Celtic Wedding Bands

Written by Serena Berger
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There are two particularly popular types of Celtic wedding bands. Celtic knot rings are the first type, which include many different styles. These rings do not have to be worn as wedding rings, but are popular as such both because of their artful beauty and the symbolism of their eternally repeating structures.

The Claddagh as a Celtic Wedding Band

If there is one ring, however, which is the emblem of the Celtic tradition in the eyes of the rest of the world, it is the Claddagh. This design features a heart with a crown atop it, held between two hands. The heart stands for love, the hands for friendship, and the crown for loyalty.

The origins of the Claddagh ring have reached mythic proportion. The first Claddagh is traced to a craftsman named Richard Joyce, and some say that he lived an incredible life. The story is that he was captured and sold into slavery in Algiers, where he was offered vast riches and an advantageous marriage to stay there, so great was his skill, when King William III demanded his return. He turned down the offer to return to his relatively poor town, Galway, and instead created the Claddagh to remind him of friends and family. The other version of the story is that a woman named Margaret Joyce (who had some connection to Richard) performed numerous charitable works for Galway and was rewarded by an eagle, which dropped the first Claddagh into her lap.

There is another great tradition associated with the Claddagh. It is said that if you wear the ring on your right hand with the crown turned inward, that means you are considering a proposal. If you wear it on the left hand with the crown turned outward, it means that you are fully committed. Some people choose to use the Claddagh as both engagement ring and wedding ring in a slight variation on this tradition.

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