Hisotrically, Ireland was ruled by clans or septs that became known as the “Tribes of Galway”. One of the most famous was the Joyce Sept. According to legend, Richard Joyce was traveling to the West Indies when he was captured into slavery by Algerians. He was then taught the art of gold-smithing by his Moorish master. He was apparently released from slavery in 1689 at the behest of King William III of England. Thereafter he returned to his lover in Claddagh, Galway and has since been known as the creater of the Claddagh Ring. The motto of this type of ring is ‘Let love and friendship reign’. These rings have royal approval and Queen Victoria wore one. This ring should be worn as a symbol of love to and by another. It is one of the most meaningful pieces of jewelry that has ever been crafted.
A Claddagh engagement ring is designed with two hands, representing friendship on either side of a heart representing love. The heart is crowned meaning loyalty, and as such the Claddagh has become the traditional Irish Engagement Rings. It is also popular as an engagement and valentines ring. When wearing the Claddagh Engagement ring, you have to understand that there is specific meaning in the wearing. For example wearing the Claddagh on the right hand, with the heart facing inwards to your wrist, indicates friendship prior to the wedding, showing that your heart is taken. Wearing the Claddagh on the left hand with the heart facing the wrist is how it is worn just prior and during a wedding ceremony. This symbolizes that your heart has been claimed by true love and the relationship has grown into the commitment of marriage.
Wearing a Claddagh engagement ring that contains your birthstone is even more special, particularly because of the deep significance of Claddagh rings. They are manufactured from all precious metals and mounted with many types of gemstones. A Silver Claddagh engagement ring in no way diminishes its value, as the value for a Claddagh ring lies in its meaning and not its monetary value. There are very expensive varieties of Claddagh rings that are set with high quality gems, but unlike other engagement rings the gemstone is not the main design. The main feature of the ring is the design and what it symbolizes.
If you are thinking of purchasing celtic engagement rings, the Claddagh is the ideal choice. It is worn on the right hand during the engagement and then transferred to the left for the marriage ceremony, where it remains thereafter. Claddagh rings are worn by both sexes and they symbolize more than just a link to Irish Culture. They also stand for all the qualities that are necessary for a good marriage, loyalty, fidelity, friendship and love.
It is interesting to note that besides Queen Victoria wearing a Claddagh ring, Edward VII also wore one, and the Royal Family of Monaco still keep up the regal tradition of wearing Claddagh rings.