Celtic Ring Meaning and History

Mostly crafted out of gold or silver, Celtic rings were the preserve of the wealthy and noble. Just as with other ancient jewelry, they featured varied designs on them that held deep significant meaning to the wearer. Also true of the ring is that it has been modified over many years but it has never lost its symbolism. 

In the height of the Roman Empire, the Celts were cajoled into acting and talking like the Romans and this tread was widespread. It saw the introduction of new pieces of jewelry previously unknown to the Celtics.

Items such as rings, earrings were new ideas but for rings and torques, the Celtics had been way ahead of the rest for a while.

Celtic Ring Designs

Commonly referred to as Claddagh or Celtic wedding rings, these rings originated from the village of Claddagh that was of Irish fishermen. Claddagh is Irish for “flat stony shore”. Featuring two hands holding a heart with a crown over it and engraved words saying “let love and friendship reign”.

Presently, they are also referred to as the clasped hands rings and the design has had some alterations added to its design with the infusion of another heart to make two entwined. Another change that could be affected is producing a variety of metal in platinum or silver and maybe adding a gem to the ensemble. Preferably a red one as was the preferred choice of the Celtic people.

Modern designs of Celtic rings are not only for women but men have their designs featuring the same symbolism but on a much wider and heavier ornament.

Increasingly today, the era of customization is upon us and now you have people requesting an embedding of a birthstone to the ring to make it even more personal to the wearer.

Even more dazzling are the new designs that have diamond and emerald embellishments fixed into the crown on dotting the circumference of the ring.

If you are not able to find the carved rings, you can buy the stylize ones that feature a thin or thick band with the symbol imprinted in the metal. Stylizing is also possible to combine metals like gold and sterling silver to create more hardy and durable Celtic rings.

Celtic Ring Meaning

The hands in the Claddagh represent friendship, the heart is for love and the crown is a symbol of loyalty.

They fall in the “faith rings” class of jewelry which means that it is far more than just a decorative piece to adorn your hand. The Celtic ring is a symbol of love, faithfulness, and friendship all across the globe.

Most Celtic rings were made of gold and featured three common elements but this has been transformed with changes in technology and metalwork.

They do however preserve the nature of the Celtic symbols without which the Celtic jewelry could not be distinguished.

Traditionally gifted as a symbol of love, they could also be used for other occasions such as Mother’s Day, birthday, graduation, or farewell party to express your love to those who mean the world to you.

Celtic Ring History

In the history of Celtic rings, many myths and fictional tales have been crafted to try and explain the origin of their intricate symbols. The most widely purported story is that of a widow, Margaret Joyce, who has acquired a lot of wealth from her dead husband’s estate. She decided to marry the mayor and use the funds to build several bridges across the city. It is rumored that the first Claddagh ring fell on her lap from an eagle’s claws for her benevolence.

Another tale is told of the man by the name Richard Joyce who was abducted and sold off to slavery as a goldsmith in the Moorish land. He was set to marry his Irish girlfriend that same week and while he spent years away as a slave, he learned the tools of the trade and crafted the first Claddagh ring for his one true love. Upon a decree of William III ordering release of all British slaves, Richard returned home to Galway and find his lady who had never married and he settled down to start his goldsmith craft. Most original Celtic rings had the marking RI which gives this story some credibility.

Regardless of their origin, the Claddagh rings were highly revered as family heirlooms and mothers passed them on to their daughters. The great famine of the mid-nineteenth century saw a large migration out of Ireland and this contributed to the popularity of the ring internationally.  

Once Queen Victoria stepped out decked in a Claddagh ring, its prestige value shot through the roof and followed in later episodes when the Prince and Princess of Monaco were gifted with Claddagh rings.

How to wear your Claddagh

Based on its heavy leaning to symbolism, the Claddagh communicates strongly and this is why you need to know how to wear it right to attract the right fortune for you.

They were particularly used as a mode of communication with the opposite sex which let them know your position and if they could approach.

As they were traditionally gifted as engagement rings, the married or engaged party had to wear the ring on their left hand with the crown pointing away from the wearer’s heart.

If the wearer is single and ready to mingle, she needs to wear the ring on her right hand with the heart pointing away from her heart. If she is single but not interested in suitors, she should wear the ring on the right hand with the crown facing her heart.

It might also be important to point out that the ring material you decide on will determine your experience with the Celtic ring especially if you have metal allergies.

To be on the safe side, always insist on rings that are made of or coated with a material such as platinum, iridium, titanium, sterling silver, and stainless steel. These metals are considered to be hypoallergenic which means that there is no chance of metal reaction with the skin.


The Claddagh is the original and traditionally recognized Celtic ring. Although there might be many imitations in the market, finding pieces that have been as carefully crafted as the Celtics did is a tough call. However, this is the age of the Internet of Things and there is no limit to the number of available resources online.


Celtic Ring
Celtic jewelry