Silver and Gold Claddagh Rings in UK and US
Whether it's a ring, a necklace, a cake topper or a money clip, if it has the two-hands-a-heart-and-a-crown design, then it is a piece of claddagh jewelry. They are part of the ever-more popular Irish Celtic tradition and have very rich symbolism and legend potential.
The most representative (and original) piece of claddagh jewelry is the claddagh ring, first worn in Ireland more than four centuries ago, the symbol of friendship, love and loyalty.
The popularity of Cladagh jewelry, and especially of Claddagh rings (UK), was set to rise during the second part of the 20th century, especially due to the fact that it was the only ring made in Ireland worn by British royalty (first Queen Victoria, later Queen Alexandra and King Edward VII).
The Claddagh design was also used as a logo by pop band Simple Minds on the cover of their album in 1987. Many popular movies and TV series feature the claddagh ring in their romantic proposal scenes. Famous couples exchange claddagh wedding bands.
Claddagh Ring Story and Meaning
Well, no one knows for sure where the cladagh ring comes from, who designed it, who wore it first and what exactly is its connection with Claddagh, a small fishermen village close to Galway, in Ireland. Here are the X stories about how this beautiful ring was first designed
The Married Richard Joyce
In the small town of Claddah, a man named Richard Joyce (or Ioyes) was captured by some Armenian pirates and then sold to a goldsmith. During his 14 years of slavery, Richard learned to work with precious metals - gold and sterling silver. After being released, despite his owner’s proposition to stay and marry his daughter, he returned home and fashioned a special ring to thank his wife Mary and all his friends for being loyal and waiting for him all this time.
Today you can find Claddagh earrings, necklaces, bracelets, cross, knots and pendants, all fashioned using the distinctive Claddagh design.
The Engaged Richard Joyce
In this second story, Richard, a young man in love, is captured a by Algerian corsairs a week before his wedding and sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith on the North Coast of Africa. During his slavery, Richard really missed her fiancee and began stealing a small amount of gold each day to help him remember his beloved.
After many years, he gathered enough gold to create a special wedding ring. One day, at the demand of King William III of England, Richard was released. The Moorish goldsmith invited him to marry his only daughter and offered him half his wealth, but Joyce decided to return home to his fiancee.
He found her waiting for him, so he gave her the ring and they were married. This second story seems to be the most popular legend, because the main symbols of the ring are everlasting love and devotion.
Claddagh jewelry is often used in connection to weddings: Claddagh wedding rings, Claddagh wedding bands, engagement rings bridal gown, wedding cake, invitations accessories, etc.
The Unfortunate Romantic King
This legend talks about the king of Cladah who fell in love with a peasant girl. Because their love was unacceptable due to class differences, the king died of blue heart. His last wish was that his grave would bear the symbol of his forbidden and everlasting love for the young peasant woman: a pair of hands holding his crowned heart. The next kings used the Cladagh symbol as a sigil used on ships and sails, then as a ring design.
Popular rings include the gold and white gold Claddagh ring, the sterling silver Claddagh ring and even emerald rings.
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