Legend has it that shortly before he was due to be married, a fisherman Richard Joyce was captured at sea by pirates and sold into slavery in Algeria.
He became the property of a rich Moorish goldsmith, who sensing his potential began to train him in his craft. In time Richard Joyce became a fully proficient master craftsman and with thoughts of the girl he had left behind close to his heart, he fashioned the first Claddagh Ring. The heart symbolising love, the pair of hands representing friendship and the crown for loyalty and fidelity.
In 1698 after an agreement with King George III to release all his subjects held in slavery, Richard Joyce found himself once more a free man.
His master, who had by now grown very fond of him offered his only daughter in marriage and half his wealth, if he would remain in Algiers, but Joyce declined and returned home to Galway.
There he found that his sweetheart had waited for his return, and presenting her with the Claddagh Ring they were married.