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Claddagh & Irish Jewelry
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Claddagh & Irish Jewelry
14k Gold or Sterling Silver Claddagh Jewelry. To give the Claddagh is to forge the bands of Love, the gift of Friendship, and Loyalty forever. Search our entire catalog of gold or silver Claddagh Jewelry and find the perfect gift to give that special someone.
An original symbol of the "Fisher Kings" of the Galway town of Claddagh, Ireland, (pronounced clada) the design was first fashioned into the traditional ring back in the 17th Century during the reign of Mary II.
Legend has it that an Irish young man, Richard Joyce, bound for the West Indian slave plantations - no doubt the Irish Carribean island of Montserrat - was kidnapped himself in rough seas by a band of Mediterranean pirates and sold to a Moorish goldsmith who over the many long years of his exile helped him perfect the skills of a master craftsman.
When in 1689 King William III negotiated the return of the slaves, Joyce returned to Galway - despite, it said, the Moor's offer of the daughter's hand in marriage and a princely dowry of half of all his wealth.
Back in Ireland a young women had never stopped faithful waiting for her true love to return. Upon which time when he presented her with the now famous Royal Claddagh gold ring - a symbol of their enduring love. Two hands to represent their friendship, the crown to signify their loyalty and lasting fidelity, and the sign of the heart to symbolize their eternal love for each other.
They soon married, never to be separated again.
The traditional wedding ring of the Irish since the 17th Century, the Claddagh ring is worn by people all over the world as a universal symbol of love, loyalty, friendship and fidelity.
Traditionally handed down from mother to daughter the Claddagh ring has also become a symbol of our ties with the past and generations gone by. As Irish people we remember the many many of our people who had to leave Ireland with nothing but their lives during the Great Famine of the 19th Century - many leaving from here in Cork harbour to make the long voyage across the Atlantic to America. The gold Claddagh ring was to become for many the only enduring link with their home country and practically their only savings and family inheritance.
Further reflecting the troubled history of Ireland itself, a hundred years ago the Fenian ring, with two hands and two hearts, was distinguishing by its lack of a crown to represent the struggle for Republican Ireland - however the traditional Claddagh ring has always remaining the Irish standard proudly wearing the crown as a symbol of loyalty, a remembrance of our ancient Irish Kingdoms.
Notable wearers of the Claddagh ring have included Queen Alexandria and King Edward VII of Britain and Queen Victoria of Britain and Ireland as it was then. And in the little principalty of Monaco, the Claddagh tradition lives on in the Royal family of Monaco and the memory of the beautiful Irish princess - Princess Grace of Monaco.
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