The Claddagh may be over 300 years old, but its meaning is more than relevant today. Pieces of Claddagh jewelry celebrate friendship, love and loyalty—a timeless message—with symbols that never go out of fashion.
There are a number of stories about the history of the Claddagh, and one common legend tells the tale of how the Claddagh ring originated in a small fishing village in Ireland in the late 17th Century. An Irishman named Richard Joyce is said to have left his sweetheart to set sail to the West Indies to make his fortune, but before he reached his destination, a band of pirates captured his ship and he was sold as a slave.
Joyce’s master was a Moorish goldsmith, and during his many years of service, Joyce learned his master’s craft. He earned his master’s respect and was even offered his daughter’s hand in marriage; however, Joyce refused, knowing that his beloved awaited him in Ireland.
When King William III negotiated the freedom of the slaves, Joyce returned to his homeland and found that his sweetheart had waited for him for the many long years he had been gone. He crafted the first Claddagh ring for his true love, integrating three symbols: two hands to represent friendship, a crown to represent loyalty and a heart to create a picture of love. The two were married, and Joyce presented his creation to his bride as a wedding band.
Claddagh wedding bands give a nod to the original meaning of the Claddaggh, and they’re wonderful ways to celebrate the friendship, love and loyalty of a married relationship. The Celtic Claddagh Wedding Band Ring in 14K Two-Tone Gold frames a 14K yellow gold Claddagh with shining 14K white gold edges, adding a pop of contrast that makes this motif stand out. If you prefer, this ring is also available in several other two-tone and single-metal variations.
While rings are the most common way to wear the Claddagh, they’re far from the only way! Claddagh earrings are lovely ways to incorporate this centuries-old design into your look. For example, the 14K Yellow Gold Claddagh Hoop Earrings meld the Claddagh with gleaming loops of gold to create a pair that’s always in good taste.
In addition to its ability to symbolize friendship, love and loyalty, the Claddagh is also said to have religious significance as it creates a picture of the Holy Trinity: the crown represents the Father, and the two hands represent the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Claddagh Cross Pendant in 14K Yellow Gold gives the Claddagh a clear message of faith by combining it with the symbol of the cross. The two hands and the heart form the horizontal beam of this cross, while the crown sits atop and a smaller cross is carved into the bottom of the vertical beam. This shining, detailed 14K yellow gold piece measures ¾ inches high, making it a lovely accent for any day.
To express your love, to state your faith or to simply make a fashion statement, try a piece of Claddagh jewelry! These pieces provide timeless style and an ageless message.