Want to know how to interpret the symbols woven into these Celtic wedding rings from my artisan studio? You soon will!
SPECIAL NOTE: CELTIC WEDDING RINGS ARE OUR SPECIALTY, AND WORKING WITH US YOU'LL RECEIVE THE RING OF YOUR DREAMS — CREATED BY ARTISANS WITH DECADES OF EXPERIENCE, AND BACKED BY A LIFETIME GUARANTEE.
Looking to work with an awesome small artisan studio with excellent cred? Call us at our shop at 888-733-5238 or email info (at) reflectivejewelry.com for a FREE, no-pressure consultation. —Marc Choyt, co-owner
If you are on a quest to find the perfect Celtic wedding ring, you’ve landed on the right page! This article may be the most essential guide on Celtic rings you’ll find anywhere online.
Here, you’ll learn how to interpret Celtic knots, the choices you have about how rings are made, pros and cons of custom design, alloys, and insider info: such as when to choose 14K gold rings over more expensive 18K gold rings.
Most importantly: and I think you’ll agree with me on this — a Celtic wedding ring should be a representation of your style, enhancing connection to your ancestors. But it should also create a better world for your children and your children’s children. It’s about ethics.
We’re going on a journey that will make you an expert! I’ll guide you through step-by-step, starting with what I think is the most important issue of all.
1. Ethics Of Your Celtic Wedding Ring: Where Does The Metal Come From?
Neolithic Celtic gold was alluvial — dug from surface sources and melted together. Aside from some holes in the earth, there was no lasting impact to the web of life.
These days, nearly every jeweler, even those making Celtic wedding rings, claims to be “ethical” in their sources.
Can you trust those claims? Well, to be honest, rarely. Why?
Gold mining is one of the most toxic of all industrial activities, and 20% of it is sourced by people like the miner shown in the photo below, which I took in Tanzania. He’s mixing mercury and gold in sludge.
Small-scale miners live in extreme poverty and exploitation, and are the largest source of global mercury contamination. Gold from this source is NOT worthy of your Celtic wedding ring. You can be part of the solution: read on to learn how!
Mercury amalgamates gold from muck. It is then burned off in cooking pans, and released into the atmosphere — as well as the groundwater.
In North America, “eco-friendly” recycled gold does not impact the guy in the picture. What’s really taking place is illustrated below:
Recycled gold Celtic wedding rings have no real “ethical” value.
A jeweler (left) purchases old gold wedding rings and has ravaged landscapes, and contributed to destroying essential ecosystems. This gold goes to a refiner, who re-brands it as “eco-friendly,” “sustainable,” or “responsible.” Using it has no impact on exploited small-scale gold miners.
Fortunately: there is one excellent use for recycled gold.
2. Repurposing Your Ancestors’ Rings For A New Celtic Wedding Band
Jewelers have been recycling gold forever. And, if you're like most people, you’ve got some old gold earrings, bracelets, pendants, or rings in your jewelry box.
Want to put it to use?
Gold I’ve bought from customers at 93% of its value, which I refine to pay for new Celtic rings.
One option is to take your grandmother’s ring and use that gold to make a new Celtic wedding ring or Celtic Engagement ring. You can also use her diamond or gemstones in the new ring.
Let me show you a few recent projects we completed:
In this first example, we created a simple gold Celtic wedding band — and returned the gemstones to the customer:
Below, we transformed our customer’s old rings into a brand new Celtic bracelet — even resetting the engagement ring diamond:
Here, we used our customer’s gold and diamonds to create a custom variation on our Liana Ring:
And below, we used the gold from a departed family member’s wedding band to create this Celtic trinity knot pendant:
You can find out more about this process of reusing old material here, or give me a call at 888-733-5238 and we can discuss. You can also email me at info (at) Reflectivejewelry.com
But what if you don’t have old gold to reuse? Easy!
[ Feeling inspired to redesign your inherited jewelry? Why wait?? Call me at 888-733-5238 or email info (at) reflectivejewelry.com ]
3. Newly Mined Small-Scale Gold For Ethical Celtic Wedding Rings
You can actually be part of the solution to toxic gold mining by choosing Fairtrade or Fairmined Gold! We offer all our designs in Fairtrade Gold.
You might associate the Fairtrade logo with coffee or chocolate:
Our current source is a mine in Peru called Macdesa.
Fairtrade Gold assures that the people of the land benefit from the resources of their land. It also reduces harm to the environment. Learn more here.
Next: let’s consider how your rings will be made!
4. Fabrication of Celtic Wedding Rings: Who Are The Makers?
It’s important to consider the energy that goes into making the ring. There are two options: artisanal or mass-produced.
Let’s start with the artisanal approach first — because, if you’ve ever seen collections of early Celtic work, you’ll see amazing artistry.
A small-studio artisan carries on the living tradition of handmade Celtic wedding bands. You can feel the love of craft and heritage of an artisan who is connected to her ancestors.
Helen Chantler, our Lead Designer and co-Owner, visiting Almendres Cromlech. Portugal’s version of Stonehenge was likely created by ancient Celtic peoples in the 6th millennium BCE. Helen started making jewelry in 1990. Born in England, Helen’s grandmother was Scottish.
In our studio, for example, we start with 24K gold — which we alloy into various karats, and then mill out into wire, as shown below.
Then, the ring is formed on a mandrel:
We create many of our Celtic wedding bands by hand, using old-world tools and techniques.
If you are concerned about your budget for handmade wedding rings, there are plenty of great options!
Take a look at this two-tone Celtic wedding band below. Made with gold and silver, the Laura — which is entirely handmade in our studio — sells for just $495.
[ Do you have any questions about our rings? I'm here to answer them, with no obligation! Give me a call at 888-733-5238 or email info (at) reflectivejewelry.com ]
5. Mass-Produced Celtic Wedding Rings
If you really are on a budget and you don’t care about artisan design, then just Google and price shop.
There are an infinite number of commercial wedding rings that are made in China through a die striking process just like pots and pans. (Sometimes they’re also mass-cast.)
I see these designs in various catalogs that are sent to me, and some of them look fine.
Now, the next step on our Celtic wedding ring journey is choosing the knots!
6. The Hidden Meanings In Celtic Wedding Band Knotwork Motifs
Each of these Celtic wedding rings and Celtic engagement rings contains design elements to interpret.
Though the Celts did not leave written records, we can come to an understanding of the knotwork in Celtic wedding rings by considering sacred geometry — how the shapes function in nature.
In our Celtic knotwork 101, We’ll consider how to interpret seven different knots commonly found in Celtic knotwork wedding rings: the cross, lemniscate, circle, triangle, wave, spiral, and square.
7. Knotwork in Celtic Wedding Bands: The Basics
All Celtic design rings start with one line crossing over another.
Each line represents its own individual path — but when the two individual lines cross paths, creating a beautiful weaving together, they now have a relationship.
That’s where the magic happens!
Our Rope Twist Celtic wedding ring expresses harmony and simplicity.
But there’s another element here: the lemniscate motif, which is very common in Celtic or Irish wedding rings. The lemniscate is basically the number eight turned horizontally — think infinity symbol.
So, let’s put the two concepts together:
This ring represents the harmony and simplicity of two people weaving their lives together, from the present moving on to infinity.
8. The Circle, Arc and Waves in Celtic Wedding Rings
Circles are found in planets, the sun, the cycles of existence, our cells, plants, bones, and eyes.
All wedding rings have the circle as a foundational element — and in Celtic wedding ring design, they represent relationships based upon wholeness and inclusiveness and community.
Curved lines and arcs, parts of circles, symbolize life itself, the ebb and flow of the cosmos, the force that drives all creation. Think of the tides, birth, the dream world, fertility, feminine energy/Goddesses, and life itself.
This Celtic ring design above, made with gold over silver, is about two people, side by side — independent yet harmonious, riding with the flow, the wave.
9. Spirals in Celtic Wedding Ring Design
Another common motif in Irish Celtic wedding ring designs is the spiral — which occurs in in clouds, sea shells, the eddies of a river, or even star formations.
It's about expansion from a center point into the world, and contraction back into that center.
Our Two Tone Rolling Moon Wedding Ring shows interfacing spirals, harmoniously rolling into each other.
[ If you’ve gotten this far into our article, why not contact us? There’s no charge for consultation, and for a custom project I’ll even give you a price quote. Give me a call at 888-733-5238, or email info (at) reflectivejewelry.com ]
10. Triangles Hidden In Intricate Celtic Knotwork Wedding Ring Motifs
Consider where you see a triangular shape in nature: the tip of a leaf, or the shape of a predator’s face, beak, or claws. Triangles indicate intention and direction toward a goal.
Caption: The Celtic Arches Wedding Ring is a complex design containing triangles and arcs.
Do you want a challenge?
Before reading our explication of the Celtic Arches Wedding Ring (shown above), how do you interpret its design? This ring contains triangles, arches and waves — what do each of these mean to you? Write down your response.
This ring shows two interwoven lives, definite and creative. The strands of the knot arch up to the heavens, and then down to the Earth — gathering energy and inspiration from both. The individual lines’ broad, sweeping motions are reminiscent of ocean waves.
They crest just before meeting, then gather from above and below to commence the cycle anew. There is an innocent joy in this process, as we learn to surrender to the mystery of life.
11. Celtic Wedding Rings With Symbolic Designs
One final option: choosing a Celtic wedding ring that has symbolic significance through pictorial images.
For example, our Guardian Wedding Ring depicting a dragon, which is a rich symbol in Celtic lore.
And, our Celtic Hunt design:
No list of symbolic rings would be complete without showing the classic Claddagh ring. We hand-carved this design below in wax and set it with a beautiful Ceylon sapphire:
12. How To Choose The Celtic Knot For your Wedding Ring
Over the twenty six years of being in business, I’ve learned the best way to choose Celtic Knot rings for men or women.
Simply feel for a natural attraction. Let the ring choose you, if you will.
Then spend some time looking at its design elements, using this basic guide as a starting point.
You might gain insight into your relationship with your beloved partner just by observing and understanding what you are both attracted to.
13. Custom Celtic Wedding Ring Design
You can really make a wedding ring out of any Celtic design.
For example, one of our customers contacted us with this image:
We created their design using platinum and 18K gold. In this case, we created several computer generated drawings and worked with our customer to choose what worked best for them.
Then, once we settled on the design, we had to carve the wax and cast the bands, which are yellow gold, separately from the center part, which is platinum.
And here’s the finished wedding band:
[ If you want to create a custom design, you can learn more on our Custom Design page. Or just call me at 888-733-5238 or email me at info (at) reflectivejewelry.com ]
14. Precious Metal Options for Celtic Wedding Rings
Let’s start with the basics.
For gold Celtic wedding rings, you have three main choices: yellow, the natural color of gold; rose gold, which is yellow gold turned rose mainly because of copper alloy; and white, which is yellow gold made white using nickel and silver.
Our Weaving Heart Celtic Wedding Ring in 18K yellow gold, 14K white gold, and 18K rose gold. “K,” in this case, is short for “karat.”
“Karat” is actually a variation of the word “carat” — a word traceable to ancient Greco-Roman times, where carob seeds were used as units of measurements.
“Carat” is now used as a unit of weight for gemstones, while “karat” is the percentage of gold in a wedding ring.
Don’t confuse “karat,” “carat,” and “carrot” which Helen grows in her garden!
Pure gold (99.9% pure) is twenty-four karat or 24K. A 14K gold band is 58.3% gold. (14 ÷ 24 = .583) 18K Celtic wedding rings are 75% gold.
You can also choose among natural white precious metals for your ring. Platinum is a fine choice for your ring.
Our Narrow Love Knot Celtic Wedding Ring, in platinum.
Also, though not as common, Celtic silver wedding rings are 92.5% fine pure silver, and are very affordable.
Our Shannon Celtic Wedding Band in Sterling Silver.
Now, here’s a bit of information that’s critical for you to know if you’re interested in white gold.
When it comes to white gold wedding rings, 14K is actually a better option than 18K. It has more alloy, and is whiter. Plus, it’s less expensive and more durable.
The reverse is true for yellow gold rings. An 18K gold ring has that more beautiful gold color.
Rose gold, on the other hand, comes down to personal preference. Do you want a more yellow rose gold or copperish rose gold?
Alloy colors the metal and hardens it — making it more suitable for jewelry production and creation. To illustrate, fine gold has a hardness level of 2.5 out of 10.
That’s about the hardness of your fingernail — far too soft for wedding rings, which we anticipate wearing every day and expect to hold their shape.
Once alloyed, 18K yellow gold and sterling silver are about the same level of hardness. Natural white metals, as well as the more alloyed 14K gold, are stronger and more durable.
Here’s an illustration of how alloys impact the color of rings:
If you have abrasive activities with your hands, you might consider more closely the durability of the metal of your wedding rings. If you don't anticipate being so hard on your ring, any of the metal choices described in this article will hold up fine over the years.
15. Our Favorite Metal Option: Two Tone Celtic Wedding Ring
You can also combine metals and create two tone wedding rings, which is perhaps the best option. By using contrasting rose gold, yellow gold, and white metals, the knotwork gains more contrast.
For example, our Laura design, a double infinity motif.
The yellow gold knots contrast against the antiqued silver background.
Another option, our Flores motif, shown in two tone yellow gold knots on a white gold ring.
You can really choose any metal combination that you can imagine.
Another approach is to use metal contrasts in the outer bands of the ring.
Our Triscali two tone Celtic wedding ring with diamond accent.
You can have a white gold knot and a yellow gold base, or a yellow gold knot and silver base. Two-color gold Celtic wedding rings are particularly beautiful.
If you’d like to explore two-tone wedding rings a bit further, take a look at this companion article: Two Tone Wedding Rings: 15 Critical Facts To Know Before Purchasing
16. How To Get Started!
The Reflective Jewelry gallery.
We are a small artisan studio of just six people located in Santa Fe, NM. We’ve been in business since 1995, and have an excellent reputation — just check out our Google reviews.
If you’re interested in purchasing Celtic wedding rings, and still have questions, I’m here to help!
Leave a comment below, email me at info (at) ReflectiveJewelry.com, or call us at 888-733-5238 during our business hours.
Marc Choyt is president of Reflective Jewelry, a designer jewelry company founded in 1995. He pioneered the ethical sourcing movement in North America and is also the only certified Fairtrade Gold jeweler in the United States. Choyt’s company was named Santa Fe New Mexico’s Green Business of the Year in 2019, and he has been honored with several awards for his efforts to support ethical jewelry. His ebook, Ethical Jewelry Exposé: Lies, Damn Lies and Conflict Free Diamonds, is available online. Choyt can be reached on Twitter at @Circlemanifesto or by email at marc(at)reflectivejewelry.com.