You may know the love story behind the original Claddagh ring. Richard Joyce was a fisherman captured off the shores of Galway and sold into servitude to a goldsmith. As he worked toward his eventual freedom, he designed the iconic heart, hands and crown motif. When he returned to Galway, he presented the first Claddagh ring to his beloved, who had waited for him. We can easily imagine Joyce toiling away in the goldsmith’s studio – but what about that gorgeous ring you spotted online? Who made that and how?
We don’t think as much these days about how things are made. It’s easy to assume everything just rolled off a factory production line somewhere. But when you buy a Claddagh ring from Shanore, that’s not the case. Real people make our jewelry. Our skilled craftspeople take great pride in making beautiful jewelry that customers can pass from one generation to the next. How do they create all of those dazzling variations on the Claddagh theme?
From Design to Delivery
While the Claddagh is a well-established classic, we can enjoy endless variations on the theme. The details can vary. Each Claddagh ring starts with a design by one of Shanore’s artists. The details of the crown, the precise shape of the heart and the style of the hands can be reinterpreted endlessly. So first, a designer creates a sketch – or more realistically a series of sketches until one is absolutely perfect. Then the rest of the team step up to make it a reality.
First, a master ring is made by hand. This is a model used to create a mold for each component of the Claddagh ring. Jewellers cast the various pieces – the band, the heart, etc. – individually. Then they send the pieces to Dublin’s historic assay office at Dublin Castle. This office has assessed and hallmarked gold and silver items since 1637. When the components are hallmarked and returned, Shanore’s artisans assemble them. They solder the pieces together, then polish them to bring out their full beauty.
We know that jewelry, particularly Irish jewelry, is more than just pretty. The pieces we create in our Dublin studio are more than dazzling fashion accessories. They do more than add elegance to your look. The Claddagh rings and other pieces we create are powerful symbols of heritage. People give them as gifts on important personal occasions and milestones. They are birthday presents and wedding anniversary gifts. As engagement rings and wedding bands, they represent deep and true love, along with a promise of lifelong devotion and commitment.
That is why we build them to last. We know that our customers place enormous trust in us to provide them with a piece of jewelry that can express their deepest feelings. And we want that piece of jewelry to shine not just for years but for generations. That is why having real people creating each piece is so important. After all, real people are going to be giving them to their loved ones.