The Claddagh – why it stands the test of time

claddagh-pendant-with-irish-crown2

The Claddagh is a truly exceptional design that has stood the test of time and will continue to do so for centuries to come. It is as beautiful in meaning as it is to look at aesthetically. The meaning of the Claddagh remains as potent as it did when it was first designed:

  • love (grá) is symbolised by the heart
  • loyalty (dílseacht) is symbolised by the crown, and
  • friendship (cairdeas) is symbolised by the hands.

I think it’s fair to say that we all look for these important qualities in a friendship/partnership. So, receiving a gift with this meaning attached would be just lovely!

The design and customs associated with the Claddagh ring originated in the Irish fishing village of Claddagh in Galway. The Claddagh ring, that we know and love today, was first produced in the 17th Century and continues to capture the imagination of the masses – the Irish and non-Irish alike.

Did you know that there are different meanings attaching to the different ways to wear the Claddagh ring?

Traditionally, if the ring is worn on the right hand with the heart facing outward away from the body (i.e when worn the lower point of the heart is at the bottom of your finger), it means that the person wearing the ring has yet to have their heart captured and so their “heart is open” and might be on the lookout for somebody special.

When worn on the right hand but with the heart facing inward toward the body (i.e. the point of the heart is towards the top of your finger), it means that the person wearing the ring has had their “heart captured” and has found that somebody special.

If the Claddagh is worn on the left hand ring finger facing outward away from the body this means that the wearer is engaged.

When the ring is on the left hand ring finger and facing inward toward the body, it traditionally means that the person wearing the ring is married.

So over time, you can move your Claddagh ring up and down and from finger to finger to denote your current relationship status or you can at least wreck a few heads and keep people guessing by putting it on randomly 🙂

I have been working on my own Claddagh design with an Irish crown that featured on the Coat of Arms of Ireland around the time of Brian Boru. Looking forward to sharing the collection with you soon….