The trinity knot, the Claddagh ring, and St. Brigid’s cross are more than just pretty-looking jewelry designs. Each has a story and a deeper meaning with ties to Ireland.
Also called a triquetra (Latin for “three-cornered”), the trinity knot is an ancient Celtic symbol comprising a single interlocking line with three distinct points. It’s used everywhere from architectural adornment to traditional jewelry, and its symbolism differs depending on who you ask—Christians say it symbolizes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; pagans say it’s earth, air, and water. (One more option? The cycle of life, death, and rebirth.)
This popular ring design was named after an Irish fishing village and dates back to the 17th century. It features two hands clasping a heart that wears a crown—the hands represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty. Switch up the hand you wear it on and the direction the heart faces depending on your relationship status: If you’re single and open to love, for example, wear it on your right-hand ring finger with the heart facing outward. Learn more here.
St. Brigid’s Cross
St. Brigid was an abbess and patroness of Ireland as well as the founder of the first Irish monastery in Kildare. A popular version of the story behind her namesake four-armed cross goes like this: An old pagan chieftain was lying on his deathbed in Kildare, and his servants summoned Brigid to calm his restless spirit. Brigid sat at his bedside, consoling and calming his delirium, and picked up some rushes from the floor, which she weaved into a distinctive cross pattern. It is thought her calming words and actions brought peace to the chieftain’s soul and that he was so enamored by her that he requested to be baptized as a Christian just before his passing. These days, Irish families hang St. Brigid’s crosses above their doors and are thought to keep evil, fire, and hunger out of the home.