The History Of The Claddagh Ring

By Julie O'Shaughnessy
on August 13, 2018

the history of the claddagh ring blog post

The origins of the Claddagh ring are blurred by history. However, the most likely account (and the one that does not involve mythology of any sort) is the story of Richard Joyce. Joyce was a native of Galway and left his home to pursue work overseas in the 17th century. While at sea, his vessel was attacked by pirates, and Joyce was taken as a slave.

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How to Wear a Claddagh Ring

By Julie O'Shaughnessy
on April 08, 2018

How to Wear a Claddagh Ring

Traditionally, Claddagh rings were worn in Ireland to show marital status – a tradition that still continues today. The hand on which the ring is worn, as well as the direction that the heart faces, will tell observers if the person is open to love, in love, or married.  There are a few different ways how to wear a Claddagh ring, depending on what you are trying to tell people.

 

How to wear a Claddagh ring on right hand with heart facing away from you.

Worn on right hand with heart facing away from you
When worn in this manner (heart closest to the fingernail), it means that a person is willing to consider love or a relationship. The person is showing the world that their heart is open to love, as it has not yet been won over. Claddagh rings can be worn by both the male and female.

 

How to wear a Claddagh ring on right left with heart facing towards you.
Worn on right hand with heart facing towards you

Once a person has entered into a relationship, the Claddagh ring remains on the right hand, but is turned so that the heart now faces the wearer. This is a statement that your heart is now taken, and no longer open to others. The Claddagh ring makes a perfect engagement ring.

This method of wearing is also used by those who are simply not interested in starting a relationship at the present time.

 

How to wear a Claddagh ring on right hand with heart facing towards you.
Worn on left hand with heart facing towards you

Once married, the ring is then placed on the other hand and worn with the heart facing the wearer. This shows that two hearts have now been joined together forever. In this manner, the Claddagh ring can be worn as an Irish wedding ring. Placing the Claddagh ring on the left hand is often a part of an Irish wedding ceremony for both the man and the woman.


Misspellings of the word Claddagh
Although very familiar to some, the term Claddagh is not the easiest to spell – particularly when the only experience might be the spoken word.  Even internet search engines do not always know what it is that we mean!  We often see very simple misspellings such as cladah , cladagh, or claddah, or claddaugh (very common), clauddagh or cladaugh. Sometimes, the misspellings are a little more inventive and we notice people searching for cladder, clatter, claudia or clauda rings. The important thing about the Claddagh ring however, is not how you spell it.  It is remembering the symbolism of Love, Loyalty and Friendship that the ring represents, and the heritage that it symbolizes.

Blue Topaz - December’s Icy Birthstone

By Julie O'Shaughnessy
on December 07, 2017

Blue Topaz - December’s Icy Birthstone

With the winter season comes ice and snow. The beautiful golds and muted browns of fall are gone now, and in their place, the blue of the sky is reflected on frozen ponds. This icy color is reminiscent of this month’s birthstone, the blue topaz.

 

Celtic Knot Birthstone Pendant - December


The name ‘Topaz’ comes from Topazios, which is the name given by the ancient Greeks to St. John’s Island in the Red Sea. Yellow gems were mined on this island but in all likelihood, they were not topaz. However, the name soon became applied to all yellow gems. Topaz is mentioned in the King James Bible as well as in ancient Greek texts, but it’s not at all certain that these texts actually referred to true topaz or to other yellow gems.

Topaz, in its pure state, is actually colorless. Like so many other birthstones, it’s the presence of impurities in the stone that give it color and life. Topaz ranges from a brownish orange to a yellowish color, with the most sought-after color being imperial topaz, which is a vibrant orange with undertones of pink.

Although blue topaz has become increasingly available, it’s rarely found in nature and is usually produced by radiation treatment of common colorless topaz. A light blue variety of topaz is found in Texas, and although it is not commercially mined, the blue topaz became an official gemstone of Texas in 1969. Utah has also honored blue topaz as its state gemstone.

Most topaz comes from South America, with Brazil the largest producer. The stone is also mined in Nigeria, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Australia, Germany, and Mexico. Topaz is also found in the United States, mostly in New Hampshire, Utah, and California.

Russia was a leading producer in the 19th century and a pinkish orange topaz was mined in the country’s Ural Mountains. This topaz was given the name ‘Imperial topaz’ in honor of the Russian czar and not surprisingly, only members of the royal household were allowed to possess it. In 1740 what was originally thought to be the largest diamond ever found, at 1,640 carats, was found in Brazil and eventually set in the Portuguese crown. The stone is now believed to be, not a diamond, but a colorless topaz.

Topaz is relatively hard compared to other gemstones, with only diamonds, corundum, and chrysoberyl being harder. Although it’s a hard stone, there is a peculiarity in its cleavage that makes it subject to chipping or cracking if it is not cut correctly.

Topaz has a long association with healing powers. African shamans employed it in their rituals, using it for healing. The Hindus believed topaz to be sacred and thought wearing a topaz pendant would bring both longevity as well as wisdom to the wearer. In the European Renaissance, many people thought topaz could calm anger and break spells, cure madness and dispel nightmares. Another popular association, most likely because of the stone’s golden color, was to wealth, with many people believing it had the mystical power to attract gold. Blue topaz is a stone that evokes peacefulness as it soothes, aligns and heals.

Besides being the December birthstone, topaz is given as a gift on the fourth and nineteenth marriage anniversaries, as the stone has often been seen as a symbol of love and affection. Nothing will cheer her this winter like a beautiful sterling silver Irish Claddagh ring with a blue topaz stone set as the heart. Matched with these gorgeous Claddagh earrings with simulated blue topaz stones and this Claddagh pendant with a simulated blue topaz stone set as the heart, this is a gift that will melt the thickest winter ice!

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