Whether it's a ring, a necklace, a cake topper or a money clip, if it has the two-hands-a-heart-and-a-crown design, then it is a piece of claddagh jewelry. They are part of the ever-more popular Irish Celtic tradition and have very rich symbolism and legend potential.
Here are two legends linked to Claddagh jewelry.
This time the story is about a prince who fell in love with one of his maids. Her father was against their love until the prince gave her a special ring, a Claddagh gold ring.
The ring was fashioned just for her to prove his feelings are sincere: the hands on the ring represented friendship, the crown - devotion and the heart was the undeniable sign of true love. The prince asked the girl to marry him and her father, hearing the symbolism of the ring, gave them his blessing and they lived happily ever after.
Today you can buy a Claddagh pendant, Claddagh necklace, Claddagh bracelet and other jewelry with such design.
Another version of the story says that Margaret Joyce, a Claddagh woman, married a wealthy Spanish merchant who made commerce with Galway. After the wedding, they moved to Spain, where the merchant became ill and died, leaving all a huge fortune to his wife Margaret. She returned to Galway with all that money and started to build bridges from Galway to Sligo. The legend says that one day a large eagle flew over her and dropped the Claddah ring right into her lap, as a reward for all her charity work
Some of the most popular Celtic jewelry today is the Claddagh knot and the Claddagh cross.
No matter what legend you think is the real one, the meaning and the symbol of the Cladagh ring are the same: Let love and friendship reign. Irish tradition, now borrowed by many other nations, says that this ring is to be kept in the family and handed from generation to generation when the daughter or the son of the family is getting married, on his wedding day.
The same tradition talks about the symbolism of the ring depending on the way it is being worn on the finger: