The Claddagh ring is a famous Irish ring with a love story that transcends time. The story of the Claddagh Ring is one of enduring love that began long, long ago in 1675 in the small fishing village of Claddagh in County Galway, Ireland. It all began when a young lad by the name Richard Joyce. The Joyce family is one of the famous Tribes of Galway. An Irish fisherman who was very much in love with an enchanting Irish lass he was hoping to one day betroth. Unfortunately he was captured at sea by pirates from Algeria. The wicked pirates sold Richard Joyce for a hefty sum into slavery. As luck would have it in an Irish sort of way Richard Joyce was sold to a Moorish goldsmith who taught him in his highly skilled craft to be an accomplished goldsmith. So impressed with his skill his captor made him his apprentice.
The claddagh ring is a type of fede ring from Roman times. A fede ring is one with two hands holding a heart to symbolize friendship and love. Richard Joyce added the crown to the design to symbolize his eternal loyalty to his true love.
In 1689 the King of England, William the Third persuaded the Algerians to release all enslaved subjects. Soon Richard Joyce was able to return to Ireland and the tiny fishing village of Claddagh to be reunited with family and friends. To his joy he soon discovered after all his years of servitude his true love had waited for his to return.
And just like that with a few hundred years of embellishment and a wee bit of the telephone game at play the romantic story of the Claddagh Ring was born. Now there are several variations of the claddagh ring legend but we think this version of the myth is most recognizable world wide. There are even more variations on the Claddagh ring design. Some early designs from over 200 years ago depict the claddagh with a narrow or slender heart. Other older design depict the hands as more pronounced and firmly grabbing the heart.
Today there are many interpretations of the beloved Claddagh Ring design that began in the 1600's. Reputable online Irish jewelers like The Irish Jewelry Company, world famous for their unique Irish jewelry and Claddagh Rings offer a huge selection to choose from. There are Celtic Knot Claddagh Rings, Trinity Claddagh Rings, Irish Claddagh Rings, Mothers Claddagh Rings and so much more just to name a few.