Mani in fede?
December 1, 2011 9:39 AM   Subscribe

What kind of Claddagh ring should I buy and where should I buy it?

My girlfriend lost her Claddagh ring (it was a gift from a previous significant other). We are not yet at the point in our relationship where we are talking about marriage, otherwise we would both discuss what kind of engagement ring she'd like, etc.

I would like to replace the missing Claddagh ring with another one as a surprise, since wearing one is very important to her. I know her ring size already.

Aside from the metal type (sterling silver or white gold), what qualities or designs should I look for? I live in a big enough city to find local places that make/sell them, what should I look for when I visit these shops? If I'm buying online, are there any especially trustworthy or reliable sites I should check out? Advice for any size of budget is welcome!
posted by vkxmai to Shopping (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This....may be something you want to let her in on, especially if the old one came from an ex. You can still surprise her by presenting her with a cute little "coupon" for "a replacement ring", and then you can both go to the jeweler's together and let her pick out exactly the one she wants. It'll still be a lovely gesture.

The only other advice I can offer is that I've seen some claddaghs set with Connemara marble as the stone -- this is a kind of marble found in Connemara that comes in some lovely deep shades of green, but it's not a gemstone -- it's a literal STONE, so it'll be cheap. So you can get something that's sentimentally lovely without breaking the bank.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:46 AM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

Personally, I like to have my Irish jewelery shipped in from Ireland, there are plenty of web sites that ship direct. I have no real rationale reason for this though.
posted by COD at 9:47 AM on December 1, 2011

The 2 that I had and liked the most:
One was thinner, but from a merchant who also had a Celtic shop, so the ring was made in Ireland (big thing for me with my favorite jewelry).
The other had my (faux) birthstone in the center, where the heart is. This depends on if your gf likes her birthstone.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:50 AM on December 1, 2011

I agree with EmpressCallipygos in principle on the issue of buying a replacement ring. You do realize that the claddagh represents a "promise" ring of sorts, right? It may send the "I'm ready for more commitment" message to her. So just be careful of that. But if you decide to go ahead with the purchase of the ring...

This is an aesthetic answer more than anything, but does your girlfriend prefer small jewelry, or the big clunky kind? Because that may guide you when getting another ring for her - you can get claddaghs with slim proportions, and claddaghs with huge proportions.

Myself personally, I prefer a ring with properly proportioned design - the hands, particularly, can get very weird and bendy-looking vis-a-vis the rest of the design. Bonehead and I had my wedding ring done by an artisan jeweler, and that was my primary concern. (You'll note we got all fancy with the jewels, but hey, it's a wedding ring, after all.)

I hope this helps!
(p.s.: the non bejewelled ring in the picture, bonehead's, is technically a "fede" ring...)
posted by LN at 11:08 AM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have no opinion on Claddagh rings specifically, but my wife bought my wedding band from Celtic Revival. The guy who runs the shop is very nice to deal with, and I recommend him to anyone looking for Irish/Celtic style jewelry.

I've bought my wife a pair of earrings, a ring, and a necklace made of Connemara marble with a shamrock from Celtic Hills. She's loved everything I've gotten her from them.
posted by ralan at 11:10 AM on December 1, 2011

You do realize that the claddagh represents a "promise" ring of sorts, right? It may send the "I'm ready for more commitment" message to her. So just be careful of that.

This may be more of a "your mileage may vary" thing; I've not heard that the claddagh is exclusively or specifically a promise ring. Tradition has it that it used to be a style of engagement ring, but the only current tradition I know if is the position on your finger indicating whether you're single or not.

Although, you're right that it's possible a lot of unintended assumptions could be drawn from "guy gives girl ring".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:17 AM on December 1, 2011

Best answer: I have had very good experience with All Claddagh out of Dublin. Excellent customer service, fast shipping and a wide variety of claddagh rings. best of luck!
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 1:05 PM on December 1, 2011

Best answer: Mr. Oats and I have Gimmel rings, which are variants of the claddagh design, as our wedding rings. We got them from, which carries a wide variety of claddagh designs. They would be willing to work with you on a custom ring, too, if that sort of thing appeals to you.
posted by fancyoats at 4:43 AM on December 2, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you for the suggestions! I talked it over with her and she loves the Connemara marble.
posted by vkxmai at 7:10 AM on December 2, 2011

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