Have you ever seen an authentic Claddagh Ring? Chances are if you are Irish or you have taken a trip to Ireland you have seen this beautiful and unique piece of Irish jewelry. By definition, a claddagh [ klah-duh ] is a noun. It is a ring in the form of two hands clasping a crowned heart, given in friendship or love. According to dictionary.com
Expert fine jewelry designer, Jennifer Derrig who is the owner and head designer at The Irish Jewelry Company described the tradition of the Irish claddagh ring as such. " The Claddagh Ring is an instantly recognizable symbol that represents true love and boundless affection. Like a bond between soul mates and is why the claddagh is a traditional wedding ring." Jennifer Derrig, owner of The Irish Jewelry Company
What are Claddagh Rings?
Claddagh rings are fede rings and have a long history dating back to Roman times. The name "fede" derives from the Italian phrase mani in fede meaning loosely "hands joined in faith" or "hands joined in loyalty". The clasped hands were viewed as promise rings used as an engagement ring or wedding rings in medieval and Renaissance Europe. Irish Claddagh rings are a version of the fede ring that has roots deeply seeded in long-standing Irish tradition.
So what do claddagh rings mean?
The Irish say if you want to give a token of your friendship, love and loyalty that has meaning, the Claddagh rings may be the choice for you. Claddagh rings, are often mistakenly spelled Clatter Ring or Clodagh Ring, like it sounds (Irish: fÃ¡inne Chladaigh) is a traditional Irish ring. The Claddagh ring literally means eternal love, loyalty, and friendship. Claddagh ring consists of a heart, for love with a crown, for loyalty held by two hands symbolizing friendship. Claddagh Rings have become a famous symbol of love treasure by Irish and non-Irish all around the world.
A short history of the Claddagh ring.
Irish folklore says that long ago a young man was captured by Algerian pirates and sold into slavery from the small Irish fishing village of Claddagh. He was taught to be a goldsmith as a slave. Many years in servitude passed and he often wondered if his true love waited for him all this time. Over the years enslaved he stole tiny bits of gold from his master to make her a special ring to convey his love. He fashioned a heart for love, a crown for loyalty, and hands as a symbol of friendship. After many years had passed he was finally released from his servitude and he returned home to the village of Claddagh. Upon his return to Ireland to his unbelievable joy, he discovered that his true love had waited for him. So he presented her with the ring he made during his time away as a symbol of his enduring love, loyalty, and friendship forever known now as the Claddagh. Do you have someone in your life to which you pledge your love, loyalty, and friendship forever?
Can a Claddagh Ring be an engagement or wedding ring?
Claddagh Rings are a universal token of love for lads and lassies. That means both men and women can wear Claddagh Rings as promise rings, Claddagh engagement rings, or as Claddagh wedding bands. They can also be given as a claddagh engagement ring as a symbol of friendship, love, and loyalty.
Irish Wedding Bridal Tip...
"The symbol of the Irish claddagh can be incorporated in many ways during the wedding ceremony. Brides can wear claddagh jewelry, give claddagh jewelry to the bridesmaids and tie a claddagh charm to their bouquet. The claddagh can also be used in the design of the invitations, place cards and on the linens. The groom can also find grooms man gifts such as claddagh engraved flasks and claddagh cufflinks and so much more." Says Jennifer Derrig, owner of The Irish Jewelry Company
Are there different types of Claddaghs?
There are many unique styles of claddagh jewelry. Most claddagh styles basically have the hands, heart, and crown. However, the Fenian Claddagh, also known as the Dublin Claddagh Ring has two hands holding a heart and no crown was made in Dublin in the 1800s. Then there is the Trinity Claddagh Ring, a modern twist on the combination of the traditional claddagh ring and trinity knot that takes Irish jewelry to a new level of great design. The claddagh ring is in its simplest form a true token of love. Whatever type of claddagh ring you choose or however you decide to incorporate it on your wedding day it is a symbol all of your guests are sure to recognize.