Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Devine design: Modern take on Ireland's Claddagh ring by Tatty Devine

A blog post by jewellery designers Tatty Devine comparing their original handmade pieces with very similar items being sold by chain store Claire's Accessories caused a social media storm last week.

Photos of Tatty Devine's quirky pieces contrasted with purchases from Claire's were shared with thousands on Twitter. As Claire's Accessories became a trending topic, the retailer stayed silent, with some claiming that critical comments calling for a boycott were deleted from Claire's Facebook page. Tatty Devine called the lawyers in and froze comments about Claire's made on their blog, while Claire's later released a short statement to say that they were "aware of the blog post... and is currently investigating these comments".

The story drew me (and countless others) to Tatty Devine's website for the first time and I was hugely enamoured by what the English art jewellery brand has to offer by way of tongue-in-cheek statement pieces at not unreasonable prices. One design that caught my eye was a modern take on the classic Claddagh ring, which many an Irish girl has worn down through the years.

CLADD' IN GOLD: The large Claddagh necklace by London-based Tatty Devine (above and below) costs £48 (approx. €57) and is a contemporary twist on the old Irish design. Made from matt gold and red perspex, it is studded with Swarovski crystals. Images: Tatty Devine

Originating from the Galway fishing village that bears its name, the Claddagh ring has been used a token of love since the late 17th century. According to its Wikipedia entry, the design is said to represent the qualities of love (the heart), friendship (the hands) and loyalty (the crown). Indeed, the way you wore the ring relayed information about your love life:

  1. When worn on the right ring finger with the heart pointing to the fingertip, the wearer is free of any attachment.
  2. On the same finger but the other way round, with the heart pointing away from the fingertip, it suggests someone is romantically involved.
  3. When the ring is on the left hand wedding ring finger, it means the person is married or engaged.

As Tatty Devine points out, the Claddagh design is much prettier than a Facebook relationship status update!

HEART MAKER: The classic Claddagh ring design. Image: Wikipedia
RING IN THE CHANGES: Tatty Devine's Claddagh ring (£24, approx. €28.50) sees the design placed upright on the finger. Image: Tatty Devine

Tatty Devine has a range of Claddagh pieces, which also includes a medium (£27, approx. €32) and smaller version (£21, approx. €25) of the necklace, along with pretty earrings (£39, approx. €46.50).

I'm sure the original designers of the fáinne Chladaigh would approve of Tatty Devine's stunning update.

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