The McClellan Claddagh Wedding Band

October 2015
14 karat white gold

After making the McClellan Claddagh for a friend of mine to propose to his long-term girlfriend with, she approached me to use the design to create his wedding band (obviously, she said yes). I set the claddagh design as the centerpiece on a band of uniform width and added high rails to protect the shape from wearing down. For the rest of the band, given his highland origins, I chose a Celtic knot pattern.

I will confess that I don't know a whole lot about Celtic knotwork. At first I tried to find out if, like tartan patterns, there were knotwork patterns that were associated with particular clans (apparently knot). Then I researched whether or not there were established meanings behind certain weaves (again, no).

I then looked into my friend's ancestral clan, the McClellans. I came across a very helpful blog post by a gentleman named Daniel O. McClellan. He notes that the original spelling of the name is in fact "MacLellan" and that it derives from the Gaelic "Mac Gille Fhaolain," or "son of the servant of St. Filan." Filan means "wolf," so once again I tried looking for Celtic knot patterns that had anything to do with wolves—but barring full representations of wolves in knotwork that would never fit on a ring shank, no luck.

McClellan's blog post also included a line drawing of Clan MacLellan's coat-of-arms, and I noted that the escutcheon's ordinaries were two bold chevrons. I took that motif, inverted it and interlaced it, and used that to create a repeating pattern that made what I thought was pretty decent Celtic knotwork. It may not be the most complicated knotwork pattern, but it's derived directly from my friend's ancestral heraldry—I couldn't think of any better detail to compliment the claddagh he inspired me to design in the first place.

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