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How to wear a Claddagh Ring and the story behind it.

The Claddagh ring, pronounced (Klah –  Duh) – (Irishfáinne Chladaigh) is the traditional token of loyalty and friendship as well as romantic love. The Hands represent friendship, the Heart, love and the Crown, signifies loyalty.

The Wearing of the Claddagh:

According to Irish legend, a Claddagh ring was worn with the intention of conveying the wearer’s relationship status:

  1. On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips: the wearer is single and might be looking for love.
  2. On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist: the wearer is in a relationship; someone “has captured their heart”
  3. On the left ring finger with the point of the heart toward the fingertips: the wearer is engaged.
  4. On the left ring finger with the point of the heart toward the wrist: the wearer is married.[20]


The
Legend of the Claddagh Ring is the story of the mystical and beautiful
Claddagh Ring, first told over 300 years ago in the ancient fishing
village of the Claddagh, outside the walls of the City of Galway on the
west coast of Ireland.


Passed down through the generations, this romantic story centers on a man named Richard Joyce and the ring he created. Legend has it that shortly before he was due to be married, a fisherman  Richard Joyce was captured at sea by pirates and sold into slavery in Algeria. He became the property of a rich Moorish goldsmith, who sensing his potential , began to train him in his craft. In time, Richard Joyce became a fully proficient master craftsman and with thoughts of the girl he  had left behind close to his heart, he fashioned the first Claddagh Ring. The heart symbolizing love, the pair of hands representing friendship and the crown for loyalty and fidelity. 

In 1689 after an agreement with King William III to release all his subjects held in slavery, Richard Joyce found himself once more a free man. His master, who had by now grown very fond of him, offered his only daughter in marriage and half his wealth, if he would remain in Algiers, but Joyce declined. After fourteen years, returned home to Galway, and brought with him the ring he had fashioned while in captivity. On his return he found that his sweetheart  had waited for his him,  and presenting her with the Claddagh ring, they were married.  His initials are in one of the earlies surviving Claddagh rings.

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The Claddagh Ring merges the basic ‘clasped hand design’ of Fede Rings with a heart and a crown signifying Love, Friendship and Loyalty or Fidelity. These rings were kept with great pride as family heirlooms, There are several mottos and wishes associated with the ring, such as: “Let love and friendship reign. In Ireland, the United States, Canada, and other parts of the Irish diaspora, the Claddagh is sometimes handed down mother-to-eldest daughter or grandmother-to-granddaughter. or which were passed lovingly down from mother to daughter on her wedding day. The design has now become very popular internationally, its spread being helped by the vast exodus from Ireland during the great famine in 1845-1849.  The simplicity of the ring and the symbolism it conveys make it the perfect gift for a friend or loved one.
 

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