An Irish wedding ring is called a claddagh ring. It has a rich history steeped in legend, but the tradition goes that it was first made by a man from Galway who gave it to his bride after she had loyally waited for his return from sea. The ring is made of a two hands holding a heart with a crown. Together they symbolize the saying "love, loyalty, friendship." The hands portray trust and faith, the heart love, the crown loyalty and the hope of future glory. Still a meaningful symbol today, the way you wear it shows your relationship status.
Place the claddagh ring on the fourth finger of your right hand with the heart pointing outwards from the body to signify that you are single, or as the Irish say "your heart is open to love."
Turn the claddagh ring around on the fourth finger of your right hand so that the heart points in towards the wrist to show that you are in a relationship and your heart is taken.
Position the claddagh ring on the fourth finger of your left hand with the heart pointing toward your wrist as a sign that you are now married.
An Irish wedding ring or claddagh is traditionally passed as an heirloom from mother to daughter. Because of the ways it is worn, the ring can be given as a promise ring to a young girl. The claddagh ring is also unisex meaning that both women and men can wear them. Ladies' rings are more dainty and men's are thicker and sturdier. Children's sizes are available, too, though sometimes harder to find.
- claddaugh ring image by Tanya McConnell from Fotolia.com