Irish Claddagh Rings
Fede Rings were the precursors to Claddagh rings
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Irish Claddagh Rings :: Fede Rings

Fede Rings

 Fede rings have existed since the Roman times, having been a part of Roman or Greek culture, or possible both.  They were discovered to be worn often during medieval times.  Many fine examples of these rings can be found in the National Museum of Ireland, along with the most famous Fede rings from Ireland, namely Claddagh rings.

Irish Claddagh rings belong to a group of rings that are called by the Italian name “Fede”, meaning finger rings, or as some have called them, “Faith” rings.  There are several different designs of Fede rings, but the distinguishing characteristic is two clasping hands symbolizing the pledging of love.  The most common form of Fede ring includes a heart, which is clasped by the two hands, which is a part of the design of Claddagh rings.  What sets the Claddagh ring apart from the design of other Fede rings, though, is not only the heart center mounted on the ring, but also the crown mounted above the heart.  The Claddagh design has been a popular Fede ring in Ireland since the 17th century.

Another unique form of Fede ring is the Fenian Claddagh, which has the heart and clasping hands, but lacks the crown, which is a defining characteristic of the traditional Claddaghs.  These rings were found in Dublin over 100 years ago.

All of these rings, whether accentuated by crowns or hearts, or with simply unadorned clasped hands, carry wonderful symbolism.  The hands alone represent trust, faith or pledged love, and have been a part of symbolic gesture since the Roman times.