When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Recently, we explored the connection between red hair and the Irish people; today, let’s look at the way Irish (or Celtic) ancestry plays a role in eye color.

Often, green eyes are associated with the Emerald Isle, and many of Ireland’s Titian-haired (red-haired) natives do have “emerald” eyes that set off their fiery tresses to perfection. However, green eyes are not exclusive to Ireland – in fact, they are also quite common in Iceland!

The Celtic and Slavic people rank among the Icelandic in terms of having the highest percentage of people with green eyes; this eye color tends to appear when one parent has blue eyes, and the other has light brown or hazel eyes.

About Green Eyes

Shades of green eyes range from dark olive green to bright spring green to pale jade. In Ireland, olive or medium-green eyes are most common…among the famous redheads of Ireland, blue, grey, and brown eyes are also found…

Hazel eyes, which feature a predominately green iris with a ring of brown or amber near the pupil, are also common in Ireland.

When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, ’tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are
smiling, sure, they steal your heart away.

– When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Women tend to be more likely to have green eyes, regardless of their ancestry; with men, this distinctive eye color is rarer. The first incidences of green eye color have been traced back to ancient, Bronze Age Siberia.

Combinations of blue and light brown tones create the look of green eyes; their shade is the result of specific amounts of melanin, mixed with atoms and molecules known as Rayleigh scattering particles.

Many superstitions regarding people with green eyes continue today…in the past, people with emerald eyes have actually been characterized as “evil”…

Evil Eyes…?

In more primitive times, such as the Early Modern Period (1480-1750), being a woman with green eyes was sometimes dangerous…particularly if this bright eye color was accompanied by red hair, left-handedness, or some other “mark of a witch”.

In Europe, between 40 and 100 thousand women were sacrified during barbaric witch-burnings, which were often preceded by “kangaroo court” witch trials…

Chances are, superstitions about green eyes and their link with “evil” were related to the cat-like appearance of this eye color. Many cats have startling green eyes that seem to glow in an unearthly manner, and felines were perceived as witch’s “familiars” during the blood-soaked witch-hunting period…

The rarity of green eyes may have also made them a subject of suspicion…

Today, in certain nations (specifically Middle Eastern countries, Mediterranean locales, and African nations), belief in the “evil eye” – an ability to curse someone with just a malevolent gaze – is still going strong, and people who embrace this superstition also believe that those with green eyes are more likely to curse others with their stares…

Emeralds Are A Perfect Match…

For green-eyed ladies, emeralds often prove a perfect match for their green eyes. You can be certain that a special emerald ring will be worn and treasured, because it is so well-suited to her own unique coloring.

Luckily, our Irish jewelry designs feature beautiful, gleaming emeralds, as well as a host of traditional Celtic and Gaelic symbols…

If you’re looking for a romantic gift that will make her Irish eyes smile, our 14k Emerald and Diamond Claddagh Ring, shown at left, will be the perfect choice.

Every time her hand is near her face, this beautiful ring, which symbolizes love and loyalty, will highlight the pretty color of her eyes…sparkling diamonds and expert engraving add even more visual impact to this traditional Irish design…