, present and future
- Earth, air and water
There’s no exact meaning to the Trinity knot. It can symbolize any meaningful concepts that you wish it to represent.
Tradition has it that if a man offers a trinity knot ring to someone he loves, he’s promising to love, protect and honor them. What more do you want from an engagement ring?
Shamrock Engagement Rings
Shamrocks can be incorporated into a ring design in many ways. See this here.
The unofficial symbol of Ireland, shamrocks represent luck and good fortune, especially if it contains four leaves. An engagement ring featuring a shamrock is a unique and stylish touch to add symbolism and a nature-inspired touch to your ring.
Shamrocks are connected to St. Patrick who is believed to have used the leaf to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to the Celts. For the Celts, the number 3 was a mystical number and so a shamrock with 3 leaves is considered lucky and magical.
Where to Buy Irish Engagement Rings
The best place to buy an Irish engagement ring is in Ireland. But if you can’t get yourself there, the next best place is to shop online.
There are several specialist Irish jewelers online that offer Irish designs only. These stores feature beautiful, authentic Irish jewelry but shipping and returns can be an issue if you’re not based in the country.
We also recommend searching on Etsy, a platform for artisans, where beautiful, handcrafted jewelry designs can be found. There is an impressive range of Irish engagement rings on Etsy, making it easy for you to compare prices, check availability and buy the ring that best suits you.
Amazon also has a wide range of Irish engagement rings at a variety of price points, ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Because of the sheer number of products on the platform, it can take some sifting through to find the right ring for you.
To Wrap Up….
If you love Irish engagement rings, go for it! Just make sure that you both are on the same page. If your loved one is dreaming of a diamond solitaire and you whip out a Celtic owl ring, don’t be surprised if her face falls.
And finally, do you have to be Irish to wear an Irish engagement ring? Certainly not. The meaning of these symbols, while rooted in Irish history and lore, have transcended national boundaries to become universal symbols.