Friendship Rings – Jewelry Brings us Closer
There is no better way to let the world know you are part of a dynamic duo than with a friendship ring.
If you’re like me, you probably found yourself wondering “where did friendship rings originate?”
The Symbolism of the Claddagh Ring
One of the earliest friendship rings is the claddagh ring. The two hands represent friendship, while the heart and crown stand for love and loyalty, respectively.
It All Started with the Irish
Legend has it that Richard Joyce, a silversmith from Galway during the 1700s, was captured and sold into slavery around 1675 while on a passage to the West Indies. As it happened, he became the slave of a Moorish goldsmith and was taught the craft.
King William III sent an ambassador to Algeria to demand the release of all British prisoners, which included Richard Joyce.
After fourteen years, Joyce was returned to Galway and brought along with him the ring he had fashioned while in captivity: what we’ve come to know as the Claddagh. He gave the ring to his sweetheart, married her, and became a goldsmith with “considerable success”.
His initials are in one of the earliest surviving Claddagh rings.
Early on the claddagh ring was given to signify friendship. Evidently if the heart faced one way it was a friendship ring and if the heart faced another it signified romantic love.
Like Two Puzzle Pieces
This friendship ring is really two interlocking zig zag rings. The theme of one design broken into two so that both friends can wear a half of the ring is a popular theme.
This zig zag design is an excellent example of this design theme.
Rings by Emmy Mac Kenzie, of Jewelry by Emmy.
“Always Sisters. Forever Friends”
Another very popular trend in friendship jewelry and loving gifts in general is adding readable words to it.
In these friendship rings the message is visible to anyone and immediately communicates that it is about friendship.
Continuing the words on band theme we have this example.
Adding humor to friendship rings follows the popularity of envelope-pushing word messages on tee shirts.
Friendship Love to Sherlock Fans
I’m a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, and I watch both Elementary and Sherlock.
I think two friends who help each other figure out the mysteries in their lives, from boyfriends, to how to do well in their jobs, to how to talk to their parents, should totally rock these Holmes/ Watson rings.
My question is who gets to be Holmes and who gets to be Watson?
When I was young my friend gave me a mizpah ring. For me that still is the truest friendship ring. The word Mizpah means ‘May The Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from another.’
At the time I received this ring I didn’t know what being Jewish was. I just knew Maureen was a wonderful friend and her gift made me really happy.
I am now happily married to a Jewish man. I wish I was still in contact with Maureen. We’d have so much to talk about. When I think of friendship rings, the mizpah ring is the top of the list in my heart.
I hope you enjoyed this little visit down friendship lane!
I have good memories of my friendship necklace! I think the movie Annie made them popular with young girls in the 80’s. It was like the puzzle rings, but it was a heart shaped pendant that was zig zagged in the middle into two pieces that fit together. Thanks for the memories!
Thanks for the memories of Annie. It seems that in every generation there is some kind of jewelry design that encapsulates the joy of a good friend.
I never got one from a friend, but I did get a claddagh ring for myself….have always loved them.
That’s cool that you got yourself a claddagh ring! We need to be good friends to ourselves.
Your Personal Jeweler,
What a coincidence that you posted this. I recently noticed that my friend was wearing the Claddagh ring, and I was curious what it was for. After reading this, it makes a lot of sense. Last year she studied abroad in Ireland, which is where it originated. And now I have the answer! Thanks for this, Calla!
I’m so glad to have accidentally answered your question about the claddagh ring. Between friendship and love the claddagh ring has a long history of meaningful symbolism. I hope to travel in Ireland one day myself.
Your Personal Jeweler,