A Claddagh pendant is a piece of Celtic jewelry that’s meaningful as well as stylish. This is because of the multiple layers of meanings and history that underlie the design of Claddagh pendants, rings, earrings and other jewelry.
The basis of the motif used in Claddagh pendants goes back to Roman times when rings showing clasped hands were worn as signs of good faith and loyalty, usually for weddings. Over the centuries, the design has evolved to the one you may see on today’s gold or silver Claddagh pendant, with the clasped hands joined by a heart and crown. This final version is usually attributed to the Irish who in fact still hand down their Claddagh Celtic wedding rings as treasured heirlooms.
If legend is true, it was William Joyce of Galway City who designed the Claddagh symbol, sometime after the Crusades. However it came to be, the symbol is now firmly associated with Irish artistry and culture.
While Claddagh pendants themselves aren’t exchanged with wedding vows, the feelings that are attached to the symbol (of Love, Trust and Friendship) make the gift of a gold Claddagh pendant quite meaningful. Whether the necklace is a gift between friends or lovers, or simply as a nod to the recipient’s Irish heritage, a Claddagh earrings set or pendant is sure to be a gift that’s deeply appreciated.
An Irish Claddagh pendant varies in greatly in appearance, with the touchstone always being the hands, heart and crown, of course. You’ll find fancy renditions in white gold with diamonds and those decorated with gemstones as well as starkly plain pendants, some sleekly modern and other quite filigreed. No matter the ornamentation, a Claddagh pendant carries with it a long and interesting history and commendable promise: The Hands are for Friendship; The Heart is for Love; And Loyalty is shown with the Crown up above.