As any good Irish lass, I've always loved the idea of the Claddagh ring. It has symbolism of many kinds, and well - it's jewelry - which I love :) The heart stands for love, the crown for loyalty, the hands for friendship. If you wear it upside-down on your right hand (the point of the heart pointing to the fingertips), it means you are single. If you wear it right-side up (the heart pointing away from the fingertips), it means your heart is taken. Upside-down on your left hand? Engaged. Right-side up on your left hand, married. I love anything with a process, with a story.
I've almost always had a Claddagh ring, but usually they have been given to me
by significant others, so naturally I stop wearing them when the relationship ends. I decided recently it was time I bought myself one. My right-hand was really needing another ring, anyway. (My other rings? A purple-stoned ring I bought myself on my first road trip... which was just to the Wisconsin Dells, but for a high school senior, that was a big deal! And then you know my other ring - it's on my left hand and is the Fleur de Lis ring I got for myself when I traveled by myself to New Orleans in Feb 2010.)
In Chicago-land, there's really only one place to go when you need something Irish: The Irish Shop in Oak Park, IL. (Surprisingly, there are not many Irish shops in Chicago! The only other one I know is at Navy Pier... and well, who can stand going there?) Oak Park is a charming community, anyway - so worth the visit for sure. Plus, I lived there once and can give you food recommendations! Anyway, happy as a clam - I selected from a number of lovely Claddagh ring choices ('bout $50 for a sterling silver one, for those of you interested)... and now my hand feels complete. Well, as complete as it can feel with my heart on the loose! But that's what 2012 is for :)