Well today I would like to share about one piece of jewelry that is not only beautiful, but also very rich in legend: the Claddagh ring.
The Claddagh ring gets its name from the Irish phrase "An Cladch" which means "flat stony shore". A small village on the stony coasts of Ireland with this name is where the design of the ring originated.
There are many legends behind this ring. The simplest, and my favorite, is that of a Prince who fell in love with a common maid. To convince her father his feelings were genuine and he had no intentions of "using" the girl, he designed a ring with hands representing friendship, a crown representing loyalty, and a heart representing love. He proposed to the maid with this ring, and after the father heard the explanation of the symbolism of the ring, he gave his blessing.
There's something about this ring that really appeals to me. I don't know if it's because it has an Irish origin (my family heritage is Irish), the fact that it ties in with the whole idea of preserving yourself for marriage (sort of like a purity ring), or the fact that these rings are intended to be heirlooms passed from mother to daughter. Whatever it is, I really want one of these!
On the band are two hands clasping a heart, which are usually usually surmounted by a crown. This is said to symbolize love (the heart), friendship (the hands), and loyalty (the crown).
Traditionally, if the ring is on the right hand with the heart facing outward and away from the body, this indicates that the person wearing the ring is not in any serious relationship, and may in fact be single and looking for a relationship: "their heart is open."
When worn on the right hand but with the heart facing inward toward the body, this indicates the person wearing the ring is in a relationship, or that "someone has captured their heart".
A Claddagh worn on the left hand ring finger facing outward away from the body generally indicates that the wearer is engaged.
You may be thinking (like I initially did) that you want to go out and buy one for yourself right now. However, one does not just boldly set out and buy one for themselves. The ring is meant to be a gift; either from a relative, or perhaps a young man. :) That is the whole point of the ring; it is a symbolism of love, friendship, and loyalty.
Here is the official Claddagh Ring site where the rings are made in Ireland.
And here is my favorite one:
Well, I really do need to get off of here and practice my violin before I have to leave for choir. :) Hope you are all having a loverly day!
Source used: wikipedia