Friday, April 20, 2012

Claddagh House: knot your run-of-the-mill jeweler

by frédérik

Sometimes fashion is nothing more than fashion, and sometimes it is something more: a symbol. Last week’s bling edition of our weekly Frivolous Friday challenge reminded me of this as I counted my engagement ring among the jewelry round-up. Here’s a closeup:

As I mentioned in the bling roundup, my ring is twin to the one my wife wears. When we got engaged, we thought it would be lovely and meaningful to have matching rings, so after finding the right jeweler we began by choosing a design we both liked, then had them alter the metal colour scheme to distinguish the rings. Hence, my wife’s ring has white gold knotwork in a yellow gold band, while the knotwork in my ring is yellow gold in a white gold band. Both rings have small diamonds laid into the Celtic knotwork and also bear inscriptions of the day we got engaged on the inside of the band. 
What the rings represent is obvious: two people promised to each other in love and engagement. Naturally, the rings also represent how a beautiful design can take on greater value for having something other than aesthetics to draw on.

The jeweler we bought the rings from is a long-established family business in downtown Toronto called The Claddagh House. Named after the famous Irish token of love and friendship, The Claddagh House has been Jim and Norah’s labour of love since 1992. Just about 12 years since my wife and I bought our engagement rings, it’s comforting and gratifying to know that this artisanal jewelry shoppe (somehome, the quaint spelling seems particularly appropriate) is still going strong.

Returning to Toronto every so often, I’m always somewhat startled by how much has changed. It’s good Comforting and gratifying that Claddagh House remains…but not surprising in and of itself. The work quality is excellent. The prices are reasonable. And the Celtic designs most definitely deserve a toast with a pint o’ Guinness or three. Here’s a look at some of their beautiful offerings (prices in Canadian dollars): 

$55 for sterling silver; $165 for10K gold.

Available in combinations of white, yellow, and rose gold and stones like diamonds or sapphires. Price varies with choice of metal and stones.

Starting at $218

$37.95 for sterling silver; $165 for 10K gold. Prices vary with chosen stone.

As an interesting side note, did you know that the Claddagh Ring takes on different meanings depending on how it's worn? Quoth the Wikipedia:

  • On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips, the wearer is single and may be looking for love. (This is most commonly the case when a young woman has first received the ring from a relative, unless she is already engaged).
  • On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist, the wearer is in a relationship, or their heart has been "captured".
  • 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.

So now you know how to wear your Claddagh Ring. Moving on with a few more examples from their collection...

$165 for sterling silver; $900 for 10K gold

$90 for sterling silver; $950 for 10K gold.

The good news is that they take orders over the Internet, including from the United States. Visit their website at to see their full selection.

What do you wear that takes on a special significance? Share the deets in the comments below!

Usual Disclaimer: Images borrowed from the Claddagh House website under fair use for illustrative purposes only. They'll be removed at the copyright owner's request.


Jim Doran said...

I love rings. I have a lot and wear them all. I have a few stainless steel spinner rings that I often wear to work on days there are committee meetings. There's something therapeutic to quietly spinning the band on my finger during the teeth grinding bits of meetings.

And, for Valentine's day, my wife and and I got these his & her skull rings (I don't know if your comment system will allow me to link an image, but):

Custom made for us by Tere Hernandez-Bonet at

stylish with a budget said...

oh thanks for sharing...never knew there're so many meaning wearing the claddagh ring.
and your engagement ring is very beautiful and meaningful. it's always good to understand the story behind a design.
sometimes i always secretly wonder if you were an architect or designer...

Frederik Sisa said...

Jim: I love the skull rings. It's my kind of jewelry. Thanks for sharing! And although I don't have a spinner ring, I have seen them. I can see how they would help go through meetings. Let's obtrusive than squeezing a stress ball. :)

June: I'm an aficianado of design and architecture, but ultimately not in the profession of either. Just an obscure writer. Sweet of you to think so, though. Thank you! Glad you liked the post. :)

Mica said...

Lovely ring. I adore jewelry that has a meaning behind it. I of course have my wedding and engagement rings that mean the word to me, but my trio of bracelets I wear every day each have some very special meanings and associations behind them too. Purely personal ones though, not as traditional as the lovely meanings of the Claddagh ring :)

Frederik Sisa said...

Thanks, Mica.

Nothing wrong with personal meanings. In fact, I'd say they're the best kind! :)

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