How to Wear a Claddagh Ring

How to Wear a Claddagh Ring to Display Your Relationship Status

Get to know how to wear a Claddagh ring, an Irish traditional jewelry that has specific meanings from dating to marriage.
Wedessence Staff
Last Updated: Sep 13, 2018
One of the most culturally significant pieces of jewelry in history is perhaps the Irish Claddagh ring. The ring's history can be traced back as far as over 300 years. The design and the way the ring is worn has specific meaning behind it.
Meaning of the Ring
The importance of the ring lies in its meanings. There have, however, been some changes in the designs but the meanings remain the same.
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The word 'Claddagh' refers to a small fishing village in Ireland with winding streets and houses with small thatched roofs. The ring was first made there, and therefore, got its name 'Claddagh Ring'
If you look at the original design of the ring, there is a heart that is held by two hands. On top of the heart, there is a crown. The initial meanings portrayed love between two hearts that were oceans apart. The heart stands for love, the hands for friendship and togetherness, and the crown signifies loyalty.
The Ring's Direction
The ring's meaning not only lies in the symbols of heart, crown, and hands, but also which hand it is worn on and the direction the crown points towards.
Left Hand
Heart facing You
Claddagh ring heart facing up
Relationship Status - Married
Upside-down Heart
Claddagh ring heart facing down
Relationship Status - Engaged
Right Hand
Heart facing You
Ring with heart facing up
Relationship Status - In a relationship
Upside-down Heart
Ring with heart facing down
Relationship Status - Single
The Origins
There are two stories that surround the origin of the ring. The first story says that the first person to have created the ring was Richard Joyce, a slave from the Claddagh village. He had the ring made for his lover.
The meaning basically revolves around the story of Richard. It is said, Richard returned to his lover in Claddagh after he was free from the bonds of slavery. There are many legends surrounding the story, with some claiming that he escaped slavery and returned a free man to Claddagh and gifted his lover the ring.
The second story is about Margret Joyce who inherited a huge amount of money from her late husband, Domingo de Rona. She remarried the Mayor of Galway Oliver Og French in 1596 and he used her money to build bridges in Connacht. The first ring was her providential reward that was dropped in her lap by an eagle.
A Claddagh ring can be worn by both men and women. So, follow the instructions properly and proclaim to the world your current relationship status.