At St. Valentine’s Day, boyfriends want to choose just the right gift that sends just the right message. That message might not be ‘my love for you is eternal, please share my life’, at least not this year. It might be more ‘I think you are amazing, and I really, sincerely care a lot about you’, which is a fine message. After all, if you’ve only been dating a short time, promises of eternal love can sound a bit over the top or even creepy. (Yes, lads, the ladies can enjoy your company, and even love you, without expecting a dramatic marriage proposal in your first years together!) So in case the reason you haven’t purchased her gift yet is that you are afraid of going overboard, help is at hand.
The Claddagh design is perfect for romantic gifts. The heart represents love, of course. The hands are for friendship, and the crown symbolizes loyalty. The design also has a very romantic history. It was created by Richard Joyce of Galway, who was captured by pirates while at sea and sold into slavery to a goldsmith. He developed the design as he learned the art of jewelry making, and upon gaining his freedom, he returned to his exceptionally patient girlfriend in Galway and presented her with a Claddagh ring. They married and, as far as we know, lived happily ever after. (Of course, this was before the telephone. Lads, if you are delayed for a few years, these days you are expected to phone, no matter what jewelry you bring her when you eventually arrive.)
Here are three beautiful Claddagh design pieces of jewelry that will not be mistaken for engagement rings.
This pair of sterling silver stone set Claddagh earrings has plenty of sparkle, but is safely worn away from the ring finger to avoid confusion. It’s a beautiful way to say ‘special’, not ‘set the date’.
This silver Claddagh Celtic knot pendant offers both knot work and a Claddagh, and the very shape of it is inspired by ancient Celtic design. She will love it and wear it often, but not in a ‘til death do us part’ kind of way.
The Claddagh silver gold plate heart pendant is 100% Claddagh with no other design elements for a striking, stunning simplicity. It is an extremely versatile piece suitable for casual daytime or dressier evening wear… but not quite right for walking down the aisle, unless it’s the aisle of the local cinema.
The key thing with choosing the right Valentine’s Day gift for your girlfriend is to get the scale right. The gifts evolve over time with your relationship. Get the balance right in the early years together by picking something beautiful and meaningful without going overboard or over budget. Before buying something, stop and think about the kind of jewelry you see her wear. Does she prefer gold or silver? Bold, simple lines or complex, intriguing knot work? And relax, she isn’t likely to judge you on the basis of one holiday.