Aquamarine -March Birthstone

By Julie O'Shaughnessy
on March 11, 2019

Aquamarine -March Birthstone

In the northern hemisphere, March signals the coming of spring and warmer weather. The soft blue to blue-green color of aquamarine, the March birthstone, is perfect for this month, as it evokes the serenity and the tranquility of the seaside in early spring. Aquamarine gets its name from the Latin words ‘aqua’ meaning water and ‘mare’ which means the sea. This beautiful stone was also thought to be the treasure of mermaids, and its energetic qualities were believed to be especially strong when it was submerged in water.
 
True to its name, the lovely aquamarine was thought to protect sailors from the wrath of Poseidon, God of the Sea. Sailors, caught in a storm, would throw their aquamarines over the side of the ship into the sea in a last ditch effort to cool Poseidon’s temper.
 
The stone’s cool blue-green color was thought to cool human tempers and calm angry hearts as well. My favorite historical (and slightly odd!) fact about the lovely stone comes from the ancient Romans, who thought that a frog carved from aquamarine would help to resolve differences between enemies. Many people who lived in the Middle Ages believed that wearing an aquamarine would prevent them from being poisoned (another odd fact!) Sumerian, Egyptian, and Hebrew warriors wore the aquamarine into battle to help them achieve victory.

 

Aquamarine is a member of the beryl family and gets its lovely color from the presence of iron. All the members of the beryl family derive their color from the presence of metallic elements. Otherwise, they would be colorless. The stone can vary in color from it's characteristic pale blue, with the darker stones being more valuable as well as more desirable. The biggest source for aquamarine is Brazil but Africa is rapidly becoming a secondary and important source of this popular gemstone.
 
Aquamarine is also associated with courage, loyalty, friendship, and communication as well as beauty.  For anyone with a March birthday, a beautiful Irish Claddagh ring in either sterling silver, white or yellow gold and set with a gorgeous blue-green aquamarine as the heart makes a perfect gift, evoking all these qualities and more.  And with its reputation for smoothing over relationships and re-awakening lost love, the tranquil aquamarine was often given as an anniversary gift and is listed as the official 19th-anniversary gemstone as well.
 
Even if your birthday is not in March, the beguiling blue of the beautiful aquamarine set in a lovely Claddagh pendant or a pair of beautiful Claddagh earrings is a wonderful way to treat yourself any time of year!

Amethyst - February’s Birthstone

By Julie O'Shaughnessy
on January 28, 2019

Amethyst - February’s Birthstone

The beautiful purple amethyst is just right for February, for many some of the coldest and darkest weeks of winter, so the warmth of this stone’s rich, royal color makes this gem a perfect choice for this month’s birthstone  St. Valentine  supposedly wore an amethyst ring and Roman soldiers, recognizing the ring, would ask him to perform the marriage ceremony for them and their loves. Perhaps this is why this beautiful stone is said to attract love.

 

Celtic February Birthstone Sterling Silver Pendant


The stone’s purple color reminded the ancient Greeks of wine and it was thought that amethyst could protect one from drunkenness. Although there are many variations of the story, according to Aristotle, Amethyst was a nymph who was suffering the unwanted amorous attentions of Bacchus, the god of winemaking, and who pleaded with the goddess Diana for her protection. Diana answered Amethyst’s plea and transformed her into a gemstone. To commemorate his love for the nymph, Bacchus not only gave the stone its purple color but transmitted to it the quality of protecting whoever wore the stone from the ill effects of too much wine. Thus began the practice of drinking wine made from cups of amethyst.

February Birthstone w/ Crystals Claddagh Sterling Silver Pendant

Amethyst was thought to have many other wonderful qualities as well. Soldiers valued amethyst’s ability to protect them from surprise attacks and to make them victorious in battle. Hunters appreciated its assistance in the successful killing of wild beasts and the gemstone was widely thought to protect against witchcraft as well as black magic. Farmers who wore amethysts believed their crops to be protected from storms and hailstones. "Ahlamah”, the Hebrew word for amethyst, means ‘dreams’ and the stone is thought to be the cause of beautiful dreams.

 

Sterling Silver February Birthstone Claddagh Earrings


The English, in particular, held amethyst in high esteem. Beads made from the gemstone have been found in Anglo-Saxon graves. Queen Elizabeth has a historic set of amethyst jewelry, known as the Kent Demi-Parure, which was originally owned by Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent and has been passed down to the Crown. Tibetans hold much reverence for the stone as well, as they believe that amethyst was sacred to the Buddha and often make their prayer beads from it.

 

Sterling Silver February Birthstone Claddagh Ring


Most of today’s amethysts are mined in Brazil. At the beginning of the 20th century, large deposits were discovered in South America, making the stone much more widely available than it had been. This is the reason much of the older amethyst jewelry comes from that era. Before the Brazilian source had been found, most amethysts came from Siberia, a place that was cold, remote and inaccessible, so at that time most of these beautiful gemstones were in the possession of royalty or other aristocracies.

 

Sterling Silver Claddagh February Birthstone Pendant

Amethyst is also found in many locations within the United States, including Arizona, Texas, Yellowstone National Park, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and many other places. Canada also boasts large deposits of the gemstone, with the largest amethyst mine in North America located in Ontario. It’s no wonder the official gemstone of the Province of Ontario is the amethyst!

 

Sterling Silver with Crystal February Birthstone Claddagh Pendant


Amethyst belongs to the quartz family. Quartz, composed of silicon and oxygen, is colorless in its pure state. Just a few ‘stray’ atoms of another element will cause quartz to take on a variety of beautiful colors. With amethyst, it is just a scattering of iron atoms that cause the vibrant purple hue. Depending on the number of iron atoms in a particular stone, amethyst’s colors can vary widely from light lilac to deep violet to royal purple.

February Birthstone Rings

 

Only a relatively small amount of amethyst deposits are found in the soils of the Emerald Isle. One of these locations is on Achill Island off the western coast of County Mayo. The cliffside road to Keem Bay off Achill Island crosses a geological boundary where a vein of amethyst is exposed to view. Locals say the best time to hunt for amethyst gemstones on Achill Island is just after a rain. Fortunately for gem hunters, Ireland gets plenty!

February Birthstone Claddagh Pendant


But even if Ireland is not so well known for its amethyst deposits, this beautiful stone is shown off to perfection in this gorgeous Claddagh pendant with an amethyst stone set as the heart, in sterling silver, white or yellow gold. And what better complement to the pendant than these matching Claddagh amethyst earrings. Add to your collection with this Irish amethyst Claddagh ring and you will have a set worthy of royalty!

Sterling Silver February Birthstone Ring


Amethyst jewelry should not be overexposed to strong sunlight, as this can fade the color. Avoid subjecting your amethyst to heat, so your stones should not be steam cleaned. The safest method for cleaning your amethyst jewelry is to use warm soapy water. With a little care, your amethyst jewelry will remain beautiful for generations to come.

Irish Woman Post

By Julie O'Shaughnessy
on January 27, 2019

Irish Woman Post

10 Easy Ways To Have An Irish Wedding

By Julie O'Shaughnessy
on January 23, 2019

The use of traditions and customs is what makes an Irish wedding so special.  Irish weddings often include some fairly modern customs, as well as traditions of times long past.  It is not hard to have an Irish themed wedding, even on a budget.  Below we’ll explore some of the more common and even some of the more whimsical traditions, but there are many others that you could choose to include.

1.    Be sure to include an Irish blessing during either the ceremony or the reception.  You could include such a blessing in your vows, in a speech, or even as small cards at each place during the reception.

2.    By tradition, Irish brides often carry a horseshoe down the aisle.  It is a symbol of good luck, and the open end of the shoe is normally kept pointing upwards (so that the luck does not run out).

3.    Using Celtic or Claddagh unity candles can be a wonderful way to include your heritage in the ceremony itself.  The two tapers are often lit by the families, and during the ceremony, the bride and groom use those tapers to light the unity candle. 

4.    You can use an Irish wedding cake topper as part of the decoration on your cake.  They are normally available in either fine pewter, or china, and are truly beautiful accents.

5.    Exchanging Irish wedding coins is another traditional custom.  Sometimes the groom gives his new bride the coin right after exchanging rings.  It is a symbol of all his worldly goods.  In other weddings, both the bride and the groom exchange these coins.  It is said that if they “clink” during the exchange that the couple will be blessed with the gift of child.

6.    There’s also the old Irish saying of “Marry in May and rue the day” meaning that it is considered bad luck to marry during the month of May.

7.    Using an Irish wedding bell is another great custom.  The bell can be used during the ceremony, and can also be used to announce toasts, etc. at the reception.  After the wedding day, the bell is kept in a convenient place around the house.  Should the new couple find themselves in a disagreement, one of them can ring the bell signalling a moment to reflect upon their wedding day, and their love for each other.  This has proven to be a very popular Irish wedding gift.

8.    Inviting your future husband over for dinner in the days prior to your wedding is another fine Irish tradition.  For this meal, a cooked goose is normally served, and the term “his goose is cooked” originates from this custom.  This meal is considered to bring good luck to the couple.

9.    Consider drinking meade,a honey wine, both at the reception, and for one full moon (a.k.a. one month) afterwards.  It is one of the oldest drinks in Ireland, and is thought to promote male virility.  The drinking of meade for a period following the wedding is what led to the phrase “The Honeymoon.”

10.    Use wildflowers as your bouquet or in your hair to accent your headpiece.  Many Irish weddings were rural in nature, and brides had to use what was readily available.  This is a wonderful way to continue a rural Irish tradition.

Celtic By Design offers a large selection of fine Irish wedding accessories for your wedding.  We also offer Irish wedding bands and Celtic wedding bands, Irish wedding gifts, and a gift registry.

Irish Wedding Blessings & Toasts

By Julie O'Shaughnessy
on January 20, 2019

An Irish wedding blessing is a great way to pay tribute to your Irish roots on your special day. We've included a number of traditional blessings below. Don't forget to check out our great selection of Irish Wedding Rings and Celtic Wedding Rings, as well as our complete range of Irish Wedding Accessories.

 

Irish Wedding Blessing #1

May God be with you and bless you,
May you see your children's children,
May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

 

Irish Wedding Blessing #2

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon the fields.

May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
May the joy of living for one another trip a smile from your lips,
a twinkle from your eye.

And when eternity beckons,
at the end of a life heaped high with love,
May the good Lord embrace you
with the arms that have nurtured you
the whole length of your joy-filled days.

May the gracious God hold you both in the palm of His hands.
And today, may the Spirit of Love find a dwelling place in your hearts.

 

Irish Wedding Blessing #3

May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

 

Irish Wedding Blessing #4

May you both live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.

 

Irish Wedding Blessing #5

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings,slow to make enemies and quick to make friends.

 

Irish Wedding Blessing #6

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.
May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.
May the saddest day of your future Be no worse than the happiest day of your past.

 

Irish Wedding Blessing #7

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.
May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.
May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
May your hands be forever clasped in friendship and your hearts joined forever in love.
Your lives are very special, God has touched you in many ways.
May his blessings rest upon you, and fill all your coming days.

Irish Coffee - History, Heritage and Recipes

By Julie O'Shaughnessy
on November 21, 2018

Irish Coffee - History, Heritage and Recipes

There is nothing more warming and delicious on a cold winter’s eve than Irish coffee, a deceptively simple concoction that is both an elegant cocktail as well as a coffee drink. Made from piping hot strong coffee, sweetened with sugar and fortified with quality Irish whiskey, the drink is finished off with a layer of rich, cool cream floating on top, reminiscent of the foamy head on a glass of good Irish stout.
Irish Coffee Recipe crystal mugs

While you might think the origin of Irish whiskey is lost in the mists of the Emerald Isle, this drink is actually quite a recent invention. Late one winter’s night in 1943, a commercial airline flight left Foynes airport in County Limerick, Ireland, bound for Newfoundland. After flying for several hours, the weather became uncooperative and deeming conditions unsafe, the captain made the decision to return to Foynes. The crew relayed a Morse code message back to the tower and airport staff, including the workers from the airport’s restaurant, were immediately notified to come back to work.

 

Belleek Shamrock Irish Coffee Mugs (Pair)


When the plane finally arrived, the passengers were taken to Brendan O’Regan’s airport restaurant for some warming food and drink. Luckily for them (and as it turns out, for us as well!) Chef Joe Sheridan was waiting and when he was asked to make something warm for the chilled and weary travelers, he decided to fortify their coffees with good Irish whiskey. The passengers loved it!

Irish Blessing Galway Irish coffee mugs (pair)

A few weeks later, Chef Sheridan brought his new coffee cocktail into the office of his boss, presented in a gleaming stemmed glass. The drink was an instant hit, not only at the airport but quickly spread to other restaurants.


Soon after, an American travel writer, Stanton Delaplane, was treated to an Irish Coffee at Shannon Airport. He was so enamored of the drink that he helped test the recipe back home in California in an effort to float the cream on top in exactly the way he had experienced it in Ireland. Finally, Irish Coffee was given a place on the menu at San Francisco’s Buena Vista Café, where it proved to be hugely popular, helped along by Delaplane frequently mentioning it in his travel column.

 

Galway Crystal Trinity Knot Irish Coffee Mugs (Pair)


The recipe for Irish Coffee may be simple, but an excellent taste experience demands quality ingredients: strong, hot, aromatic coffee brewed with filtered water, a good Irish Whiskey such as Jameson or Bushmills, heavy cream and Demerara sugar. Although you can serve Irish coffee in many styles of glassware, including these beautiful Irish mugs, [your link here] the traditional stemmed glass as chosen by Chef Joe Sheridan on that freezing night in 1943 makes for a beautiful presentation and honors the heritage of this classic coffee cocktail.


Before you run off to make some Irish coffee, check out this fun video of the professionals at the Buena Vista Cafe, where they pour more Irish Coffees than anywhere in the world, making an astounding 2000 coffees a day and using a whopping 100 bottles of Irish whiskey!
 

Mo Anam Cara Rings

By Julie O'Shaughnessy
on October 08, 2018

article on Mo Anam Cara Wedding rings

Men's Mo Anam Cara Ring - Sterling Silver
The Mo Anam Cara rings are probably one of our most popular Irish or Gaelic rings.  The meaning of Mo Anam Cara is “my soul mate” and these rings are a wonderful way to remind both yourself and your soulmate of your shared connection.

Each of these beautiful Irish rings is handcrafted in Dublin, Ireland.  Just before they receive their final polishing, each is submitted to the Assay Office at Dublin Castle for inspection and hallmarking.  It is the Irish hallmark that serves as your guarantee both of metal quality as well as the authenticity of origin.  Over the years, we’ve come across many knock-offs and imitations, but there is only one original series of Mo Anam Cara rings complete with an Irish hallmark.  Don’t accept inferior products for such an important jewelry item.

CelticByDesign.com offers the complete range of genuine Mo Anam Cara rings.  We have styles and metals to fit every budget, from sterling silver to 14K white, yellow, and two-tone gold.

Visit us online at www.celticbydesign.com for all of your Irish jewelry needs!  If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, just contact us and we’ll do our very best to help!

October's Birthstone - Tourmaline

By Julie O'Shaughnessy
on October 01, 2018

October's Birthstone - Tourmaline

Luckily for us, the Empress Dowager Cixi didn’t buy up the entire world’s supply of pink tourmaline, as evidenced by our beautiful sterling silver Irish Claddagh ring with a pink tourmaline stone set as the heart. This ring, paired with these dainty Claddagh earrings with simulated pink tourmaline stones set as the hearts and a matching Claddagh pendant will have your October born loved ones (or yourself!) dancing for joy.
 

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The Sapphire - September’s ‘Stone of Blue Fire’ Birthstone

By Julie O'Shaughnessy
on September 27, 2018

September's birthstone - the sapphire stone of blue fire

But you certainly don’t have to have royal blood to own or gift one of these lovely blue gemstones. This sterling silver Irish Claddagh ring with a blue sapphire stone set as the heart,, plus a set of matching Claddagh earrings with simulated blue sapphire stones set as the hearts or this beautiful Claddagh pendant with a simulated blue sapphire heart, will win the heart of any September born friend or loved one.

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The History Of The Claddagh Ring

By Julie O'Shaughnessy
on August 13, 2018

the history of the claddagh ring blog post

The origins of the Claddagh ring are blurred by history. However, the most likely account (and the one that does not involve mythology of any sort) is the story of Richard Joyce. Joyce was a native of Galway and left his home to pursue work overseas in the 17th century. While at sea, his vessel was attacked by pirates, and Joyce was taken as a slave.

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Aquamarine -March Birthstone

Aquamarine -March Birthstone

March 11, 2019

In the northern hemisphere, March signals the coming of spring and warmer weather. The soft blue to blue-green color of...

Read more →