Have you ever seen a Claddagh ring and wondered what it means? Here’s the story. The history and traditions associated with modern Claddagh rings originated in the Irish fishing village of the same name, around 1700. The components of the ring are each representative of important components of a relationship: the heart represents love, the hands represent friendship and the crown represents loyalty. Specific designs have changed over the years, but the basic heart, crown and hands are mainstays.
Tradition also dictates how the ring is worn. In older times the ring would be handed down from a mother to daughter or grandmother to granddaughter. The young woman would then wear the ring on her right hand with the tip of the heart pointing toward her fingernail. This indicated that she was not in a relationship and that she was open to love. If the ring was worn on the right hand with the tip of the heart pointing in to the hand, then it represented that her heart had been captured and she was in a relationship. When she became engaged the ring would move to the left hand ring finger, tip pf heart pointed down. Once she married then the ring would point in toward her heart.
There are other more localized traditions associated with Claddagh rings as well, but the basics tend to remain the same. Modern day Claddagh rings are made of all different metals, including gold, silver, and platinum. They may also be set with diamonds or other gemstones. Today, both men and women wear the rings, and as with any piece of jewelry, it’s up to the wearer to determine how to make the tradition of the Claddagh ring, his or her own.