The legend of the Claddagh is a romantic story of undying love and faithfulness.
For many Irish people, or those who have Irish ancestry, the Claddagh Ring serves as the perfect token of affection.
Today, designers have combined the very best of past and present, creating inspired pieces that put a new spin on a true classic.
Pendants, earrings, and rings that feature the distinctive crowned heart and hands of the Claddagh are a wonderful way to honor the past, without sacrificing modern design elements and craftsmanship.
Learning about the Claddagh is a great way to enjoy your jewelry and its hidden meanings. Once you’ve become familiar with the Claddagh story, it’s easier to appreciate and understand the rich heritage of the symbols found on each piece.
If you are of Irish ancestry, you’ll find the origins of the crowned heart and hands both intriguing and touching. The legendary story-telling tradition of the Irish people comes to vivid life in the tale of the very first Claddagh Ring…
The Claddagh Story
Richard Joyce, an Irish fisherman who hailed from Galway, was sailing near Montserrat when his ship was overtaken by pirates.
He was kidnapped and forced to work in the shop of a Moorish goldsmith. For years, he longed for the woman he left behind; her name was Margaret.
In her honor, he crafted what would become known as the very first Claddagh Ring.
In 1689, Joyce finally won his freedom. King William III lobbied for the release of all slaves, and his negotiations with their captors was successful.
Joyce returned to his one true love, who had waited faithfully for him through all the years of his slavery.
When they reunited, he presented her with the special golden ring, featuring a crowned heart, gently clasped by two tiny hands.
The crowned heart was a symbol of his loyalty to her, and the carefully-crafted pair of hands seemed to offer his own heart to Margaret – forever.
For the rest of her days, she wore her ring proudly, as a touching symbol of his devotion to their love.
Today, many Irish couples exchange Claddagh Rings on their wedding day, in lieu of plain gold bands. Often, Claddagh Rings are passed down through the generations.
Today’s Variations On The Claddagh Theme
Here are some of the finest examples of modern takes on a timeless classic. Each is handmade in Ireland, and assayed (stamped) at Dublin Castle:
This gorgeous Claddagh pendant is another way to enjoy the Claddagh spirit: the addition of bright green emeralds and shining diamonds adds richness, color and dimension to the piece.
Crafted by hand of 14k white gold, its smooth, circular shape makes it stand out. This is a great everyday piece that will become a treasured favorite.
The attention to detail and workmanship of this pendant is second to none: the hands are perfectly rendered, with delicate “ruffles” at each wrist.
The crown is also a special feature in the design, and much care is given to its ornate engravings.
If you’re looking for an engagement ring that offers the beauty of a solitaire diamond, but also provides unique design features that make it unforgettable, this Claddagh engagement ring may be the perfect choice for you.
Available in yellow or white gold, this ring promises the ultimate in luxury and beauty, along with the touching romantic significance of the Claddagh.
Honoring your Irish heritage with this new style can be a great way to connect with the past as you begin your journey together.
Your groom-to-be might even enjoy choosing a Claddagh wedding band of his own! In Ireland, both men and women enjoy wearing Claddagh Rings as their wedding bands.
These Claddagh earrings offer the practicality a woman needs: they are versatile enough to go from the office to a night on the town.
This stylized design features the deep-green gleam of emeralds at the center of each tender heart.
Stud earrings like these are secure, easy to wear, and so stylish: offer them as a token of affection to the woman you love, and she will always think of you when she wears them.
These are just a few of the modern designs you can choose from at our online Celtic jewelry store. Take the time to browse our full collection of Claddagh jewelry, and you may find yourself captivated by the timeless and romantic spirit of these heartfelt symbols.