There are various traditional Irish jewellery pieces, with the Claddagh ring being one of them. The Claddagh ring dates back to the 16th century when a fisherman who had been enslaved learned jewellery-making skills.
After escaping from slavery, the fisherman gave his love a ring that resembles the modern-day Claddagh ring, which has ever since been used to symbolize patience, love and endurance.
The ring has maintained its popularity over generations and the simple combination of hands, heart, and crown makes the design timeless. There are specific ways in which you should wear the Claddagh ring to portray your relationship status, as discussed below.
How to wear a Claddagh ring if you’re in a relationship
The tale of how the Claddagh ring originated is very romantic since its symbolism is beautiful and rich, and it is understandable why people would want to make it for their lovers or themselves.
Some people wear the ring to appreciate its origins and traditions, while others attach meanings to it. Whichever the case, there are specific ways to wear the ring to show the relationship status.
Wearing the Claddagh ring before getting married
Even if you are not in a relationship, you can still wear the Claddagh ring. Before getting married, you should wear the Claddagh ring on your right hand, not your left hand.
Wearing the Claddagh ring on the right hand signifies that you are romantically inclined and you are interested in finding a suitor but have not found the person you wish to spend the rest of your life with yet.
You should wear the Claddagh ring on the right hand with the heart facing the fingertip to signify that you are single and looking for love and you are available to offer your love to another and get into a relationship.
When you are yet to get into a relationship, the heart of the ring should face out towards the finger and not into the centre of the hand, and the crown should face inward. Wearing the Claddagh ring in this manner symbolizes that you are open to finding love and being in a relationship.
You can also wear the Claddagh ring when you are dating or in a relationship but not yet engaged or married. You should wear the Claddagh ring with the heart facing the centre of your hand or wrist to indicate that you are dating and not romantically inclined.
When you find someone special to spend your life with and commit to date them, turn the ring from facing towards the fingertip and face the wrist to show you are not available.
You should leave the ring on the ring finger on the right hand and should not transfer it to the left hand because you are not married yet.
Wearing a Claddagh ring after getting engaged
You can wear the Claddagh ring in different ways after engagement to symbolize the stage you are at in the relationship. Generally, you should wear the Claddagh ring on your left hand’s ring finger.
Wearing the Claddagh ring on the left hand’s ring finger is a symbol of engagement or marriage in a large number of cultures around the world, a notion that is also evident in the Irish culture. When you wear the ring on that finger, it signals that you have already found the person you will live with till death does you part.
Wearing the Claddagh ring with the heart facing to the tip of your ring finger (facing out) is a sign that you are engaged. Before saying your vows, you can use the Claddagh ring as your engagement ring.
Wearing the ring with the heart facing the tip of your ring finger signals that you are committed to someone but still have not yet exchanged the wedding vows/tied the knot.
Wearing the Claddagh ring after getting married
Wearing the Claddagh ring with the heart facing to the base of your ring finger (facing in) is a sign that your heart has been taken.
A considerable number of Irish people wear the Claddagh ring to symbolize their steadfast love for each other.
When you wear the ring with the heart facing in, it is a sign that you have already tied the knot and are in a permanent relationship.
The side the heart faces is changed during the wedding ceremony. Before the wedding, the Claddagh ring’s heart may face out, but it has to face in after the wedding ceremony.
Using your own preference and meaning
While people wear the Claddagh ring before getting married, after an engagement, and after getting married in different ways to show their relationship status, you can also find your own meaning as there are no hard or fast rules about wearing the ring.
You can still wear the ring to display your traditions and origins.
For most Irish individuals, the Claddagh ring signifies their Irish roots, and they may not wear it to symbolize their relationship status. So, if you are wearing the Claddagh ring to represent your heritage, you can wear it in whichever way is comfortable for you.
The ring can be worn on any finger and any hand and can face either direction. If you are using your own meaning when wearing the Claddagh ring, you can still wear it on the left hand without being in a relationship, engaged or married.
You can also wear a Claddagh ring to remember someone special if it was a gift. Additionally, you can wear a Claddagh ring on a necklace chain, on bracelets or even keep it in the pocket as a charm.
Are Claddagh rings only worn by women?
Traditionally, Claddagh rings were worn by women and were passed down from mother to daughter. However, the number of men wearing the Claddagh rings is on the rise.
It is wrong to exclude men from the unique story and symbolism attached to Claddagh rings. The ring represents love, patience, and endurance in a relationship.
Can the Claddagh ring be worn with another ring?
Sure. The only limiting rule when it comes to wearing the Claddagh ring, besides the direction the heart faces, is that you should never buy yourself one.
Getting yourself a Claddagh ring is considered bad luck. Your partner should give you a ring to symbolize love and commitment. The only thing you can do is send your boyfriend pictures of the ring as a hint that you would love him to get you one when the time is right.
When you decide to wear the Claddagh ring with another ring, the best option for the second ring should be a diamond solitaire. A simple band would also make a perfect choice to complement the Claddagh ring.
How you wear the two rings is totally up to you and your partner to decide. What matters most is that you are ready to love each other till death does you part.
Claddagh rings are an important piece of jewellery not only in the Irish heritage but also across the world.
There are different reasons people wear Claddagh rings, and there are specific ways to wear the rings to indicate a relationship status.
However, you can also find your own meaning and wear it whichever way is comfortable.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.