First crafted by Master Goldsmith Richard Joyce in 1689, it is named after Claddagh, the fishing village he lived in at the time, which overlooks Galway Bay.
The ring belongs to a class of rings called “Fede” or “Faith rings”, which date from Roman times and were popular in the Middle Ages throughout Europe. Whereas “Fede” rings have only two clasped hands, symbolizing faith, trust, or “plighted troth”, Claddagh rings have two hands clasping a heart, symbolizing love, surmounted by a crown, symbolizing loyalty.
The ring worn on the right hand with the heart turned outward indicates that your heart is yet unoccupied. Worn on the right hand with the heart turned inward indicates that love is being considered. Worn on the left hand the with the heart turned inward shows everyone that your heart is truly spoken for.