If you're in search of a unique and beautifully designed ring, then a Celtic engagement ring just might be the perfect choice. Full of interesting history and romantic meaning, these traditional Irish rings feature intricate details and are always sure to stand out.
What Is a Celtic Engagement Ring?
A Celtic engagement ring is inspired by ancient Celtic designs that have meaning behind them. They come in a variety of different designs, the most popular styles being the Claddagh, Celtic Warrior, and Celtic Knot.
"They incorporate unique knots and milgrain braids that symbolize everlasting love," says jeweler Avi Mirpuri. "The difference is really in the aesthetics of the band and setting, though they might also use more unique center stones like a heart-shaped diamond." Ahead, Mirpuri and diamond expert Kim Kanary share the history of Celtic engagement rings, tips on how to buy the perfect one, and what type of bands to pair them with.
History of Celtic Engagement Rings
Celtic engagement rings have been around for a very long time, and each style has its own special meaning. "It is said that the first Celtic ring was spotted in the Irish fishing village called the Claddagh over 300 years ago," Mirpuri reveals. "There have also been many other stories, with one going as far as the ring being dropped into the lap of a widow by a flying eagle."
They were popular with royalty as well. According to Mirpuri, the Celtic ring became more popular after it was worn by Queen Victoria. "The royal tradition continued when Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco were presented with their own Celtic rings," he says.
These rings are often treated as treasured family heirlooms and are passed down from mother to daughter for generations. Each style has its own unique meaning. For example, Kanary explains that the intersecting curved bands of Celtic knots represent eternity and everlasting love. "The popular Trinity Knot features three curved bands that intersect to make three points and a triangular middle," Kanary says. "While the meaning of this design has been debated throughout history, many have made parallels to religion and relationships, but it's also an opportunity to create your own meaning."
Popular Celtic Engagement Ring Styles
There are three main Celtic engagement ring styles that you'll likely come across when looking for your perfect piece.
- Claddagh: This is the most classic Celtic ring. It looks like two hands clasping a center heart-shaped diamond, with a crown sitting on top of the heart.
- Celtic Warrior: This is usually a band with engravings and warrior shield designs. According to Mirpuri, these are more commonly worn by men and sometimes are used as a wedding band.
- The Trinity Knot: Sometimes called the Celtic Knot, this is a simple looping pattern on a band with three points. "The three points have various meanings, and some common ones are past, present, future or life, death, and rebirth," Mirpuri says.
Pros and Cons of Celtic Engagement Rings
One of the biggest advantages of Celtic engagement rings is the special meaning behind them. "They can provide an added level of sentiment, tradition, and originality to your wedding jewelry," Kanary says. They tend to feel more personal and are basically the opposite of the popular diamond solitaire.
Another advantage is that Celtic engagement rings can come in such a wide range of styles, really allowing you to customize your ring. "Claddagh rings can feature stones such as Irish Connemara marble, turquoise, chrome diopside, and diamond," Kanary says.
Celtic rings often come in sterling silver, but you can opt for mixed metal or karat gold as well.
This same unique look might be a con to those who are looking for something more modern and traditional. And, as Mirpuri points out, they aren't valued as highly as a typical diamond engagement ring. "If you were to trade in your engagement ring or upgrade, you might not get the same value as you would with a more common design or center diamond stone," he says.
Meet the Expert
- Avi Mirpuri is a third-generation engagement ring specialist and the founder of jewelry website Siroo.
- Kim Kanary is a certified diamontologist and vice president of community development and engagement at JTV, an online jewelry shopping destination.
What to Look for in a Celtic Engagement Ring
- How can I ensure my engagement ring is durable? Kanary says that the most important thing is to find a ring that can withstand everyday wear. "Opt for a more durable metal, such as 14K gold or platinum, instead of sterling silver, which is common for Celtic rings," she recommends. And since some Celtic rings incorporate gemstones in the design, you should also opt for a durable stone, like a diamond.
- Where should I shop for a Celtic engagement ring? Be sure to work with an experienced jeweler when selecting your ring. Mirpuri recommends going to someone who can help you add your own personal touch and design to a ring, and to also look for someone who has access to a more unique, vintage center stone. "Not all jewelers have access to great stones for vintage designs," he points out.
- What wedding bands pair well with Celtic rings? Mirpuri recommends keeping it simple, and choosing something like a classic metal ring or a thin, petite pavé eternity ring. "The Celtic ring is usually quite unique and eye-catching, so you don't want your wedding band to steal its limelight or 'overdo' the look," he says. If your engagement ring features a curvature design (like Trinity Knot and Claddagh rings) Kanary says "a thin eternity band is a fitting complement with the designs. If you are interested in a curved band to fit the contour of your ring, you may want to explore custom designs."
How to Care for a Celtic Engagement Ring
How you care for your Celtic ring really depends on what it's made up of. Traditional Celtic rings are made of sterling silver, which does tend to tarnish easily. To keep it clean, remove it when doing household cleaning and try to keep it out of direct sunlight. You can clean it with gentle soap and water when needed. If it includes a diamond stone, this is far more durable and will need less cleaning, but if it needs to be shined up, just try soap and water.
Ahead, 20 Celtic engagement rings to consider.
Brilliant Earth Celtic Crown Diamond Engagement Ring
This traditional Claddagh ring can come in a gold band, making it stand out a bit. The heart-shaped diamond is topped with a delicate crown and three smaller diamonds surround it.
Price at time of publish: $990
byAdora 14K White Gold Trinity Knot Wedding Ring
This handmade Celtic Trinity Knot ring features a beautifully intricate band in 14K white gold. The ring is set with a moissanite center stone and six small diamonds throughout.
Price at time of publish: $749 for 0.50ct Center Stone
My Irish Jeweler Classic Diamond Claddagh Engagement Ring
This is a true classic Claddagh ring, but it can be made with white gold or platinum instead of sterling silver. You can also opt to add the matching wedding band for a full set.
Price at time of publish: $4,960
T.W. Diamond Celtic Knots Split Shank Engagement Ring
Perfect for those looking for something wider, this design features a Celtic knot style with a small diamond in the center for some added sparkle. The split shank makes it a bit bulkier.
Price at time of publish: $849
Blossom and Such Celtic Bridal Set
This beautiful Celtic-style ring set is unique and traditional all at once. Featuring rose gold, which feels more romantic and modern, there's also a diamond center stone and a crown-shaped band that matches.
Price at time of publish: $1,440 for 14k Gold & Moissanite
Boru 14K Gold Ring Trinity
This is a perfect example of a traditional Trinity Knot ring. The band features a delicate design, with a small center stone to add some sparkle.
Price at time of publish: $7,253
My Irish Jeweler 14K Gold Celtic Knot Engagement Ring
The Celtic knot design along the band, which is associated with eternal love, is surrounded by diamond rails on either side for the illusion of three stacked bands. A center diamond adds a bit more sparkle.
Price at time of publish: $3,805
Brilliant Earth Entwined Celtic Love Knot Engagement Ring
This ring combines elements of a Claddagh ring with a Celtic knot band. The heart-shaped diamond center stone makes it feel more romantic.
Price at time of publish: $990
Blarney 14K Yellow & White Gold Oval Emerald & Diamond Trinity Ring
Simple but stunning, this features an emerald center cut stone with small diamonds on either side. The band incorporates Celtic knots for some traditional detail.
Price at time of publish: $3,199
Sevgi Jewelry Kiara Celtic Engagement Ring
This beautiful and delicate engagement ring features a center round moissanite stone. The triquetra symbol is paved with diamonds on either side, and it has a thinner band than some other Celtic options.
Price at time of publish: $1,050 for 14k Gold & 6mm Moissanite
Gemvara Eda Ring
Inspired by Celtic knot designs, this is definitely different than your traditional engagement ring. The three stones are iolite, which is known as "water sapphire," and has the look of blue ocean water at dawn.
Price at time of publish: $1,150
Doron Merav Celtic Engagement Ring
This handmade Celtic ring is very delicate and simple. It features a center moissanite stone and can be set in platinum, yellow gold, or rose gold.
Price at time of publish: $1,040
Celtic Jewelry Love Knot Engagement Ring
This slightly more masculine look has a wider band featuring a Celtic love knot design, which is inspired by lemniscates, the sacred symbol of the infinite. You can select a diamond or sapphire for the center stone.
Price at time of publish: $1,575
Betty Jewelry Emotions Alternative Celtic Engagement Ring
If you want to keep your engagement ring simple, opt for this minimalistic design. It features a Celtic knot with a very small diamond in the center, and it's both delicate and feminine.
Price at time of publish: $250
Brilliant Earth Aberdeen Diamond Engagement Ring
This ring features so many elements of Celtic design, from the Celtic knots down the band to the Claddagh-inspired heart-shaped diamond center stone. It's both intricate and romantic.
Price at time of publish: $1,490
My Irish Jeweler 14K White Gold Celtic Ring With Emerald and Diamonds
For a little bit of color, go for this unique design. It features an emerald as a center stone, which is known as a stone of love. Diamonds sit on either side, and Celtic designs are on the band.
Price at time of publish: $3,970