Symbolic Engagement Rings
A symbolic engagement ring uses visual design elements to convey special meaning and represent your unique love. Couples can choose to represent a special date, location, cultural motifs, secret messages, or shared faiths – the options are endless! There are many benefits to choosing a symbolic engagement ring, including sharing a powerful unspoken message which can be passed down for generations. Additionally, it can be a special bonding experience between partners as they reflect on the love and choose which aspects of themselves and their relationship to represent. Results will look wildly different from couple to couple, ranging from more literal representations of love to abstract metaphors for special moments, stories, or cultural identities.
To help inspire symbols for your own meaningful engagement ring we are showcasing some of the most popular symbols found in engagement rings.
Top Symbols Used For Engagement Rings
Originating from Ireland, the Claddagh symbol shows two hands cradling a crowned heart. As a much beloved symbol in Ireland, these rings are steeped in tradition dating all the way back to the 1600’s. According to legend the symbol was first created in Claddagh (now Galway) by a fisherman named Richard Joyce. Richard was captured by pirates and forced to work for a Moorish goldsmith. When he was finally released, he reunited with his true love and presented her with an engagement ring he had made in captivity – the Claddagh ring. The symbol came to be known as representing loyalty (the crown), love (the heart), and friendship (the hands).
The Aisling, pictured above, was designed for our client by her loving husband using the Claddagh symbol. We set the design on a pendant, creating sparkle with a 1.78 diamond center stone.
For those unafraid of abstraction, The Lauren diamond cluster ring in yellow gold is a wonderful example of how the basic elements of the Claddagh can be made fresh and modern .
Infinity rings get their name because they incorporate the mathematical sign for infinity in their design. The symbol depicts a figure eight on its side, representing an unbroken, everlasting path. Because of this, the design is most often used to symbolize eternal love. More so than other symbols, the infinity sign has a wide range of interpretations, allowing you to put your own unique spin on it. The Paige, The Brandi, and The Kristen Elise engagement rings were all inspired by infinity.
This notion of infinity can also be represented by the way you set your stones on the band of your ring. A design with stones set all the way around the band is often called an “infinity” or “eternity” band and is meant to represent never-ending love.
3. Celtic Knot
Another Irish favorite, the Celtic knot or trinity knot, engagement ring features a looping pattern with three points. Like the infinity sign, this knot has an unbroken path, perfectly encapsulating both the above themes of eternity and well as values. The meaning of three points varies between communities but the most common are life, death, rebirth or past, present, and future. Like Claddagh rings, Celtic Knot rings are steeped in tradition and culture and can be a lovely and sentimental way to honor one’s family or heritage. When our client was designing his fiancé, Kathleen’s engagement ring, this was one of his most important priorities. Using braided metal, we were able to incorporate the design on either side of the center stones, creating a subtle but beautiful look.
Celtic knots also can be utilized as a pattern, as we did with The Doug Celtic knot wedding band. Repeating infinitely all the way around the ring, the Celtic knots honor Doug’s story while creating a unique pattern with movement and texture.
4. Tree of Life
For those inspired by nature, a Tree of Life engagement ring is a symbolic ring that can take on many different forms and meanings. Representing the continuity and interconnectedness of all life on earth, it is meant to bring a sense of calm, bringing about harmony and balance for eternity. This is a great choice for any couple wishing to represent their journey through life, rooted together unmoving in the face of the chaos of the world.
Designs of this symbol tend to be more abstract, allowing one to really put their own spin on the symbol. Some examples of couples rings inspired by the Tree of Life symbol include the Ryan sapphire branch wedding band and The Becca 3 carat nature-inspired ring (pictured above).
Puzzle engagement rings utilize different bands which fit together perfectly, just like a real puzzle. Like Claddagh and Celtic rings, Puzzle rings have a long history and tradition. Some theorize the first puzzle rings were created by the Egyptians, while other early puzzle rings show up in Turkey and 16th Century Europe. Sometimes known as “Turkish Wedding Rings” or “Harem Rings,” the puzzle ring in Turkish tradition was born from a legend of a nobleman who gifted his wife a ring that was designed to unravel if it was ever removed from her finger – meaning that it she was ever unfaithful the ring would destroy itself and he would immediately know.
While we believe in a much more evolved and conscious approach to coupling – there are romantic notions in the symbolism of distinct and independent pieces coming together to create something beautiful.
6. Knots & Braids
The association with knots with joining together in love and friendship has been a part of our cultural psyche since antiquity. Just as one “ties the knot,” upon entering a marriage, a knot engagement can symbolize a close and unbreakable bond.
This knot can be represented in a variety of design choices, from the previously mentioned Celtic knot to an entangled, braided design. The Ashley braided diamond engagement ring uses the latter, with entangled bands of metal that knot over each other in an inseparable path.
Two unique takes on the heart-shaped ring. Perhaps the most literal of all the symbols, heart-shaped rings are the ultimate representation of love. For true romantics who wear their heart on their sleeve (in this case hand!) a heart-shaped ring is the perfect expression for their relationship. Despite being such a universal symbol, the context in which each couple uses a heart shape can take on a range of moods. From playful as seen in the Denise diamond heart-shaped ring, to a more bold, gothic tone as displayed by the Jen anatomical heart ring.
Now time to design your own ring…
Ready to create your own symbolic engagement ring? We specialize in fully custom design and are here to turn your love story into a tangible engagement ring that perfectly encapsulates your love.
Need more inspiration? Check out our engagement ring portfolio!
We work with clients all over the world who desire jewelry with meaning. To get the design conversation started, book an appointment or give us a call at 303-957-6502.