of the Claddagh Legend
Irish, Celtic, Scottish, Claddagh, Clauddagh,
Claddaugh, Claddah, Gaelic, Highlander or Clannish jewelry are
some of the most popular in the world! Especially on Saint Patrick's
Day! Everyone wants to be Irish and wear irish jewelry. That
means you wear green or orange depending on where you are from...
This unique claddagh jewelry design symbolizes
"Love in the form of the heart, the hands of friendship
cradling it, and the crown of fidelity." This motif is explained
in the phrase "Let Love and Friendship Reign", making
it ideal for a wedding ring used by a small community for over
The Claddagh is a unique and distinctive
Irish love symbol. The traditional Claddagh jewelry or friendship
ring is worn by both men and women all over Ireland and is probably
the most widely known of Irish jewelry designs. The Claddagh
Ring became popular outside the Claddagh about the middle of
the last century, especially as it was the only ring made in
Ireland worn by Queen Victoria and later by Queen Alexandra and
King Edward VII.
This design, that of the heart held between
two hands, with a crown on the top is reputed to be of a tradition
handed down for many generations in the Irish fishing village
of Clauddagh, adjacent to the city walls of Galway. Traditionally
this ring was an heirloom of the family, handed down firstly
as an engagement ring, then as a wedding ring.
The Claddagh, outside the City walls,
and further separated by the River Corrib, was an exclusive community
of fisher-folk forbidden to use spade or hoe and ruled by a periodically-elected
"King" whose sole distinguishing mark was his right
to use a white sail on his fishing boat.
There are many legends as to the origin
of the Ring, the most likely is the story of Richard Joyce, or
Ioyes. While en route to the West Indies, he was captured by
Algerian corsairs and sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith
who trained him. Later at the demand of King William III of England
he was released, he returned to Galway and set up as a goldsmith.
He marked his work with an anchor signifying 'hope' and the initials
A form of this design (without the crown)
was uncovered in a sunken Spanish galleon, divers having found
it on the hand of a sailor of the unlucky ship foundered on the
Irish coastline centuries ago. Inscribed on the inside was the
saying in Spanish: "No tengo nada, porque darte." Roughly
this translates to: 'I have nothing, for it is given unto you.
' Some say that the crown was added much later to this traditional
style by none other than Queen Elizabeth.
How to wear
Worn on the right hand, crown
turned inwards, your heart is yet unoccupied.
Worn on the right hand, crown turned outwards, shows a special
commitment to someone.
Worn on the left hand, crown outwards, let our love and friendship
reign forever - never to be separated.