Claddagh Ring Meaning With Picture Examples
The Claddagh ring meaning is associated to its distinctive design features; two hands enclosing a heart, surmounted by a crown. The two hands represent friendship, heart represents love and crown represents loyalty. The ring is more than 200 years old, but its origins are shrouded in mystery. There are many legends associated with this Irish love-token and they all start in Claddagh, an Irish fishing village just outside the old city walls of Galway.
Origins of the Claddagh Ring
No one is quite sure how it originated, but the ring is most closely associated with one of the best known ruling tribes of the 17th century Galway – the Joyce family. The story of the ring involves Margaret of the Bridges (the daughter of John Joyce and widow of don Domingo de Rona) and the slave of the goldsmith from Algiers. In the late 16th century, after the death of her husband, Margaret remarried and spent most of the money her first husband left her on building stone bridges "through Connaught from Galway to Sligoe" (according to Roderick O'Flaherty). One day an eagle dropped the Claddagh ring into her lap, as a reward for her generosity.
In another story, a prince fell in love with a common maid. He designed a ring with hands representing friendship, a heart representing love and a crown representing loyalty and proposed to the girl. Her father was satisfied with the explanation of the symbolism of the ring and gave them his blessing.
One of the stories says that it was Richard Joyce, an Irish goldsmith (and silversmith) and a member of the Joyce tribe of Galway, who designed the ring.
The design of the ring became very popular after the great Famine in the 1840s.
How to Wear the Claddagh Ring
If you buy or receive a Claddagh ring as a gift, be careful how you wear it; when worn with the heart facing inward, the ring indicates that the wearer is spoken for and when worn with the heart facing outward, it tells the world the wearer is available. In other words, if the heart points in (toward you), it means you are in a relationship; if the heart points out (away from you), that means you are available.
Claddagh Ring Meaning in the Past and Today
The Claddagh ring is categorized as a "fede ring" (a group of European finger rings used as engagement and/or wedding rings). The term comes from the Italian phrase mani in fede – meaning hands joined in faith (or loyalty). Although it’s a traditional Irish ring and a token of love, people all over the globe use it as gifts in different occasions – the ring can be a wedding ring, an engagement ring, a gift for Mother’s day, for birthday, etc. Even children can wear it, usually teenage girls.
Buying Claddagh Ring Online
When buying a ring online, the problem is you can't try it on. Of course, sizes are universal and if you know your size, or the ring size of the person you want to pleasantly surprise, purchasing the Claddagh ring online can be a positive experience. Unfortunately, you’ll find many of them are oversized, deformed or simply look like junk. To make sure you get the right ring, here are some highly recommended Claddgah rings people were very satisfied with:
Claddagh Ring In Sterling Silver
This ring is elegantly small, it looks very good on even the slightest woman's finger or even on a man’s finger (one girl bought one for her dad and he loved it). Everything is proportional - no oversized features, such as disturbingly large heart or deformed hands. The silver is cheerfully bright with a high polished shine and it doesn't tarnish easily. If you’re doing household chores, such as laundry and dishes, it seems to be able to withstand the chemicals. The ring is nickel-free, which is important for those having problems with nickel based jewelry.
Made in Thailand (but much better quality than most made in Ireland). Fast delivery. Nickel-free.
People bought this ring for their wife, girlfriend, daughter, teenage daughter (remember that Buffy wore it, too), dad, friend.
Similar rings can be found with hearts made of birthstones, such as topaz,opal, green amber, blue sapphire imitations, zirconia and other wonderful crystals.
Stainless Steel Claddagh Ring
This ring is designed with the additional detail of the Celtic knot of the band (representing eternity). It is big, thick and sturdy. It’s an excellent choice for a man, even for women (but not for women with small hands). The price is low, but the ring doesn’t look "cheap." People compliment on the ring very often.
People bought this ring for their grandmothers, dads, husbands, and "large women" bought it for themselves.
10k Yellow Gold Claddagh Ring
This wonderful ring is normally purchased as a gift for an anniversary, as an engagement ring or for a special occasion, but it can be worn every day. It looks luxurious – the base is gold-plated and the gem type that makes it so special is a round, minimum white color diamond. It shifts your gaze downward onto the ring and draws a number of compliments.
People mostly bought this ring for their wives and fiancés.
10k Yellow Gold Claddagh Ring with Trinity Band
This beautiful ring looks both simple and luxurious. It is thin, but holds up very well. It also exists in white gold variant. There’s a big range of available sizes. Because it’s thin, it is suitable for both men and women. It would make a perfect engagement ring, but it can also be used as a gift in any other occasion. The Trinity Band gives the ring a special touch. If you own the Amazon Store Card, any purchase on Amazon totaling $149 can be paid via six-month financing. No interest if paid in full within six months (see details and restrictions on Amazon). The same ring design is also available as 14k gold.
Available sizes 4-17.
14k White Gold Created Alexandrite Celtic Knot Claddagh Ring
A special edition of a white gold Claddagh ring – instead of hands, the ring has Celtic knots on the sides representing eternity. In combination with the created alexandrite heart, the ring symbolizes eternal love. It comes in a very nice jewelry box with a free teddy bear, all in a nice gift bag ready to give to that very special person who will surely be very happy for receiving such a wonderful, luxurious gift. The minimum color of the stone is color-changing, the polish is very good. Six-month financing possible. 90 day full money back guarantee (check restrictions).
Ring size: 4-9. Resizable. Metal stamp 14k. Minimum total gem weight 1 carat.
People buy this ring for special women in their lives.
14k Rose Gold Genuine Opal Celtic Claddagh Ring
The last, but not less important on this list is a beautiful rose gold Claddagh ring with a heart made of genuine opal. Minimum color of the gemstone is multiple-color, very good polish and the minimum total weight is 0.10 carats. Six-month financing possible with 90 day full money back guarantee (see restrictions). Currently, there are no reviews for this item on Amazon, but the ring caught my eye and found its place on my wish list.
Which Ring Should I Buy?
That depends on your budget, of course. You can find these rings at a price lower than $20, cca. $50 would be a fair price for a sterling silver ring, gold rings usually have different heart stones and designs, which is why the prices vary significantly.
It doesn’t matter which of these rings you’ll purchase for that person so dear to you – remember; it’s the symbolism not the price that makes this gift so special: love, friendship, loyalty. The Claddagh ring meaning will help you express what you feel and plan to nourish in the future and this will make any person very happy.
Just be careful which hand this person will wear it on (this includes you, too)!