ShanOre Claddagh Ring with 10K Gold Heart[/caption] Few symbols are recognizable, more quintessentially Irish than the Claddagh. The hands clasping a crowned heart, symbolize love (the heart), loyalty (the crown), and friendship (the outstretched hands). The Claddagh originates in the fishing village of Claddagh, which is now in the center of Galway, but was once just outside of the city walls. According to Wikipedia: There are many legends about the origins of the ring, particularly concerning Richard Joyce, a silversmith from Galway circa 1700, who is said to have invented the Claddagh design as we know it. Legend has it that Joyce was captured and enslaved by Algerian Corsairs around 1675 ShanOre Men's Claddagh Ring while on a passage to the West Indies; he was sold into slavery to a Moorish goldsmith who taught him the craft. King William III sent an ambassador to Algeria to demand the release of any and all British subjects who were enslaved in that country, which at the time would have included Richard Joyce. After fourteen years, Joyce was released and returned to Galway and brought along with him the ring he had fashioned while in captivity: what we've come to know as the Claddagh. He gave the ring to his sweetheart, married, and became a goldsmith with "considerable success". His initials are in one of the earliest surviving Claddagh rings but there are three other rings also made around that time, bearing the mark of goldsmith Thomas Meade. ShanOre Birthstone Claddagh Rings make an excellent Birthday gift[/caption] Today, Claddagh Rings are worn throughout the world by the Irish Keith Jack Claddagh Diamond Ring[/caption] and people of Irish decent and can have many meanings. It's a common practice for parents to give their daughters Claddagh rings as birthday or first communion gifts, and friends or sisters sometimes exchange Claddaghs as a token of eternal friendship and loyalty. Of course, Claddaghs are also often worn as engagement rings or wedding bands and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more fitting token of true love. Knowing how to properly wear a Claddagh can get confusing and you might hear mixed information on which finger you should wear the ring. Let us help clear things up with these simple, Claddagh traditions. -Worn on the right hand, with the heart facing out, indicates that the wearer is single. -Worn on the right hand, with the heart facing in, the wearer's heart is taken. -Worn on the left hand, with the heart facing out, indicates that the wearer in engaged. -Worn on the left hand, with the heart facing in, shows that the wearer is married.