No other ring in the history has as beautiful of tory as that of the Irish Claddagh ring. The story of the Claddagh starts when a fisherman, Richard Joyce, and other crew members were captured by pirates shortly before Joyce was to be married. He was sold into slavery in Algiers and made the property of a goldsmith who taught him the craft. With his beloved back in Claddagh on his mind he fashioned the first Claddagh ring. The hands were to represent friendship, the heart was love, and the crown represented loyalty and fidelity.
In 1698 King Georges III agreed to free all of his subjects. Richard Joyce was once again free. His slave master offered Joyce his daughter in marriage and half of his wealth if he would stay in Algiers. Joyce refused the offer and instead returned home to Claddagh where he found his love waiting for him. Neither of them had married. Upon discovering this, Joyce gave his love the ring and they were married shortly thereafter.The ring was dubbed The Claddagh because of the village Joyce and his Bride were from. There were others who made the ring much later and added jewels and an intricate crown design. The basic hands holding a crowned heart has never changed. Joyce wanted something that would his love for his Beloved.
The design is the clasped hands of the ‘fede’ or faith rings. These rings date from Roman times and were popular in the Middle Ages. The ring is worn now by many to speak to their Irish heritage. The Claddagh tells the story of two lovers who are separated and yet their love and commitment withstood the passage of time. It’s simple design and my heritage influenced my decision to purchase a Claddagh.