Celtic Wedding Bands

Celtic wedding bands have been used for centuries. The intricate designs contain great meaning and have become a show of cultural pride in modern times. The word “Celtic” refers to those civilizations that spoke Celtic languages. These people are what we now know as the Irish, Scottish, and Welsh.

History
Celtic wedding bands have been dated back to the year 200 b.c. in what is now Ireland. The peoples of this area were influenced by Viking conquests and the religions of the Roman Empire. Throughout the centuries though, their artistic style has remained distinguishable from those of other civilizations. The patterns in modern Celtic wedding bands are the same that were used in weddings centuries ago. They can be considered the ultimate “antique” wedding ring design.

One of the most popular designs for Celtic wedding bands is the Claddagh. This design is two hands that are clasping a heart between them. Placed on top of the heart is a crown. The ring is named after the Irish fishing village of the same name where it is believed to have originated. It was a popular design during the 17th century, when Queen Mary II was ruler. The ring was symbolic of relationship status depending on which hand and position it was worn. On the right hand with the heart facing away from the wearer, the person was single. If the heart was facing towards the wearer, they were romantically involved. When the Claddagh was worn on the left hand and the heart faced away from the wearer, it was a sign that they were engaged to be married. If the ring was worn on the left hand and the heart was facing the wearer, then it was being worn as a wedding ring. The Claddagh wedding band is an Irish variation of a fede ring which dates back to Roman times. The fede rings originated with the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. The word ‘fede” means finger ring, and included two hands holding a heart. The Claddagh versions from Ireland include the crown.

Purchasing your Celtic Wedding Ring
The term “Celtic” has become synonymous with gothic and medieval art. The main elements of the art have remained unchanged since 200 B.C. and include curved, intricate patterns. You will notice in that patterns rarely contain straight lines and also avoid symmetry. There are many different design types with significant meanings. Among these designs are:

  • Hallstat – a geometric design that has a tribal look
  • Damara – knot work that resembles leaves and ivy, named for the Celtic goddess of fertility and Spring
  • La Tene – very intricate spiral and leaf shaped designs, faces of animals and humans may be viewable from different angles
  • Sabrina – a version of the endless knot, more rounded and named for a the Celtic goddess of the river
  • Falia – intricate knot work named for the mythical city Falia which is home to the 4 wizards who taught the ancient Celts magic
  • Maze & Step Patterns – symbolize the journey through life and the experiences along the way
  • Triskel – very ancient pattern that is three pronged similar to a triangle, originated on Isle Of Man where College of Druids was located, represented creation, preservation, and destruction, also interpreted as three faces of the pagan goddess maiden, mother and crone. After influence from Christianity, it was interpreted as the Holy Trinity of father, son and Holy Spirit.
  • Spirals – represent cosmos, heavens and also water. The relationship between ourselves and our consciousness.
  • Knot work – interconnection of life and finding out place in the universe
  • Lover’s knot – commonly used on wedding bands symbolizes two coming together as one

Animals are frequently used in Celtic rings and may also be included in your wedding ring. Below is a list of some common types of animals used in Celtic art and their meanings.

  • Hounds – loyalty
  • Bull – strength
  • Birds – purity
  • Lions – nobility
  • Salmon – knowledge

When deciding on whether to purchase a gold or silver Celtic wedding ring, the main difference is cost. Both silver and gold were traditionally used in weddings during ancient times. The significance is the same throughout history. Both materials are corrosion resistant and are very durable. Gold will be significantly more expensive, especially since the market change in the past few years. Silver may be a more viable option for those looking for a Celtic wedding ring on a budget. Antiquing can also be done to your ring. Filling in gaps with a blue or brown color can make your ring look more aged.

Caring for your Celtic Wedding Ring
Both silver and gold rings do not tarnish easily. They can be cleaned with a soft cloth to increase shine. For removal of dirt, warm water and a mild soap can be used. Rings that have intricate detail may collect dirt in small crevices, a small brush maybe helpful to keep your ring looking its best.

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