Friday, October 26, 2007

The Legend of the Claddagh

The Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring, given in friendship or worn as a wedding ring. The ring originated in the 17th Century, though elements of the ring's design are much older. The Claddagh was created in a fishing village called Claddagh overlooking Galway Bay, close to the city of the Tribes. There are many versions of how the Claddagh ring was created, but this one may be closer to historical truth;

A man named Richard Joyce, a native of Galway, left his town to work in the West Indies. He intended to marry his love when he returned. However, his ship was captured by Algerian pirates and and he was sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith where he learned how to work with precious metals.

When William III, became king, he demanded the Moors release all British prisoners and Joyce was set free. Though his master had grown so fond of Joyce that he offered his most beautiful daughter's hand in marriage if he would stay on. Joyce refused and returned home to marry his betrothed. They were wed at once and he gave his bride the Claddagh ring he had designed and made especially for her.

By tradition Claddagh rings symbolize that love and friendship should be valued above all. The hands signify friendship, the crown loyalty, and the heart love. How the Claddagh is worn tells others if you wear it in friendship, engagement or as a wedding ring.
Friendship: by placing the ring anywhere on your right hand.

Engagement: by placing the on the third finger of your left hand with the heart pointed outwards.

Wedding: represented by placing the ring on the third finger of your left hand with the heart pointing inwards towards your heart.
Lastly, legend has it that it's very bad luck to buy your own Claddagh ring, it should be given as a gift by someone who close to you.

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Owning a piece of celtic jewelry is elegant, unique, and classic. When purchasing celtic jewelery it is important that your piece is authentic, whether it be claddagh rings or wedding rings. Each piece has its own meaning and symbolism that originates from Ireland, which is why it is a great to have in anyone's jewelry collection.

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