Claddagh is actually a town in Co. Galway on the west coast of Ireland. This town had a strong tradition in producing rings of distinctive type, containing three elements:
The Hands - Symbolising Friendship
The Heart - Symbolising Love
The Crown - Symbolising Loyality
These days, Claddagh Rings can be worn as marks of friendship, but traditionally they would also be used as wedding rings.
Yes! The direction is very important when it comes to a Claddagh Ring. Depending on how you wear it, it shows the different meaning you want to convey to others.
1. On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips, the wearer is single and may be looking for love. (This is most commonly the case when a young woman has first received the ring.)
2. On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist, the wearer is in a relationship, or their heart has been "captured".
3. On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips, the wearer is engaged.
4. On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist, the wearer is married.
Claddagh Rings are worn by people who believe in the three virtues of love, loyalty and friendship. It is a sign of commitment to these values and a declaration of their importance. When given to others, it symbolises the desire to share these values with the recipient and is one of the most powerful expressions of someones feelings.
It is also used to express the relationship status of the wearer, so that others can see at a glance.