Claddagh Ring Meaning and History

Claddagh Ring Meaning and History

Unique and unforgettable, traditional Claddagh rings feature clasped hands holding a crowned heart. These beautiful Irish rings are more popular than ever, even though the original was created hundreds of years ago. Here, we explore a few stories about the design’s origin, and we share insight into the secret messages you can send by wearing your Claddagh ring in different ways. Whether you’re interested in wearing a personalized Claddagh ring from MyNameNecklace yourself, or if you’re thinking of presenting one to somebody special, you’ll appreciate our in-depth exploration of the many meanings behind this exquisite Celtic design.

The Meaning of the Claddagh Ring

Each element found in the Claddagh ring has a special meaning:

  • The clasped hands symbolize friendship, which exists between friends and lovers alike.
  • The heart symbolizes love found in marriage, as well as the special heartfelt bond that friends share.
  • The crown is a symbol of loyalty, essential to friendship and romantic partnerships alike.

Claddagh rings are often presented as promise rings or more casual tokens of love and affection. They are traditionally used to express the unbreakable bonds of friendship, too.

Our customized inscriptions help you convey your feelings for someone you love or admire while making the Claddagh ring’s meaning even more personal. You can engrave a gold Claddagh ring with a romantic sentiment such as “Always & Forever”, “You Have My Heart”, or “Never to Part” to tell someone just how much you love them. A more casual silver Claddagh ring engraved with “Friends Always”, “Best Friends”, or “I’ll Be There” tells your bestie that the friendship you share is truly special.

Of course, there are no hard and fast rules to follow when deciding what to engrave on a Claddagh ring, or which metal to choose! Simply let your heart be your guide. You can select gold or silver for either situation – especially if the recipient prefers a certain look! Whichever style you choose, our custom-engraved ladies and mens Claddagh ring designs help you send a message that’s certain to be well-received.

The History of the Claddagh Ring

There are a few legends attached to the Irish Claddagh ring. The most popular story tells of a young man named Richard Joyce, who was captured by Algerian pirates and sold to a Moorish goldsmith who taught him the jewelry trade. After winning his freedom, he returned to Claddagh, where he was reunited with his long-lost love. Richard Joyce became a successful silversmith, and his initials (also his maker’s mark) are found on the oldest-known Claddagh ring.

Because other jewelers made Claddagh rings around the same time, historians aren’t certain that the design originated with Richard Joyce. Three other rings from that period bear the mark of a goldsmith named Thomas Meade, and some others carry the signature of a 17th century Irish goldsmith named Bartholomew Fallon.

The last story is interesting, though unbelievable. It tells of a woman named Margaret Joyce, who married a Spanish merchant named Domingo de Rona. When Domingo passed away, Margaret returned to Galway County, where she used her inheritance to build bridges. As a reward for her charity, an eagle dropped the very first Claddagh ring right into her lap!

How to Wear a Claddagh Ring

Are you single or taken? There are a few different ways to wear a Claddagh ring! Each one has a special meaning that sends a message to others, telling them that you’re married, engaged, or in a relationship. You can even wear a Claddagh ring to signify that your heart is open to new love.

Let’s start with ways to wear a Claddagh ring on the left hand. If you are engaged, the point of the heart should face outward. This means that you haven’t yet wed, but that your heart is definitely off the market. Once you’re married, the point of the Claddagh ring’s heart should face inward toward your own heart to signify that you are completely taken. After all, being married is “more” than being engaged!

By wearing your Claddagh ring on your right hand, you can send one of two very different messages. If you wear it with the heart’s point facing outward, away from your body, it means that your own heart is open, searching for love. Others who know what the Claddagh ring means will see that you’re ready to meet the right person! If you wear your ring with the heart’s point facing inward, it means that you are in a relationship and that your own heart is taken.

What if you’re married or engaged, and you already have wedding and/or engagement rings on your left ring finger? Don’t worry - you can still wear a Claddagh ring! Many people blend the two looks by wearing a Claddagh ring on the right hand while sticking with the tradition of wearing wedding and engagement rings on the left. Of course you’re not available – so be sure that the heart points inward if you’re wearing a Claddagh ring in addition to your engagement or wedding rings.

However you wear it, the Claddagh ring can be quite a conversation starter, as well as a symbol of Irish heritage. What does this special design mean to you? Share your story in the comments: We’d love to hear from you!



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