Claddagh Ring Irish Wedding Rings
There are a number of Irish Wedding Rings that include Spirals, Triskeles, and Triquetas, Shield Knots and Sun Symbols. The most popular ring by far is the Irish claddagh ring ring and it is surrounded by a romantic legend.
The claddagh ring is as was said, the most popular in Ireland. The ring symbolizes love, friendship , and loyalty. The ring is named for an Irish fishing village. The design of the claddagh ring is constructed of two hands holding a heart with a crown on top of it. The hands represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty.
Various traditions give different meanings to the ring depending on how it is worn. As a wedding ring it is worn on the left hand with the heart pointing inward to the wrist. As an engagement ring it is on the right hand with the heart pointing inward toward the wrist. For friendship it is worn on the right hand turned outward.
The legend of the claddagh ring begins when a fisherman Richard Joyce and other crew members were captured by pirates shortly before Joyce was to be married. He was sold into slavery in Algiers and made the property of a goldsmith who taught him the craft of goldsmith. Joyce became the master of the craft. With is beloved back in claddagh ring on his mind he fashioned the first claddagh ring ring. The hands were to represent friendship, the heart was love, and the crown represented loyalty and fidelity.
In 1698 King Georges III agreed to free all of his subjects. Richard Joyce was once again free. His slave master offered Joyce his daughter in marriage and half of his wealth if he would stay in Algiers. Joyce refused the offer and instead returned home to claddagh ring where he found his love waiting for him. Neither of them had married. Upon discovering this, Joyce gave his love the ring and they were married shortly thereafter.
The ring was dubbed The claddagh ring because of the village Joyce and his Bride were from. There were others who made the ring much later and added jewels and an intricate crown design. The basic hands holding a crowned heart has never changed. Joyce wanted something that would his love for his Beloved.
The claddagh ring today is as popular as it ever was. The basic design of the ring has not changed but now there is more intricacies in the crown, gemstones or jewels can be used to fashion the heart, and the hands are simply hands. The ring can be made of silver, gold or basically any metal.
The design is the clasped hands of the ‘fede’ or faith rings. These rings date from Roman times and were popular in the Middle Ages. The ring is worn now by many to speak to their Irish heritage. The claddagh ring tells the story of two lovers who are separated and yet their love and commitment withstood the passage of time. It’s simple design and my heritage influenced my decision to purchase a claddagh ring.
The Ring – Step Back in History
The popularity of rings increased during the medieval period. People wore rings no matter if they were rich or poor. The most used materials in the making of rings are copper, iron, gold and silver. The class of the person was usually identified by the material the ring was made of.
Faceted jewels began to appear in rings around the 14th century. Some cultures have rings that are usually associated with them. Native Americans are associated with silver and turquoise jewelry. The Greek symbol of the fish, called the Icthus was used by Early Christians. The Irish Claddagh has an interesting story attached to it.
Richard Joyce along with the crew on a fishing boat from the village of Claddagh, Ireland, was captured the same week he was supposed to be married. Goldsmithing was Richard Joyce’s trade while he was enslaved. While he was captured, neither married. Richard Joyce made a ring for his beloved that had two hands holding a heart for love and a crown for loyalty.
Joyce escaped from his captors and returned to Claddagh where he was excited to see his love again and know she had never married. She never gave up hope of his return to her. He gave her the ring that is known as the Claddagh ring. Wearing the Claddagh on your right hand, crown inward means that you are letting people know that you are single.
The person who wears the Claddagh on the right hand with the crown outward is in a committed relationship. Wearing the Claddagh with the crown outward on your left hand says Let our love and friendship reign forever, never to be separated. There are many reasons for wearing rings, one is adornment. Rewards for a job well done include rings such as the one given after the Super Bowl victory.
Rings such as engagement rings and wedding rings symbolize commitment. Women Religious wear rings to show their commitment to God. You can use almost any material to make rings now. Plastic, silver, copper, gold or even wood can be use to make them. Ceramic materials can be used as well.
Rings can be very simple or of something as intricate as filigree. Rings can be plain and simple or be adorned with jewels and/or gemstones, as is the case of birthstone rings. There is a birthstone for each month with its own meaning.
Below you will find a list.
The Garnet is January’s stone the gem of faith and truth; it is believed to stop bleeding, to cure sickness of the blood and infections and it is said to protect from poisons. It is believed that February’s birthstone the Amethyst helps soldiers in battle, hunters to catch prey, control evil thoughts and help the owner have success in business. In order to prevent seasickness, keep them safe, and gain courage and foresight, sailors use the Aquamarine, the stone for March.
The Diamond is April’s stone and is the symbol of strength, courage and invincibility. The diamond is the greatest gift of love. In 1477 Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave a diamond to Mary of Burgundy which started the tradition of engagement rings. The Emerald is the birthstone for May and believed to sharpen the eyesight and mind of the wearer.
As protection against the hazards of long trips travelers used Emeralds. The owner of the Emerald is said to be given the power to predict the future because of its green color. The pearl is the birthstone of June and fresh water pearls are said to give the power of protection, luck, and love.
They provide protection for children from harm and wisdom from experience. The Ruby’s (July) red color is related to protection, courage, physical energy, strength, health, sex, and passion. Associated with it are blood, death, and birth. The August birthstone, the Peridot is said to bring the wearer peace, success, and good luck. It is believed it has the powers of health, protection, and sleep.
It is believed that it attracts love, eases anxiety and negative emotions, and calms anger. The powers of the Saphire (July) include inner peace and spiritual enlightenment. It is associated with the power of healing rheumatism, colic and mental illness. The October birthstone is believed to have healing powers that aid inner beauty, eyesight, and faithfulness. It will assist the user in remembering past lives.
The properties of the Yellow Topaz (Sanskrit for fire) are said to heal both mental and physical illnesses and to prevent death. The Citrine that is also for November is believed to have powers to aid the kidneys, the heart, the digestive tract, liver and muscles. Its powers are the elimination of self-destructive tendencies and it promotes creativity and personal clarity.
December’s birthstone is the Blue Topaz (Sanskrit for fire) and was believed to heal both mental and physical illnesses, and prevent death in the Middle Ages. The powers of attracting money, success, and love are attributed to the Turquoise another stone for December. It is believed also that it offers protection, healing, courage, friendship and luck.
Mental tension is relieved and the mind is comforted. Among the variety of rings there are mother’s rings with birthstones of her kids, friendship rings, engagement rings, wedding rings, and school rings. At the base of the prices for rings is fifty cents (found in toy machines) and at the higher end fifty thousand dollars or more.