Tag Archives: claddagh

Dolling up.

22 Aug

I’m not a big jewellery-wearer. The only piece of jewellery I wore regularly was my Claddagh ring which Grant got for me on my 23rd birthday. I then got engaged on my 24th birthday and now the piece of jewellery I wear regularly is my engagement ring! I wear jewellery when I’m either going out on the town or there’s a special occasion, but otherwise, I’m very minimal.

So when it came time for me to get jewellery for my wedding, well, I had some time figuring out what to wear.

Originally, I was hoping to wear my mother’s ruby pendant and earring set. It matched the ruby on my Claddagh engagement ring. However, it was yellow gold. I’m not saying you can’t wear yellow gold with a wedding dress, it just doesn’t look as good. I only really changed my mind, however, when my mother suggested I wear another piece of jewellery of hers. This one was a silver necklace.

Unfortunately, it didn’t come with matching earrings.

That meant it was shopping time!

During a chilly April evening, I was out and about in Darling Harbour in the city. There, we passed by a shop called Lovisa. I accounted this shopping trip in a previous post. There I bought a few accessories and we called it a day. I was happy with my purchase, until yesterday, when I finally tried them on.

I know, I should’ve tried them on before, but I was silly and I didn’t. So that day, I did.

The necklace my mother gave to me looked gorgeous on me and sat at a nice height on my neckline. The bracelet I bought fit well as well. The earrings however were not to be desired.

You see, I have a small head and having lost some weight, my face has only managed to get smaller. So when I put on those earrings, it looked overwhelming on my head. I could feel my ear lobes struggling to hold those babies up! Even my mother saw that they weren’t exactly delicate on my head, and she suggested that maybe I should get another pair of earrings.


The earrings were similar to (but not the same as) these ones!

 I then suggested that I should try on the earrings my father had bought for her.

wedding jewellery_2

My mother’s earrings. Aren’t they gorgeous!? // Personal image.

So I tried these babies on. They.were.gorgeous. I mean – wow. Just stunning. And plus – they didn’t totally overwhelm my head! I wanted to wear them on the day, but I believe my mother wanted to wear them. So I’m thinking of buying myself another pair! And just so I don’t bore you guys with my waffling on, here’s the entire set I’ll be wearing on the day:

wedding jewellery_1


I love that the silver had a hint of gold in it, and I LOVE that it’s my mother’s. It’s my official something borrowed!

As for my hair, I’m going to be using both of these:

wedding jewellery_3

For the ceremony… // Personal image.


… To the reception. // Personal image.

And I’ll cap this post with a picture of the only piece of jewellery I wear religiously, and the second piece of jewellery which I WILL be wearing religiously after I’m married:


Pardon the reflection of green in my ring. It’s highly reflective and I was wearing green 😉 // Personal image.

What do you guys think about my choices? Good or bad? 🙂

Part 2, the Lady of the Ring: Shiny!

29 Jul

Hi Hive-sters!

When we left off, the Bighorns were just told that the rings were exactly within our budget. Not just that, but we hadn’t seen the rings at all! We were a little bit on edge to say the least. A few weeks after the drama behind the pricing, we were told that the rings were ready and in the hands of my family in Indonesia.

Despite the drama leading up to that point, I was excited! These rings would be the outward symbol of Mr Big and my relationship for years (and years, and years!) to come. I wanted to see the rings before they hit Australian shores. But, how?

Easy – have my cousin take a picture of them on her mobile phone and send them to us over Facebook. I was initially told that it wasn’t possible to see the rings, but either my mum pulled some strings or my cousin is psychic, because she sent a text message to my mum.

The photos were in my inbox on Facebook.

Excited, I raced to my laptop, clicked on Facebook and viewed the images.

My first thought?

“What am I looking at?”

I’ll be 100% with you, Hive. My engagement ring looked hideous in those photos.


My engagement ring, taken in very bad fluorescent lighting. / Personal image.

The heart looked nothing like a heart. To me it looked like the bulbous head of an ant or an alien with one red eye. The ring from the side looked even more hideous. I was devastated. Where was the gorgeous claddagh ring that I was promised?

I texted Mr Big, who was over in Adelaide for business, and then shipped the pictures over to him over FB. He was equally, if not more, devastated. I called him several times and we had a serious talk about what to do. We viewed the wedding rings too. Those looked ok; though Mr Bighorn was worried his wedding band had a crooked heart and Celtic knot and that my nesting band wouldn’t fit with the engagement ring.

When I tried to ask my parents if we could possibly return it to get it fixed, they were uncomfortable with the idea. I realised that plan was flawed anyway.  By this time the rings were in the hands of the man we had entrusted to bring them over to Australia. How would we get in contact with the guy we had asked to courier the rings over? We had no contact number.

And so, we were stuck with these rings. Mr Big and I were sad, to say the least, but we would somehow figure it out, like we always did.

Anxious, we waited until our rings were in Sydney, in the hands of a family friend. Upon retrieving our rings, we were worried to say the least. It was night when we went to our family friends’ apartment, retrieved the rings, thanked him, and then retreated back into the car. It was winter over here, a chilly July night. We sat in Mr Big’s faithful ‘Zoe’ (the mechanical love of his life), staring at the package in hand.

Dare we open them and see what they looked like in real life?

We resolved that it would be ok, that we’d find a solution if we didn’t like it, and that no matter what, the rings weren’t the important part of the wedding.

Tentatively, gingerly, we opened up the package. There were two rings boxes – one which held my engagement ring and the other which held our wedding rings. Mr Bighorn wanted to check my engagement ring first and I anxiously agreed. I plucked the box up and opened it up. It was dark, but under the streetlight it gleamed. It didn’t look too bad in the darkness. I worried what it would look like in the light.

But I had to get a closer look.

Turning on the car light, I finally caught a glimpse of this ring which I would wear almost every day of my engaged life, and hopefully, every day after that.

Hive, it was beautiful.

The ruby in the centre – though not heart-shaped like what we wanted – was absolutely stunning. It was a deep red, but under different lights, the ruby shone different colours. The diamonds were equally as beautiful, glinting blue whenever light reflected off the surface.

And my wedding ring!

It curved perfectly along the bottom of my engagement ring. On my finger, the rings looked gorgeous. All anxiety, fear and worry melted away as I put that ring on my finger for the first time. And it hit me – I was engaged! I was getting married! To the most awesome man on this planet (I may be biased here)!!

I didn’t cry (thank God!) but I was definitely teary. I wanted to see Mr Big’s ring, I wanted to get married, and I was so, so very happy that we got these rings.

Now Mr Big’s ring – his ring was perfect. The Celtic knot was exactly as we had wanted it, the claddagh in the middle was spot on and it was both white and yellow gold as Mr Bighorn had wanted. He was so happy with it, that he wanted to wear it straight away. Unfortunately, we aren’t married yet, so he begrudgingly put the ring back into its case. We tucked the rings away and put them safely back in their packaging.

Crisis averted!

Now at the time we got the rings, they both needed resizing. Mine was too big and Mr Big’s was too small. We haven’t resized Mr Bighorn’s ring (he’s hoping to lose more weight) but mine has been resized to my finger. It fits perfectly and I wear it every day!

Now for those of you who are curious, here is my ring!


Taken in the bathroom… I’m a classy broad. / Personal image.

It’s not to everyone’s taste, but it’s unique and I love it! Mr Bighorn’s wedding ring and my own are equally as beautiful. My nesting ring looks similar to this:


Nesting wedding band on the Ashford Claddagh Ring / Image via thecladdagh.com.

And Mr Big’s band looks similar to the one I previously placed up, though in both white and yellow gold. Overall, we’re both super excited to have these rings, even despite the drama of it all!

Part 1, the Lady of the Ring: Woes and Worries

27 Jul

Hello Hive!

(Warning: some ring porn ahead.)

If you’ve been following me so far, you may remember that I posted about the symbolism of the claddagh in Mr Big and my relationship. We ultimately decided that we would use this symbol as our wedding rings and my engagement ring. However, we didn’t know how hard it was going to be to get our hands on something we both wanted. It ended up being a long saga of waiting, grief, excitement, and finally, relief. It is for this reason I’m calling this post, “The Lady of the Ring” (a play on ‘The Lord of the Rings’, for those who don’t know).

It was back in late April to early May when we returned from New Zealand (NZ), newly engaged. Excited to get the rings, we had previously went online to search for ideas. For my engagement ring, we knew we wanted a gold ring, preferably yellow gold, a ruby in lieu of a diamond, and it needed to be in the shape of the claddagh. Mr Big wanted a wedding set, with a nesting wedding band.

By searching through Google, we had found a claddagh ring with a ruby heart and diamond encrusted crown and cuffs from a website, Linda Clifford.

linda clifford ring

Ruby Claddagh Ring in White Gold. / Image via Linda Clifford.

‘That’s what I wanted to get you,’ said Mr Bighorn.

I was excited. ‘Ok. Let’s definitely get that. It’s beautiful!’, I replied. We both knew that Mr Big wouldn’t have the money to immediately get the ring after the NZ holiday so we waited for a little bit longer. I would constantly go back to those rings, admiring them and imagining the day I would be wearing it on my finger. At the same time, we figured out what to get for Mr Bighorn:

linda clifford mens ring

Men’s Claddagh Wedding Band in White Gold. / Image via Linda Clifford.

When the time came close to buy the rings, I found another website which had equally as beautiful rings. After showing them to Mr Big, he agreed they were just as good as the other one – if not better. They had better diamonds and higher grade gold. Unfortunately, the clasps for the ruby made it look like an alien or ant’s head.

the claddagh ring

The Ashford Claddagh Ring in Yellow Gold with Ruby / Image via thecladdagh.com.

So we were stuck – musing what we could do.

And then, after a visit to my parents’, we were told we could get our rings made at a jeweller in Indonesia. Not only were all the materials of a very good quality, he could also do it within our budget. The jeweller was also someone who my parents regularly visited during our trips over, so he knew the family well. Since I have family over in Indonesia, we didn’t have to travel to the jeweller to get the rings made. All we had to do was enlist an artist (my older sister, MoH M&Ms) and a translator (my mother, Ma Bighorn) to ensure that we had all the attributes we wanted on our rings written down and illustrated.

We had a pretty clear idea on what we wanted. My dad, Pa Bighorn, said that they could deliver exactly what we wanted at a good price. Mr Big and I were ecstatic. And so, we sent the illustrations off to my family in Indonesia and waited anxiously for words on the ring.

What we got back was mostly good.

The cost was within our budget and they had all the diamonds and high-quality gold we needed. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the ruby we wanted. The ruby they had was circular. We sent back the message that we wanted one in the shape of a heart. We added that if they could at least make the shape of a heart on the ring surrounding the ruby, we would also be ok with that.

And then nothing for a little bit.

When we finally heard back from the jewellers we were told that the ruby they procured was of good quality… but not a heart shape. It was explained to us that they were afraid that cutting the ruby into the shape we wanted would be a bad idea but that they would make sure that the heart-shape we wanted on the ring would be there. Apprehensive but having already committed to this enterprise, we said yes. We also wanted the rings before August 10, when Mr Big’s parents were coming in from NZ. That meant that the rings needed to be made before mid-July when we could get someone to bring the rings back to Australia.

And so, the deposit was handed to the jewellers and the ring-making commenced.

For a few months, we would hear small things here and there: how many diamonds were needed altogether, the specific weight of gold being used for each ring, the sizing issues that the jewellers came across due to international sizing differences, etc. But no pictures ever came through. We weren’t exactly sure what was happening nor did we know the specific cost of the ring.

It was about a month after we agreed to go ahead that the price came in. Our jaws dropped. I’m not going to be specific on pricing here, but it was much, much more than what we wanted. Mr Bighorn freaked a little but had to face it as it was – the rings were already being made. There wasn’t much that we could do at this point. A little disappointed and upset, we just let it go.

We just hoped that nothing else would come up.

Did anyone else face dramas getting their rings?

The Claddagh Ring: Part II

26 Jul

Hello again! On a previous post I mentioned the claddagh ring and it’s significance to my fiance and I. Well today, my fiance mentioned something that I should have  mentioned previously: the connection between my name and the ring.

Now for those of you who haven’t read the previous post (link above!), the claddagh ring is the symbol of love, loyalty and friendship – three traits both GP and I value. My middle name is derived from my Chinese name and has the Chinese word, “AI” in it. Ai, for those who don’t know, means ‘love’ in Chinese, the character of which looks something like this:

“AI” – the Chinese word for ‘love’

This was taken from my iPhone (hence the blue borders), so excuse the crappy quality.

My character is a little bit altered, but getting past that. So, my Chinese name mean ‘love’.

My last name is a popular Indonesian last name. However, according to my trusty friend, Professor Wikipedia, the name allegedly derived from a Malaysian town known as Sitiawan. This name is a portmanteau of the two words: ‘Setia’ and ‘Kawan’. The meaning?

You guessed it. Loyal Friend. You can learn more about the town of Sitiawan here.

And there we have it.

The Claddagh Ring: Love, Loyalty, Friendship.

25 Jul

Disclaimer: I’m not too sure about the nuances of the actual claddagh ring, so what I’m about to explain may not be 100% accurate. If you do have a better idea, please feel free to comment!

(All images personal unless otherwise stated.)

Pre-engagement, on a normal, average day, Mr Big and I were out grocery shopping. So it was sort of surprising when he pulled me to the side and said, ‘I want to get you something, it’s called a claddagh’. I was puzzled, intrigued and confused. ‘What’s that?’, I asked. He then explained it to me:

‘It’s an Irish symbol of two hands holding a heart with a crown on it.’ After he saw my confused expression, he added: ‘It’s a symbol of love, friendship, and loyalty. The heart is love, the hands are friendship, and the crown is loyalty’.

Guys, whatever walls I had around my heart melted right there and then.

You see, Mr Big isn’t Irish but he has some Irish blood in him (he calls himself an English-bred mongrel). Combine that with his romantic idea of our relationship and his love for Joss Whedon’s ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Angel’ (fans will get the reference!), and well, the claddagh becomes a lot more than an Irish tradition.

The claddagh ring: the symbol of love, friendship and loyalty. / Image via uniquesilverjewellery.net

So for those who don’t know what the claddagh is? Let me introduce you to Professor Google:

An original symbol of the Galway town of Claddagh, Ireland, (pronounced “cla” as in “class” and “ddagh” pronounced “da” as in “dad”) was first fashioned into the traditional ring back in the 17th Century during the reign of Mary II.

Legend has it that an Irish young man, Richard Joyce, bound for the West Indian slave plantations – no doubt the Irish Caribbean island of Montserrat – was kidnapped himself in rough seas by a band of Mediterranean pirates and sold to a Moorish goldsmith who over the many long years of his exile helped him perfect the skills of a master craftsman.

When in 1689 King William III negotiated the return of the slaves, Joyce returned to Galway – despite, it said, the Moor’s offer of the daughter’s hand in marriage and a princely dowry of half of all his wealth.

Back in Ireland, a young woman had never stopped faithfully waiting for her true love to return. Upon which time when he presented her with the now famous Royal Claddagh gold ring – a symbol of their enduring love. Two hands to represent their friendship, the crown to signify their loyalty and lasting fidelity, and the sign of the heart to symbolise their eternal love for each other.

They soon married, never to be separated again.

(Taken from claddagh.com; edited by yours truly.)

I hear the resounding ‘AWW!’ from all the girls (or the, ‘OMG he’s so cheesy’, either one works).

On my 23rd birthday I was given a claddagh ring. It’s a simple 9k gold ring which I wore pretty much every day (shown in the pictures below!) until we were engaged. Apparently, not only is the heart, hands and crown symbolic, but the way the ring is worn is symbolic too.

On the right hand, when the ring is worn with the crown facing towards your body (or towards your heart), it means that you are available, as seen below:

claddagh_right hand_heart out

I should be a hand model. Not.

However, turn it the other way, with the crown facing away from your body, and you’re officially in a relationship:

claddagh_right hand_heart in

When the ring is on the left hand with crown facing away from the body, your status officially changes to having found your true love (which is how I wear my engagement ring):

claddagh_left hand

You can think of it as a Facebook status: “single” is crown facing in towards the body; “in a relationship” is crown facing away from the body on the right hand; and “engaged” and “married” is crown facing away from the body on the left hand. As for the status, “it’s complicated”, the only way I can think to wear the ring is… on your thumb? Any other suggestions?

Another reason why we think, and more importantly Mr Bighorn thinks, that the claddagh is significant to our relationship is the connection between my name and the ring.

As previously mentioned, the claddagh ring is the symbol of love, loyalty and friendship – three traits both Mr Big and I value. My middle name is derived from my Chinese name and has the Chinese character “AI” in it. “AI”, for those who don’t know, means ‘love’ in Chinese, the character of which looks something like this:

chinese character_love

“AI” – the Chinese word for ‘love’ – it’s even in a heart love! / Image via okiWoki

My last name, on the other hand, is a relatively popular Indonesian and Malaysian last name. However, according to my trusty friend, Mr Wikipedia, the name allegedly derived from a Malaysian town known as Sitiawan. This name is a portmanteau of the two words: ‘Setia’ and ‘Kawan’. And what do these two mean?

You guessed it: loyal friend.

And there we have it. Parts of my name mean love, loyalty, and friendship. So, according to Mr Big, ‘you are the ring!’.

Anyone else been called an inanimate object? 🙂 Who else thinks I’d make an awesome hand model? (not.)