Introduction to Claddagh Rings

You’ve seen a Claddagh ring if you’ve ever seen the distinctive image of two hands clasping a heart with a crown.

You might be an expert at wearing your Claddagh ring because of your Irish ancestry, or you might be a complete novice.

In either case, you’ll be glad to know that our little guide has all the answers if you’re intrigued by the unusual design but are curious about the meaning of the ring and how to wear it.

Symbolism of Rings

wedding rings

Ancient Egyptians were the first to value rings. They considered its circular shape to be a meaningful symbol.

The band stood for unending love and eternal life. A gateway to uncharted worlds was signified by the ring’s opening. Greeks and Egyptians both exchanged rings as tokens of unending love. The Egyptians used them as symbols of fidelity.

However, the Romans were the first civilization to adopt the ring as a sign of matrimony over 5,000 years ago. The most typical wedding band was the fede ring. It showed two hands joined together, signifying a couple’s commitment to respect and love one another.

During the Middle Ages, these rings were widely worn across Europe. The modern Claddagh Ring was created as a result of modifications made to the original design.

What is a Claddagh Ring?

silver claddagh ring

A Claddagh ring is a circular band made of gold or silver that has two hands clasping a heart with a crown above it. It can be worn as an engagement or wedding ring or presented as a token of friendship.

Traditional Irish rings called Claddagh rings stand for friendship, love, and loyalty. The Irish fishing community of Claddagh in Galway is where their designs and related traditions first appeared.

Claddagh rings are a type of finger ring that is referred to as a “fede ring” in Europe. The word “fede” is derived from the Italian phrase “mani pede,” which can indicate either “hands joined in faith” or “hands clasped in loyalty.” These rings have a Roman origin and were worn as wedding and engagement rings in Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Brief History of the Claddagh Ring

The most popular origin story for the Claddagh involves pirates, but there are many more stories as well. The ring is said to have first been made as a love gesture by a local man named Richard Joyce in the little fishing community of Claddagh, now a part of Galway, Ireland, according to local legend. Pirates from Algeria kidnapped Richard Joyce and sold him into slavery in Morocco. He worked under a Moorish goldsmith and later achieved success in the trade. He was freed in 1689 and returned to Claddagh to be with his beloved. She wore the ring he gave her as her wedding band; it was one he had crafted while being held captive. Her ring bears the same symbolism as those used today: two hands (representing friendship) clasping a heart (representing love), adorned with a crown (loyalty).

Meaning of the Claddagh Ring

The words “Love, Loyalty & Friendship,” or “Grá, Dlseacht, Cairdeas” (pronounced “Graw, Deal-shocked, Core-jass”) if you want to speak Gaelic, properly capture the meaning of the Claddagh. Three symbols—the Heart, the Crown, and the Hands—are combined to create this one-of-a-kind design. The Heart symbolizes love, the Crown symbolizes commitment, and the Hands symbolizes friendship.

The Claddagh’s versatility has given this symbol of love and friendship international recognition. The ring is frequently given as a token of romantic love, such as a promise ring, an engagement ring, a wedding band, etc. The ring can also be worn as a symbol of a strong friendship. Many more people choose to wear the Claddagh as a beautiful reminder of their Irish heritage or as a keepsake from a vacation to Ireland.

Modern Claddagh Rings

modern claddagh ring)

Although they can now be adorned with precious or semi-precious stones, Claddagh rings were originally made from a single precious metal to give them an unique look.

Modern Claddagh bands frequently feature dazzling gemstones as decorations, unlike the old Claddagh rings, which were only made of precious metals.

The Irish ancestry of the Claddagh is honored by the use of emeralds, diamonds, peridot, sapphires, and green gemstones.

A birthstone is usually a great option for the Claddagh ring when purchasing a gift for someone special.

Giving someone jewelry that features their birthstone as part of the design is a lovely way to show them how much you cherish them. 

How To Wear Your Claddagh Ring

The Claddagh ring differs from other fine jewelry items in that there are specific ways to wear it.

How you wear your Claddagh ring is dependent on your current romantic relationship. Therefore, if your single friend is looking for a date, the Claddagh ring seems to be an excellent conversation starter. 

1. Claddagh Rings for Singles 

Wear a Claddagh ring on your right hand with the heart’s point facing outwards if you are single and looking for a relationship. This shows that you are desiring to look for a partner.

2. Claddagh Rings as Promise Rings

If you are in a relationship with someone, wear the Claddagh ring on your right hand with the heart’s tip facing you. This demonstrates how your heart has already been won over.

3. Claddagh Rings for Engagement

Your Claddagh ring may also be worn as an engagement ring. Put the heart-shaped engagement ring on your left hand if you are engaged.

4. Claddagh Rings for Marriage

The Claddagh ring’s versatility as a wedding and engagement band is one of its most attractive features. When a couple gets married, they keep the engagement ring on their left hand, but they turn it over so the heart is inside.

Claddagh Ring Interesting Facts

The Claddagh ring is a representation with deep roots in Irish culture. Here are some information surrounding its history, definition, applications, and evolution.

1. The First Claddagh Ring

The Claddagh fishing town in Ireland is where the design first surfaced around 1700. Currently, Claddagh is a part of Galway. This is where the various accounts about the origins of the Claddagh ring began. 

2. The Claddagh Ring’s Category

The Claddagh ring belongs to a larger group of rings known as fede or faith. Mani in Fede is an Italian expression that translates to “hands united in fidelity” and denotes a vow of love and friendship.

3. Most Popular Use of the Claddagh Ring

A common variation of a design used for wedding bands, vows, and pledges is the Claddagh ring. It was first used by the early Romans.

Claddagh Ring Tradition

The Claddagh ring was preserved by poor fishermen families as a symbol of their investment. Daughters or daughters-in-law of mothers received it from their mothers. When countless Irish people fled to America and Australia in search of a better life in the 19th century, the tradition took on even greater significance.

Who Buys the Ring?

Purchasing your own Claddagh ring brings bad fortune. It must be offered to you as a token of friendship or love. Irish mothers may give their oldest daughters family heirloom Claddagh rings. 


It is a great honor to receive a Claddagh ring as a gift since you are receiving a piece of Irish history. In any article or narrative concerning the Claddagh ring’s past, the classic design can always be found. Other Celtic and Irish symbols, however, such as knots interlacing around the ring band, can be found in more contemporary variants.