The story of the Claddagh begins in the early 16th century in the village of Claddagh on the west coast of Ireland with a man named Richard Joyce. Soon to be wed, Joyce and his fishing boat capsized off the coast of Ireland, he was rescued by Spanish pirates and promptly sold into slavery. Forced to leave behind Ireland and the woman he loved, Richard was taken to a faraway country and sold to a goldsmith who taught him the craft of jewelry goldsmithing. Meanwhile his beloved, broken hearted and not knowing what happened Richard or if she would ever see him again, waited patiently for his return. Years passed. The details of Richard’s escape from slavery some eight years later are unclear but upon his return to the village of Claddagh he found his beloved still waiting for him and overjoyed with his return. Richard immediately set to crafting a unique ring fashioned of three symbols: The Hands signifying Friendship, Crown – Loyalty, and Heart - Love. Although the village of Claddagh no longer exists, the Claddagh continues to be Ireland’s most beloved symbol of enduring love.