Irish Claddagh-Ring, 18th century AD
This finger ring came from the Irish fishing village of Claddagh near Galway (County Galway). The ring shows two hands holding a heart with a crown. The heart stands for love, the hands for friendship and the crown for loyalty. Traditionally, a Claddagh ring is passed down through generations from mother to daughter or grandmother to granddaughter.
In Claddagh lived Richard Joyce from about 1660 to 1737. Shortly before his planned marriage, he was kidnapped by Algerian pirates and sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith, where he learned the craft. His masterpiece was this ring, which he created in longing for his fiancée far away, and which would later become known as the Claddagh ring. Joyce was bought free by the British King William III. with other British slaves in 1689 and was able to return to Claddagh where his fiancé was still waiting for him.
Claddagh rings were and are used in Ireland as engagement and wedding rings.
If it is worn on the right hand and the tip of the heart points away from the wearer (i.e. towards the fingertips), it signals the search for a partner.
Worn on the right (with the heart pointing towards the wearer) indicates that a love bond already exists.
The ring on the left hand, point of the heart towards the wearer, corresponds to a wedding ring.
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