Many couples opt for simple gold bands when they marry, but more and more people want something with more personal meaning rather than the standard choice. Couples who are planning a wedding this year have more choices than the plain gold wedding ring. Irish wedding rings offer a variety of designs that not only show pride in heritage, but also beautifully symbolize a couple’s love and devotion. Couple can now also chose between gold, white gold and silver for their rings. Here are a few of the main symbols used in Celtic wedding bands.
The Claddagh: The Claddagh ring takes its name from an old fishing village that is now part of Galway City. The symbol is a heart representing love held in two hands representing friendship with a crown representing loyalty above the heart. This popular traditional ring has a romantic story behind it of a man kidnapped into slavery and returning a trained goldsmith with the first Claddagh ring for his beloved, who he married. To distinguish between a Claddagh wedding ring and other Claddagh rings, it is important to wear it on the left ring finger with the point at the bottom of the heart pointed toward the wearer.
- The Trinity Knot: This design goes way back in time and has a variety of explanations. It is mostly commonly used to denote the Holy Trinity – God the father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It has also been interpreted and used as a pre- or non-Christian symbol. Pre-Christian faith in Ireland often involved groups and images of three such as the Newgrange triple spiral and the three stages of womanhood (maiden, mother and crone). More recently it has been used to symbolize the connection between mind, body and spirit. A trinity knot wedding band is a wonderful symbol for couples who value their spiritual life and follow a faith that gives the number three a special significance.
- Celtic Knot Work: The beauty of much Celtic knot work is that it has no beginning or end. It is infinite and eternal. Many couples feel that way about their love, making a Celtic knot work wedding ring the perfect choice for them. This is a very broad category of Irish wedding rings including those with a repeating knot design going all the way around the ring, those that feature a single knot repeated and those that feature knots framing a gemstone. Some options use both yellow and white gold.
With so many choices available, it is easy to find wedding rings that are far more personal than plain gold bands. A Celtic wedding band or Claddagh wedding ring does reflect a love of Irish culture and heritage, but that is only one thing it symbolizes. It can symbolize the fundamental values of love, friendship and loyalty in a marriage or the eternal nature of a couple’s love. It can even be a link to their shared spirituality. There’s nothing wrong with a plain gold band, but for those who want something distinctive with richer meaning, a Celtic wedding ring might be perfect.