Four Types of Irish Jewelry Everyone Should Know

Steeped in culture, Irish and Celtic jewelry represents love, faith, family and friendship.

From the distinctive metal torq to undecorated iron rings, to elaborate gold treasures. Ireland’s National Museum houses many of these treasures and types of Irish jewelry.

These priceless pieces are the basis for creations that have lasted the test of time and still evolve to this day.

So what are the four types of Irish jewelry everyone should know?

Claddagh Pave Set Ring
Claddagh Pave Set Ring

The Classic Claddagh
The first is the Claddagh ring. Known universally as an Irish symbol of love, the Claddagh has much meaning and importance attached to it. It can be worn in many different ways however and is the perfect symbol to celebrate love, friendship or loyalty.

So how should you wear this Irish symbol of love and friendship? The answer is - however you like! The secret of the Claddagh to those in the know has always been the hand that it is worn on and the position of the point of the heart. Here are four ways to choose from:

On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips: the wearer is single and may be looking for love.
On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist: the wearer is in a relationship.
On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips: the wearer is engaged.
On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist: the wearer is married.

The Claddagh symbol of course is one of the most famous Celtic / Irish symbols of all and originates from the small village of Claddagh in County Galway. The heart sits at the center and represents love, the hands represent friendship and the crown represents loyalty.

Monasterboice Muiredeach High Cross Large Silver Necklace
Monasterboice Muiredeach High Cross Large Silver Necklace

A Saint Brigid’s Cross or Celtic Cross
Much used as a Christian symbol, the Saint Brigid’s Cross is also thought to be connected to Brigid of the Tuatha de Dannan, who in Celtic mythology was known as a life-giving goddess. It is still a very popular symbol in Ireland.

This Celtic cross has roots in ancient pagan beliefs and is thought to represent the four elements of earth, fire, air and water. A staple of insular art, the Celtic Cross looks particularly beautiful when worn as a piece of jewelry.

An Irish Charm Bracelet
An Irish charm bracelet is a wonderful way of celebrating your Irish heritage, with different symbols representing all sorts of different landmarks and traditions. A charm is a great way of choosing and telling a particular story. From the shamrock to the map of Ireland, the Claddagh to the Trinity knot - it’s all there!

Whatever your charm bracelet, the most popular ones usually include a shamrock. Ancient Celts believed that everything that was important in the world came in threes and the shamrock was important to them because of its three heart shaped leaves. The three leaves of a shamrock are said to stand for faith, hope and love.

Solid Trinity Knot Silver Band
Solid Trinity Knot Silver Band

A Trinity Knot or Triscele
The triquetera or Trinity knot is another very important symbol and can be incorporated into rings, necklaces, earrings, brooches and more. Celtic knot-work is famous and the Triquetera perhaps most so. It symbolizes eternal life, with no beginning and no end and appears in the Book of Kells as a decorative motif.

The Triscele is one of Ireland’s oldest symbols and is seen in the stone at Newgrange. These carvings were believed to be made around 3200 BC. Derived from the Greek word ‘triskeles’ meaning ‘three legs’, the triple spiral is a very complex ancient Celtic symbol. This is a beautiful symbol that looks fantastic, engraved into any jewelry whether silver, gold or white gold.
Posted on August 17, 2022