The Claddagh ring is a beloved symbol of Ireland and today I'm delighted to introduce you to a very talented silversmith from County Cork who is creating magnificent Claddagh jewelry with a modern Irish twist.
Plus do read on. Claddagh Design is offering a generous 20% discount for Irish American Mom's readers, valid until August 31st, 2018. You'll find the code at the end of this post. But first check out these beautiful Claddagh jewelry designs.
Irish jewelry designer and silversmith Eileen Moylan of Claddagh Design has been creating Claddagh Rings for almost twenty years.
Eileen began her career as a silversmith in 2000. After graduating with an honors (distinction) degree and Masters in design, she was fortunate to secure an apprenticeship with a prestigious Cork goldsmith.
There she gained experience crafting jewelry and silverware in precious metals. Each day she developed her skills as she worked on a wide range of challenging new pieces from ornate Celtic engagement rings to highly decorative religious chalices and silverware.
As she explored various silversmith techniques, she often found her attention drawn back to the exquisite examples of historical Irish craftsmanship that had been recovered around Ireland. Many of these pieces, including the Ardagh Chalice and Tara Brooch are held in the National Museum of Ireland.
She drew inspiration from medieval Irish artifacts found in archaeological digs, exposed Ogham stone carvings chiseled by our ancestors and other ornately decorated Irish treasures including the Claddagh Ring.
Throughout her years of study, she developed her own distinctive, contemporary approach to incorporating elements of historical Irish designs from the past into her work.
In 2010, Eileen set out to create a line of jewelry that would honor Irish craftspeople of the past. Her first collection was based on the 17th century Irish Claddagh Ring.
It was fitting that Eileen began with the Claddagh ring since this was one of the first pieces of jewelry she received from her grandmother as a child. Practically every girl in Ireland has owned a Claddagh ring, most often gifted to them by parents or grandparents.
Continuing this tradition of making the Claddagh ring a family heirloom felt like the perfect focus for her new collection.
Following a very successful launch of her Claddagh collection that was recognized with a number of awards, she was inspired to open her own workshop, Claddagh Design.
Her core collection centers around the iconic Irish symbols of the heart for love, hands for friendship and crown for loyalty.
While the Claddagh ring has evolved since the 17th century, Eileen wanted to breath new life into the traditional design, while still honouring the original.
She began by deconstructing and refining the three rich symbols of love, loyalty and friendship to their purest forms.
Two hands presenting a heart and crown reflect a more modern style of Irish jewelry that is worn today.
The contemporary Claddagh jewelry she creates is made by hand, using traditional techniques not too dissimilar to how the first Claddagh ring would have been made.
Her online collection has expanded to include Celtic knot, Torc, Ogham, classic and modern Claddagh rings, pendants, bracelet and cuff links.
All are created with a particular focus on design-lead quality craftsmanship. All can be viewed online in her Claddagh Design Shop.
The Meaning of the Claddagh Ring:
The Claddagh Ring is one of the most enduring symbols of Ireland and Irish heritage. It consists of three simple elements.
The first is the heart which represents love. Second, the two hands holding the heart, signifying friendship. Thirdly, the crown that sits on the central heart, symbolizing loyalty.
Let Love and Friendship Reign:
Claddagh Rings are often worn by people of Irish ancestry, with a connection or affinity to the island of Ireland. Many Irish living abroad will wear them as reminders of where they came from.
Over the centuries, a tradition of passing a Claddagh ring down through the generations of Irish families has developed.
Many visitors to Ireland choose the Claddagh ring as a keepsake of their experiences in Ireland.
Not only is it a symbol synonymous with Ireland, but it also acts as a reminder of friendships made, love experienced, or the warm welcome received, thereby strengthening deep connections to Ireland and it’s people.
With these hands I give you my heart and crown it with my loyalty:
In recent years, a growing number of couples are choosing to wear a Claddagh engagement ring in place of a diamond band.
Claddagh wedding rings offer the wearer the opportunity to include these three fundamental sentiments required for a long and happy future together - friendship, love and loyalty.
How to wear a Claddagh Ring?
It is unclear where the ‘rules’ on how to wear a Claddagh ring originated and how they became popularized but this set of guidelines appear to have gathered momentum.II
Here are the four most commonly cited ways to wear a Claddagh ring
- On your marriage hand, when the crown is worn closest to the knuckle, the wearer is said to be engaged. When the point of the heart is worn closest to the knuckle, the wearer is thought to be married.
- On the right hand, when the crown is worn closest to the knuckle, the wearer is not in a relationship.
- When the point of the heart is worn closest to the knuckle, the wearer is in a relationship.
Find our more about Eileen's work and take a look into the Claddagh Design workshop by visiting her website.
Considering purchasing from Eileen's online store, then avail of an exclusive Irish American Mom 20% discount with free worldwide shipping.
Enter code IRISHAMERICANMOM at checkout. (Valid until 31st August, 2018).
Many thanks to Eileen for sharing her artistry with us today and for generously offering this discount to readers of Irish American Mom.
Wishing her every success with her growing business and may she continue to find inspiration for her work from Ireland's rich heritage and deeply meaningful cultural symbols.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
P.S. Disclaimer Notice: I do not have a financial relationship with Claddagh Design. The links above are not affiliate links. I team up with Irish and Irish American artists to help spread the word about their work, and to help promote ancient skills and crafts to keep our heritage alive and well. I will always disclose to you if I have an affiliate relationship with a company, artist or craftsman. Thanks as always for reading my recipes and ramblings.
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