Celtic Wedding Rings
There are various types of Irish wedding rings to choose from such as Sun Symbols, Shield Knots, Triquetas, Triskeles, and Sprirals, but the most popular is the Claddagh ring whose history is surrounded by romantic legend.
The Claddagh Ring
Its' name is derived from an Irish fishing village, and it is a symbol that represents love, friendship and loyalty. The design of the Claddagh is one of two hands holding a heart with a crown on top if it. The hands represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty and fidelity to one another.
This ring has different meanings depending on how it is worn. As an engagement ring, it is worn on the right hand with the heart pointing inward to the wrist. As a wedding ring, it is also worn with the heart pointing inward, but it is worn on the left hand. As a ring representing friendship, it is worn on the right hand with the heart pointing outward.
History of the Claddagh Ring
The legend of the Claddagh ring begins when fisherman Richard Joyce and his crew were captured by pirates shortly before Joyce was to be married. He was sold as a slave in Algers and became the property of a goldsmith. This goldsmith taught Joyce the skills of the trade, and he became a master in the craft of jewelry making.
With his beloved in Claddagh on his mind, he designed this ring to symbolize the friendship, love, and loyalty they have each other. In year 1698, King George III agreed to free his slaves, and Richard Joyce became a free man. His slave master offered Joyce his daughter's hand in marriage and half of his wealth if he'd remain in Algers. Devoted to his beloved back in Claddagh, Joyce declined this offer, and returned to Claddagh where he found his love still waiting for him. Neither of them had married, and upon discovering this, Joyce presented his love with his ring and they were married shortly thereafter.
This is the history behind the Claddagh ring. In later years, the crown and heart have been embellished with jewels and gemstones for more intricate design and different metals have been used, but the basic design has remained unchanged. This ring tells the story of two lovers who are separated yet their love and commitment to each other withstood the passage of time. The Claddagh ring is as popular today as it ever was.
Irish Wedding Rings
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