We have just acquired this gold Claddagh Ring made by Richard Joyce of Galway circa 1700 which is about the time of the origin of the Irish Claddagh ring.
Claddagh was a fishing village on the Western edge of Galway city in Ireland.
Richard Joyce was very young when he embarked on a voyage to the West Indies but was captured by a pirate and sold in Algiers as a slave to a goldsmith. He worked there as the goldsmith’s apprentice from about 1676 to 1690 when he was released on the orders of William III. The Goldsmith for whom he was working was so impressed by his work that he offered his daughters hand in marriage to him as well as half his property to try and get him to stay but Joyce refused the offer and returned to Galway. There he carried on business as a highly successful goldsmith until his death.
It has been suggested that Richard Joyce was the first goldsmith to make what is now the famous Irish Claddagh ring, but no-one knows for sure if that is true.
We very rarely come across original Irish Claddagh rings and if Joyce had decided to stay in Algiers, who knows, the Irish Claddagh Ring may never have been invented.
Please visit this page to view the selection of claddagh rings we have in stock at present: Claddagh Rings of Sale