In honor of Friendship, Love and Loyalty

by | Apr 11, 2014 | Jewelry

There’s a little town in Ireland called Claddagh. It sits right on the meeting point where the Galway River and the Corrib River cross paths. Previously a fishing village, Claddagh is now more famous for a piece of jewelry that was named after it. The piece of jewelry in question is called a Claddagh Ring and was created in the seventeenth century. Formed as part of a group of finger rings known as ‘fede’ rings, the Claddagh ring represents three parts of the faith system. The ring is a pair of clasping hands—which represent friendship—and they are wrapping around a heart, which represents love. Atop of the heart is a crown which represents loyalty. The ‘fede’ rings come from the Italian ‘Mani in fede’ which means ‘hands in faith’ and is symbolic in pledging vows and other promises. That same motif was used in eighteenth century England, also, but the whole Claddagh theme became part of Irish culture into the late twentieth century and the whole Claddagh motif adorned pub signs, stores and other places of interest.

Historical Context and Modern Options

Recently, designs have also incorporated Celtic designs and other Irish symbols. The Claddagh ring is followed by legends, but there is no proof of how the ring was invented or designed. However, the legend states that a silversmith called Richard Joyce, who came from Galway, invented the ring. He was said to have been held captive by Algerian Corsairs during 1675, and sold into slavery while he was en route to the West Indies. According to the legend, King William III was supposed to have send his ambassador to negotiate the release of all British subjects enslaved within the country. While captured Joyce was trained in his craft by a goldsmith and when he finally returned to Ireland he took with him a ring he had fashioned while under the training of this goldsmith. That ring symbolized the three notions we hold with the Claddagh ring today. Nowadays there are a variety of options, including stainless steel Claddagh rings, gold, silver, white gold and platinum. They reached their level of popularity in the late twentieth century but they are no less popular with many people today.

To buy high quality stainless steel Claddagh rings contact Marcus Jewelry to view their products and prices and to see for yourself the wide choices available.


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