Origin Story: Claddagh - the Celtic Love ring

One of the early collections I started with was Celtic, as there was a lack of Celtic jewellery in my area, and one of the most popular designs was claddagh rings. But what's the history behind them? Here's some fun facts about them! And no, it's not just from Buffy!

Claddagh History

The Claddagh ring (Irish: fáinne Chladaigh) is a traditional Irish ring given which represents love, loyalty, and friendship (the hands represent friendship; the heart represents love; and the crown represents loyalty). The design and customs associated with it originated in the Irish fishing village of Claddagh, located just outside the old city walls of Galway, now part of Galway City. The ring, as currently known, was first produced in the 17th century.

How to Wear It

And important note is how you wear the ring traditionally helped to identify a woman's marital status. Though there are Claddaghs for both men and women, and worn as wedding ring sets for many Irish couples.

The tradition in Ireland, the United States, and other places, is the Claddagh is handed down mother-to-eldest daughter or grandmother-to-granddaughter. According to Irish author Colin Murphy, the way in which a Claddagh ring was worn with the intention of conveying the wearer's relationship status:

On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips, the wearer is single and may be looking for love. (This is most commonly the case when a young woman has first received the ring from a relative, unless she is already engaged.

On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist, the wearer is in a relationship. (This suggests that the wearer's heart has been "captured".)

On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips, the wearer is engaged.

On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist, the wearer is married.

Not Just For Irish People

The Claddagh has transcended its Irish origins and has become a beloved symbol appreciated by people worldwide. Its universal themes of love, loyalty, and friendship resonate with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds, making the Claddagh a cherished symbol for people of all nationalities and walks of life. 

Budget Friendly Gift

The Claddagh ring is often considered an economical and accessible choice for those seeking a meaningful piece of jewellery. Available in various materials with or without the inclusion of a gemstone or birthstone, including sterling silver, antique bronze, gold and stainless steel options, the Claddagh's enduring symbolism is accessible to a wide range of budgets.

Its affordability, coupled with its rich cultural and sentimental value, makes the Claddagh an excellent choice for individuals who want a budget-friendly ring to symbolize love, loyalty, and friendship.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about the Claddagh! It's still one of my favourite jewellery pieces to create due to it's enduring awesomeness. 

- Stephenie

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A Love Story For Everyone

Wearing the Claddagh ring holds subtle but powerful cues about your love status, and here's how you can let it do the talking without saying a word. When the heart is facing outward on your finger, it signifies that your heart is open, and you're ready for love. This positioning tells the world that you're available and seeking connection. On the other hand, when the heart is facing inward, towards you, it signals that your heart is taken. This suggests that you're in a committed relationship, and your love is spoken for.

The Claddagh ring is versatile; you can also wear it on different fingers for additional nuances. On the ring finger of your left hand, with the heart facing outward, it traditionally signals that you're engaged. When worn on the ring finger of your right hand, it suggests that you're simply in a relationship. So, whether you're single, taken, engaged, or somewhere in between, the Claddagh ring has a subtle language of its own, allowing you to express your love status with a touch of tradition and style.