Well, technically it shouldn’t. We all know about the romantic Claddagh story about the fisherman, Richard Joyce, who crafted the unique design with the heart, the crown and the hands which have now come to symbolise love, loyalty and friendship. When you think about it, none of these symbols are of Celtic origin, although you may argue that their sentiment contains the Celtic spirit.
Strictly speaking, when we refer to Celtic jewelry, we’re talking about jewelry which is decorated with those famous Celtic knots, spirals and animals. The true meaning of the Celtic knot is not clear but due to the continuous line that wraps into and onto itself, it has quite rightly come to symbolise eternal life and love.
You may have noticed that over the last couple of years Irish jewelry manufacturers have started combining the Claddagh symbol and Celtic knots into the one piece. You’ll mostly see this in Irish wedding bands. This makes so much sense to me and you’d wonder why they hadn’t thought of this earlier.
Think about it. You’re taking a ring, which is a symbol of the life long commitment between two people, and you add the significance of love, loyalty and friendship of the Claddagh and on top of that you add the eternal love signified by Celtic knots, not to mention the fact that when combined, these symbols are stunning to look at.
So, while technically as I said, Claddagh jewelry shouldn’t be referred to as Celtic jewelry, you can really understand why it is. And really, what I should be saying to myself is “enough of your semantics. Who really cares what it’s called? It’s beautiful”