The Tradition Behind a Wedding Ring

Few rings are as steeped in tradition as wedding claddagh rings. They come with layers of meaning and an abundance of stories, so much so that when you purchase a Claddagh ring you’re also getting the history and tradition that comes with it.

If the ring is to be worn after getting married, it should be worn with the heart pointed inward, toward yours, to indicate that you’re taken. It’s also typically switched to the right hand, but to some extent these rules are malleable.

There are those who prefer to wear the ring as part of a necklace, and this is yet another twist on a timeless tradition. They can be worn as part of charm bracelets, or even as a pocket charm. These traditions are constantly expanding, and the newer traditions quickly become part of the appeal.

The story behind the invention of Claddagh rings is well-known but still worth retelling. They supposedly originated in the Irish fishing village of Claddagh, which is in Galway, and their creation dates back to the 17th century.

It was a young silversmith name Richard Joyce who is commonly credited with creating the original Claddagh ring. According to legend, Joyce was separated from the woman he loved, and he was hoping she would wait faithfully for him to return to her side.

To communicate this, the young silversmith set off small iotas of gold that he took from his master, then crafted them into a ring. Because Joyce was an indentured servant, though, he had to wait years to be reunited with his love, and he was delighted to find that she’d waited and quickly gave her the ring.

The Claddagh wedding ring also has an extensive tradition between women in families. The rings are passed from the mother to her eldest daughter, and when this happens enough times it becomes a family heirloom.

For many Irish families, the ring is the most valuable possession they owned, and it became the daughter’s sole inheritance as a result. This resulted in a multiuse situation when the Claddagh ring was used as an engagement ring as well.

The geographic history of the Claddagh wedding ring is also extensive. When the Irish diaspora began, Claddagh rings began turning up in Canada, America and parts of Europe, and they were much beloved by the Victorians during that particular era of British history.

These are all wonderful reasons to buy wedding claddagh rings for that special occasion, and the rings tend to hold their value, too. If you love tradition, history and elegant charm, it’s hard to go wrong with a Claddagh ring.