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Claddagh Ring Meaning & History

Learn About Irish Claddagh Rings

What is a Claddagh Ring?

Throughout time and history, we have used rings to show our love to the ones we truly care for. Claddagh rings are part of that shared language of love, originating from Celtic culture in Ireland. Explore the rich heritage of the Irish Claddagh ring and “let love and friendship reign.”

Irish Claddagh Ring Meaning and Symbolism

A classic Claddagh ring features two hands joined together, holding up a heart wearing a crown. On a Claddagh ring the hands symbolize friendship, the heart symbolizes love, and the crown symbolizes loyalty.

How to Wear a Claddagh Ring

Irish Claddagh rings are used to celebrate close friendships and romantic relationships, but a lot of the Claddagh ring’s meaning comes from how you wear your ring. If you wear a Claddagh ring with the crown pointing away from you, you’re saying you are in a relationship or married. If you wear the ring with the crown pointing towards you, you are saying you are single.


Galway Bay, Ireland

The earliest Claddagh rings date back to the 1700s and came from Galway, Ireland. The word Claddagh means “shore” in Gaelic — fitting for this ring hailing from the small fishing village Claddagh on the shore of Galway Bay. Irish Claddagh rings have a rich folklore that centers around the Joyce family who are one of the 14 original tribes of Galway. There are several tales of how Claddagh rings were created, but the most commonly accepted story credits Richard Joyce with creating the Claddagh ring in the late 1600s or early 1700s.

What is Claddagh: rings

Although we associate Claddagh rings with Ireland, these rings reference the style of ancient Roman betrothal rings. Claddagh rings are built off the style of fede rings or what the Romans called “dextrarum iunctio.” Fede rings, which feature two hands joined together to represent the union of a couple, gained popularity in the Middle Ages and stayed popular over time, which likely influenced the design of the Claddagh ring.

Styles: Wearing Claddagh Rings

Claddagh rings are a unique way to express your love and connect to Ireland’s rich culture. Claddagh rings are adaptable to more masculine and feminine styles so you can find the perfect design for you.

Men’s Claddagh Rings

What is Claddagh: rings

Irish Claddagh rings for men tend to have more heft and sometimes feature alternative metals. The Claddagh motif is usually sculpted, though it may be engraved on the ring rather than expressed in the shape.

Gemstone Claddagh Rings

What is Claddagh: rings

There are a number of ways you can make an Irish Claddagh ring special. Diamonds or gemstones are a lovely way to personalize a design. You can also customize the ring with a birthstone so it has extra special meaning.

Fenian Claddagh Rings

What is Claddagh: rings

Fenian rings differ from the classic Claddagh ring because they do not feature the crown worn by the heart. This design came about in the 1800s in solidarity with calls to liberate Ireland from England, which has obvious connections to the crown in the Claddagh design. The classic Claddagh ring still remains more popular so this style can be difficult to find.

Claddagh Jewelry Beyond Just Rings

What is Claddagh: rings What is Claddagh: rings

Irish Claddagh rings have enjoyed so much popularity that you can find its familiar motif in an expanded range of jewelry including necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. These variations are a unique way to enjoy this classic Irish design.

Shop Claddagh Rings

Claddagh rings are an enduring symbol of love and friendship steeped in the beautiful culture of Ireland. Discover traditional Irish Claddagh rings in masculine and feminine styles and explore Zales jewelry that features the unique Claddagh design.

Women’s Claddagh Rings

Celebrate the relationships in your life, friendships, romances, and happily-ever-afters. Discover beautiful Claddagh rings in classic styles and elaborate creations set with glimmering gemstones.


Men’s Claddagh Rings

Reveal your heart to the ones you love. Claddagh rings for men are timeless, sculpted in gold and stainless steel with gemstone accents.


All Claddagh Jewelry

Enjoy the meaning and heritage of Claddagh design in more than just rings. Discover beautiful pendants, earrings, bracelets, and charms featuring Claddagh motifs at Zales.


Related Topics

Learn more about jewelry styles, care, and tips at Zales

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