Our story stretches back over 300 years to the fishing village of Claddagh just outside the city walls of Galway. It is from there, on the shores of Galway Bay, that the first Claddagh ring was made and legend began. Since then, the custom of using this symbolic ring as a traditional Irish wedding ring has been passed down through generations of Irish families. Today it is famous throughout the world as the symbol of love, friendship and loyalty, represented by the heart, hands and crown in this unique symbol.
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The legendary story tells of how a fishing boat from a Galway village was captured by pirates and the crew taken and sold as slaves. One of the crew, Richard Joyce, (who was due to be married that very week) was sold to a Moorish Goldsmith. During his years in captivity he never forgot his love back home and so he made a ring of gold for her which today is known as the Claddagh ring and is famous the world over. Learn more here.
While these symbolic rings have become popular throughout the world due to their rich Irish history and unusual design incorporating the symbolism of the heart, hands, there's more to it than the symbol itself. How the ring is worn tells a story about the person wearing it:
We have been selling Celtic & Irish jewelry online since the early days of the Internet back in 1998. Each of the pieces presented in our store is lovingly handcrafted in Dublin by master craftsmen from only the finest metals and hallmarked at the Irish Assay Office in Dublin Castle. We offer free shipping and a full money-back guarantee, so when you shop with us you can shop with confidence.
There has been a steady rise in the popularity of vintage themed weddings in recent years. The proliferation of social media may have had a hand in this as people joined Pinterest and Facebook in their droves in trying to gain inspiration for their wedding theme. These outlets have expanded people’s minds in terms of opening up new ideas that perhaps may have not been thought of by an individual before.
Of course, jewelry plays an important role in most weddings. The engagement is symbolized by the exchange of an engagement ring and at the wedding the couple usually exchange wedding rings. Trends have also progressed whereby more men are now choosing to wear their wedding rings, often as a statement of fashion as well as a statement of love and commitment.
Yellow gold jewelry was really popular in the 1980’s but it is now seeing a huge surge in popularity, probably due in some way to an element of celebrity influence coupled with the rise of the vintage theme. Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Leann Rimes and Halle Berry are just some of these well known names who have been spotted with gold engagement or gold wedding jewelry.
In Ireland, we like to consider ourselves modern Europeans with liberal attitudes and a progressive society. However, although the Irish clergy has been rocked by scandal and church attendance has plummeted in recent years, we are still fundamentally a conservative Catholic county at heart. With one of the highest rates of matrimony in Europe, this is especially true when it comes to matters of marriage.
The union of marriage and the associated celebration is still practiced with the enthusiasm of times past. In fact, The Big Day has probably become more elaborate over time. During The Celtic Tiger years, Irish wedding spend reached new heights in terms of excess with one now-bankrupt developer reportedly spending EUR1.5 million on his wedding celebration, by hiring the Christina O, the yacht once owned by Aristotle Onassis. Although there is now less money around, expectations are still high when it comes to the wedding reception with couples expecting to spend between EUR 15 -20,000 on average.
Couples sometimes forget to factor in the price of their wedding jewellery including the wedding rings and with the steep rise in the price of both platinum and gold in recent years, the cost can be significant. Given the resurgence in popularity as a traditional choice of wedding ring. With modern styles and a choice of precious metals, brides are not limited to the plain ring that their grandmother would have worn. The famous Irish symbol of Love, Friendship and Loyalty lives on.
Of the almost 3,000 Americans who died on 9/11, it is estimated that 1,000 people killed had connections to Ireland. In the aftermath many people of Irish descent who were looking for their loved ones, contacted rescue agencies and identified the missing person by the claddagh ring they were wearing.
Over 200 of these special celtic rings were reclaimed from Ground Zero. Many belonged to victims and rescue workers who died that day; a testament to the heroism of Irish-American firefighters and policemen.