They have captured the imagination and passion of humans, for thousands of years.
Rings can be powerful, full of mystical, magical, secretive, symbolic, enigmatic, representational, natural and supernatural meaning, both in life and in literature. Their symbolism is universal, representing concepts as diverse as unity of spirit, to subjugation to a master, to an astronomical marvel of nature. That the symbols of rings surround us in all cultures and disciplines, beliefs and phenomena for the entirety of the history of lore and written literature, reveals their influence over our imagination.
The favorite jewelry gift, not surprisingly, has been the ring.
References to rings, as articles of jewelry date back more than 6000 years. Rings have been used culturally to signify friendship, educational status, class and social status, endearment and love, power over others, and long lasting commitment whether political or religious. Rings are an emblem of power, love, constancy, devotion and divinity.
It was during the Medieval period that rings became popular as an article of jewelry. All classes of people wore rings from the poorest to the richest. Rings were typically made of iron, copper, silver, and gold. The material of the ring worn usually indicated the class of the wearer. It wasn’t until around the 14th century that faceted jewels appeared in rings.
Some cultures have rings typically associated with them. Cultures such as Native Americans use silver and turquoise in their ring jewelry. Early Christians used the Greek symbol, the Icthus, which resembles a fish, and that is still the case with contemporary Christians.
One of the best known rings is the Irish Claddagh that also has an intriguing story attached to it. Richard Joyce was among the crew of a fishing boat which was captured. He was from the village of Claddagh, Ireland, and he was to have been married that very same week. During his slavery Richard Joyce was put to the trade of Goldsmithing. Through the years of capture neither had married, and during his enslavement Richard Joyce created a ring for his love with a heart for love, a crown for loyalty, and two hands.
After Joyce escaped capture, he returned to the village of Claddagh and was overjoyed to see his love again and to know she had never married. She always knew he would return to her. He gave her the ring that has become known as the Claddagh ring. If the Claddagh is worn on the right hand with the crown inward (toward the wrist) the heart is not yet committed. If it is worn on the right hand with the crown turned outward the wearer is committed to someone. Finally if it is worn on the left hand with the crown outward it means “Let our love and friendship reign forever, never to be separated.”
Whatever the reason for your interest in a ring, Michael takes a great deal of pleasure in designing and executing a ring with your interest at heart.
Here is an example of a ring he recently made for a client. It is one of his classic designs, and emphasizes the brilliance of the beautiful center stone.
4.5 ct Diamond in 18 Kt white gold with cascading diamonds down the side