One of the most precious gifts to your lover is a jewel. But the jewel becomes even more precious when it symbolizes something beautiful. A good example of a jewel that does so, is the Claddagh ring, or any jewel including the Claddagh sign. Claddaghs are immensely popular all over the world, but especially the American people seem to love them so much. But what's the story behind the Claddagh ring?

Claddagh Ring

  1. What is the meaning of a Claddagh symbol

A Claddagh symbol always looks about the same. The jewel consists of a hearth, a crown and two small hands. These three elements all have a meaning.

  • The heart represents love.
  • The hands are the sign of friendship.
  • The crown resembles loyalty.

Love, friendship and loyalty, the three things that are so important in a good relationship. And these three meanings aren't all the meanings the Claddagh ring bears.

Depending on how the owner of the ring wears the jewel, you give information on what your love life is like. Therefore be sure you know how you should wear the ring, in order to make sure no mistakes occur.

  • Are you wearing the ring on your right hand with the heart sign pointing upwards? You are telling the rest of the world you are single.
  • Are you wearing the ring on your right hand with the heart sign pointing inwards? You now tell the rest of the world you are in love.
  • Are you wearing the ring on your left hand with the heart sign pointing upwards? You now tell the rest of the world you are happily engaged.
  • Are you wearing the ring on your left hand with the heart sign pointing inwards? You now tell the rest of the world you are happily married.

This information means it is indeed important to make sure you wear your ring in the right way, otherwise you might indicate something you don't actually want to indicate.

The history of the Claddagh ring

The Claddagh ring has its roots in Ireland. Even though the ring has been popular in Ireland for a long time, it is not known when and how the ring started to exist. There are however many stories that explain everything, but nobody knows which of them is true. Some seem logical, others seem mythical. I will share the stories with you, but I will leave the choice of which one is likely, up to you.

The fishermen

The first story is set in a village named Claddagh. The village is located in Ireland, near the sea. The sea was the source that kept the people alive. Therefore they would often visit the sea in boats. However, the sea wasn't always nice to them, because many people never returned home. All the fishermen wore the same ring. A ring with the sign of Claddagh. If a villager of Claddagh would find a corpse, he would always look whether the corpse wore the Claddaghsign of not. If not he would leave the dead behind, otherwise the dead would be honored in the village and receive a good funeral.

Forbidden love

Once a king fell in love with a farmeress. But when he realized he couldn't marry her, he lost it and turned insane. He cut of his own hands and lost a lot of blood. Therefore he died. After his death his people took his hands and laid them around his heart. This meant that he would be forever loyal the woman he once loved so much that he wanted to die for her.

The Irish trinity

The Irish trinity figure symbolises the father, the son and the Holy Ghost. The crown in the Claddagh sign resembles the father, the left hand the son and the right hand the Holy Ghost. The three take care of the heart, the sign for human beings.

Celtic gods

The righthand would resemble Dagda, the father of gods. The left hand would be Danu, the mother of gods and again the heart is the sign for human beings.

Robert Joyce

Robert was the prisoner of a goldsmith. After king William III decided to buy some prisoners back, Joyce was released. But the goldsmith wasn't content with that because he liked Robert a lot. He offered him his daughter and half of his income if he would stay. However, Robert refused because he wanted to marry his childhood lover. He forged her a ring, the Claddagh ring. Back home he married her and he decided to keep selling rings that looked like the one ring he gave to his sweetheart.

Claddagh nowadays

At the moment the Claddagh ring is hugely popular, especially in the United States of America because many of its inhabitants have their roots in Ireland. By wearing a Claddagh they honor their roots. People buy Claddagh rings as wedding bands and engagement rings, but it's very common too, to buy bangles, earrings and necklaces with a Claddagh sign.