Claddagh Jewelry

Written by Jill Morrison
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Claddagh jewelry was first created in the mid-17th century by a man named Richard Joyce. A Claddagh gold ring was the first piece to be made in his home town of Claddagh, Ireland. The Claddagh symbol is one of the most well-known Irish symbols in existence and it signifies loyalty, friendship, and love.

The Development of Claddagh Jewelry

Claddagh jewelry has been so popular over the years because of the story behind its creation. The design of the ring represents how ordinary people can overcome difficult and seemingly hopeless situations. The story begins with Richard Joyce, a simple farmhand in Claddagh, Ireland, and tells the story of how he decided to develop the Claddagh ring after a series of struggles.

Richard Joyce was captured and sold into slavery, according to Irish legend. After many years, he was granted freedom through negotiations between the Queen Isabella of Spain and King William of England. While in slavery, Richard learned to be a goldsmith and to work with precious metals. He used this knowledge to create a ring when he returned to Claddagh. The ring was designed to thank the people who had waited for him and helped him in his ordeal.

Because of the legend of Richard Joyce, Claddagh jewelry has significant meaning to the Irish. Whether or not you are Irish, you can take part in the tradition and legend of the Claddagh ring. It is often worn on the right hand with the heart facing outward for those who are not yet married. For those who are married, the Claddagh ring may be worn on the left hand with the heart facing inward. You can purchase Claddagh rings from one of many Celtic jewelry shops.


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