If you don't wear one of these rings yourself, you probably noticed a friend or co-worker sporting a Claddagh ring. But what is it? Why do people wear it?
The Claddagh originated from a small fishing district in Galway and carries with it one of the richest traditions and most heartwarming love stories. You need to know about it.
For starters, the Irish ring has a three-fold symbolism.
Heart: Represents love, or the heart of the wearer
Hands: Symbolizes friendship
Crown: Signifies loyalty and faithfulness
The Legend of the Claddagh
An eager young sailor named Richard Joyce sailed from the Galway coast in the 17th century to the West Indies. He left his sweetheart behind, promising her he would return after making his fortune in the trade business.
The vessel was captured by pirates and Richard was sold into slavery in Algeria. It looked pretty hopeless for him to ever return to his homeland and his lady. But Richard never gave up hope. His master was a goldsmith by trade, and Richard gradually learned valuable skills as jewelry-maker.
Over the years, he fashioned a ring out of the leftover gold bits from the shop. He designed the ring with heart, hands, and crown as a promise to love his sweetheart forever, even if he never returned to her.
In 1689, Richard was released from slavery due to his close friendship with his master, who offered his daughter in marriage to Richard. The faithful Richard declined and sailed back to Ireland to give the first Claddagh ring to his true bride, who waited for him all those years.
Evolution of the Claddagh
Traditionally, the Claddagh was used as a wedding ring, but it also was given at the time of betrothal with the words: "With these hands I give you my heart and I crown it with my love."
In modern times, the Claddagh is used not only in Ireland but all over the world. Some have opted to give it as a promise ring or to show their relationship status.
How to Wear It
Not everyone knows this, so listen up! The Claddagh holds a special significance depending on how you wear it.
Single: Wear the ring on the ring finger of your right hand with the point of the heart facing away from you.
Considering Love: Wear the ring on the ring finger of your right hand with the point of the heart facing towards you.
Married: Wear the ring on the ring finger of your left hand with the point of the heart facing towards you.
Do you wear a Claddagh? Was this helpful? Let us know and share with your friends!