The history of Claddagh jewelry dates back over 400 years to the small fishing village of Claddagh. Richard Joyce, a young Galway man, kidnapped by pirates and sold as a slave in Africa, learned the fine art of goldsmithing in his captivity. Upon his return to Ireland and his true love, he created the beautiful Claddagh symbol. The heart symbolizes love, the crown signifies loyalty and the hands mean friendship. Traditionally those married wear the ring on the left hand with the heart pointing in toward the heart and unmarried persons wear it on the right hand. Claddagh jewelry makes great gift ideas for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, friendship or any occasion.