A cultural and religious holiday, St. Patrick’s Day specifically commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and, of course, celebrates Saint Patrick and, on a broader scale, Irish heritage. We drink, we wear green, we partake in hearty festivities. It’s a day that we appreciate the richness of Irish culture, so it’s fitting to share a selection of jewelry with Celtic aesthetics. This is not, however, the only day that designs like these are recognized. Celtic patterns are well-loved—symbolic for some, simply beautiful for others.
One of the most instantly recognizable symbols in history, the Celtic knot has no beginning or end, symbolizing an endless cycle; to what this pertains may be interpreted by the wearer. A symbol of life and love in some respects, it is popular in wedding jewelry.
I have been told that the knots have different meanings depending on how they appear to be tied. But no matter the form (there is a knot for love, one for friendship, the Holy Trinity, and on), there is one symbol prevelant in each and every one: infinity. Can’t argue with the beauty of that.
Did anyone else have a claddagh ring? When I was about 12 or so, everyone had one. You wore it upside down if you were single, right-side up if you were “taken.” And at that age, boyfriends lasted what, like, a week? Needless to say, it was a very important social symbol in the life of a seventh grader. Humor aside, the claddagh is actually quite worthy of real, grown-up love; it’s not uncommon for the betrothed to use these as wedding rings.
With its crowned heart held in two hands, the claddagh has a sumptuous history, dating from the 17th century. The heart denotes love; the hands, a symbol of friendship; and the crown represents loyalty. For all of this, there are various occasions and reasons that justify the purchase (and subsequent wear) of a claddagh ring—it’s also found in earrings and pendants, though slightly less commonly.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in the vastness that is Celtic symbols, but if you really wanted to impress your customers (or maybe you’re a history buff), there is a lot to be learned. The aforementioned history, the meanings, and the intricate aesthetics touched on here justify the heartfelt love for these jewels. And while that “Kiss me, I’m Irish” T-shirt may serve a purpose only one day a year (busted!), these beauties promise to bring joy and meaning to the lives of those who wear them for much longer than that.