Quintessential Claddagh rings feature the iconic Irish emblem of two hands holding a heart with a crown on top. The 16th Century Irish legend tells us that the hands holding the heart represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty. A Claddagh ring is fashioned with a tapered shank; the back of the ring is reduced in width until it reaches its narrowest point at the center.
Claddagh wedding bands are similar to the ring style in that they both share the hands, heart and crown; however, these symbols are always the face of a ring, while a band may have a single Claddagh icon or it may have several representations. Another characteristic of a Claddagh band is the shank is typically the same width all the way around.
Similarities between a Claddagh wedding band and a Claddagh ring include the use of precious metals that may include sterling silver or gold of varying colors and carat weights along with platinum or palladium. Many design feature the amalgamation of two or more metals in its construction. Ideally, your precious metal Claddagh band or ring has been made in Ireland which will result in it being hallmarked by the Irish Assay Office at Dublin Castle. Additional shared characteristics between the two styles may include the use of Celtic knot work along with the incorporation of precious or semi-precious stones within the design.
Naturally, any ring, along with any Claddagh ring or band, may be worn as a wedding ring. In most cultures, wearing a ring on the forth finger of the left hand indicates that you are married. The ancient Romans started the tradition by incorrectly believing that the ring finger had a vein that ran directly to the heart. They called it the Vena Amoris or Vein of Love.
Conversely, any Claddagh, be it ring or band, need not be worn as a wedding ring.
The Irish Gift House features a vast collection of Irish made Claddagh rings along with Claddagh wedding bands. In fact we offer almost 200 Claddagh rings along with 75 Claddagh wedding bands. You will treated to selections of sterling silver Claddagh rings and gold Claddagh rings along with Claddagh wedding bands for both men and women. Many of our designs include stones; you may browse some of them in our emerald Claddagh rings and diamond Claddagh rings sections on our site. While there, please also take a look at our masculine Claddagh rings for men.