Celtic & Claddagh Jewelry

Written by Antigone Arthur

The History of Symbolism, Legend & Lore

History of Claddagh Jewelry

Claddagh jewelry is modeled afterrepparttar claddagh ring, which first surfaced in Ireland more than 400 years ago. The claddagh ring has a rich history; if you aren't familiar already,repparttar 145971 claddagh ring is shaped to resemble two hands grasping a heart with a crown on top. Legend & lore has several explanations forrepparttar 145972 creation of this unique and popular pattern.

One legend is that a man named Richard Joyce while on a voyage torepparttar 145973 Mediterranean was captured by Armenian pirates, and spend years in captivity as a result. While held captive he learnedrepparttar 145974 skills necessary to become an artificer of precious metals. Joyce eventually was returned to his homeland, despite protests from his owner, who had wished he would marry his daughter. Joyce pursued a career in crafting gold and silver jewelry.

Many myths abound as to how Joyce came up withrepparttar 145975 symbolism he used in his claddagh jewelry, butrepparttar 145976 true origins are not known.

Yet another legend follows a similar story; it tellsrepparttar 145977 tale of Richard, a young man who was kidnapped by Spanish pirates one day while fishing with other men in his family. Richard and his family were sold into slavery offrepparttar 145978 North Coast of Africa. Just before being captured Richard had met his true love, and lived in fear that he would never see her again. Richard longed for his beloved, and each day to remember her he stole a minute amount of gold fromrepparttar 145979 slave masters shop where he worked. After years had passed he was able to create a ring withrepparttar 145980 gold he gathered. Richard's hope was that one day, if freed, he could presentrepparttar 145981 day to his love. One day Richard was able to return to Ireland, and found his beloved awaiting him. He offered herrepparttar 145982 claddagh ring for her devotion and patience.

The second story regardingrepparttar 145983 origin of this style ring and other claddagh jewelry is much more highly regarded, because among other things claddagh jewelry has come to symbolize love and devotion.

Claddagh jewelry has become very popular in Ireland overrepparttar 145984 centuries, and many ofrepparttar 145985 pieces fashioned after this style are often kept as heirlooms among family members. Atrepparttar 145986 time of Joyce there was a Claddagh village, which remained as a self contained community until about 70 years ago. Jewelry fashioned inrepparttar 145987 claddagh style is considered part of Irish legend & lore, and remains an important part of Irish history. Today claddagh jewelry is worn as a symbol of Irish heritage, friendship, unity and love among people in all cultures.

Tradition has it that if a claddagh ring is worn onrepparttar 145988 right hand, withrepparttar 145989 crown turned inwardrepparttar 145990 wearer is still searching for love; ifrepparttar 145991 crown is worn facing outward love is inrepparttar 145992 air. For those that wearrepparttar 145993 ring onrepparttar 145994 left of course, a person is said to be spoken for.

Celtic Jewelry Traditions

Celtic jewelry, like claddagh jewelry is rich in history and tradition. The term "Celtic" typically refers to people who are descendants of different provinces of western Europe, who lived duringrepparttar 145995 time aroundrepparttar 145996 birth of Christ. Most Celtic history, legend & lore have been passed down from generation to generation via word of mouth, or through artwork and symbolism. Much celtic jewelry displays symbolism that represents life, death,repparttar 145997 change of seasons, love and human spirit. Celtic jewelry is often embedded with many symbols that have been passed down from as early asrepparttar 145998 8th century B.C.

Sterling Silver - The "Other" Precious Metal

Written by Antigone Arthur

Learn More About This Affordable Alternative to Expensive Jewelry

History of Sterling Silver

Silver jewelry has been a staple inrepparttar lives of mankind since humans discoveredrepparttar 145970 versatility of silver andrepparttar 145971 many uses it has. Silver has been used for functional and aesthetic purposes. In times of old, silver was used to create flatware and armor to protect soldiers on their way into battle. Silver jewelry was later created and used by Phoenician and Egyptian citizens desiring attractive and convenient pieces to add to their jewelry collections. Over time silver has been used to create flatware, decorative art, coins, dental fillings, jewelry and more.

Silver is produced in many different areas, thoughrepparttar 145972 highest concentrations of silver output come from Mexico and Peru.

One ofrepparttar 145973 reasons sterling silver jewelry is so popular is its affordability and versatility. Sterling silver can be crafted into many different jewelry items including charms, rings and chains. Silver jewelry is often mistaken for other more precious metals including white gold and platinum.

Common Types of Silver

There are many different types of silver that can be used to create sterling silver jewelry. Silver is considered one ofrepparttar 145974 precious metals along with its cousins gold, platinum and titanium.

Fine Silver - this is silver in its most natural state, when it is considered 99% pure. Often this type of silver is too soft to create ordinary products and is almost liquid in form. Usually silver has to be mixed with other metal alloys in order to create jewelry and household wear.

Sterling Silver - sterling is a mixture of fine silver and other metal alloys. The silver is considered about 92.5% pure. Sterling is usually combined with approximately 7.5% copper to makerepparttar 145975 jewelry more long lasting and durable. Sterling silver jewelry is usually marked onrepparttar 145976 inside with a "925", indicative of its purity. Sterling silver jewelry made of justrepparttar 145977 right combination of silver and metal allows a jeweler to create a long lasting, durable piece that is shiny and brilliant enough to be mistaken for more expensive precious metals. Sterling silver is more likely to tarnish over time because ofrepparttar 145978 presence of copper; however this relatively mild side effect can be minimized through proper care. By consistently cleaning your silver jewelry you'll never even notice anything other than a beautiful shine and luster.

Silver Plating - plating occurs when a base metal such as nickel is covered with a layer of pure silver. This is often one ofrepparttar 145979 most durable forms of silver, and is usually much less expensive than sterling silver becauserepparttar 145980 percentage of pure silver inrepparttar 145981 jewelry is quite low. Most base metals need a re-coat of pure silver every few years to maintain a shiny outer coat and to preventrepparttar 145982 base metal from peaking throughrepparttar 145983 coating.

Nickel Silver - nickel silver is a combination of nickel, copper and zinc that is not actually silver, but resembles silver. It is an inexpensive and popular item that can be used to create look-alike jewelry.

Vermeil - this form of silver was popular inrepparttar 145984 eighteenth century. Silver is plated in gold, providing a polished and expensive looking custom piece of jewelry.

Caring for Silver Jewelry

Sterling silver jewelry does have a tendency to scratch more often than other metals, and may tarnish over time. Proper care can ensure however thatrepparttar 145985 jewelry remains shiny and well kept. The following tips will ensure that your sterling silver lasts a long time and maintains its luster and original appearance:

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