Icon: a New Era for Claddagh

In 1690 Richard Joyce, who had been sold into slavery in Tunis, was liberated. He returned to his native Claddagh, a fishing village in Galway and began practicing the skills he learnt during his years as a slave. This gifted silversmith fashioned the first Claddagh ring - basing his design on Celtic legends of the old Connacht Kings.

Today, two young designers have takes a fresh look at the symbols that graced those ancient adornments. They have deconstructed the elements that go to make up the promises that lie within the symbols; separated them into single, compelling entities - and, in so doing, have brought them to life again.

The Hands - denoting Friendship and all that real friendship entails - concern, warmth, understanding, regard.

The Heart, which represents Love - together with the secret language of the heart. Worn facing outward, the wearer is still searching for love; worn facing in and the person has already found it.

And finally the Crown which, just as it did in the time of the Kings of Connacht, stands for Loyalty - a loyalty that endures, just as friendship and love endure.

The Hands - denoting Friendship and all that real friendship entails - concern, warmth, understanding, regard.