Pronounced “clah-dah”, claddagh rings are named after a small fishing village in Ireland from where the tradition of the rings first began, over 300 years ago. Although a few romanticized theories exist for who exactly started the tradition, they are just theories. What is a little more certain is the distinctive design elements of the ring: the heart, the hands, and the crown. They each convey a meaning, a beautiful one at that. The heart symbolizes love, of course; the hands correspond to friendship, and the crown conveys loyalty. When the three symbols are put together, the message as a whole could read Let Friendship and Love Reign Forever.
Exactly how one wears their claddagh ring sends yet another message according to Irish traditions. (You may, of course, wear a claddagh ring without being restricted to these customs.) If the wearer has their ring on the right hand, facing away from the body, they are indicating that they are not in a serious relationship and that their heart is open to a new love. If the ring faces the wearer's body, the message is that their heart is captured; they’re in a romantic relationship. Once the ring is worn on the left hand, it signifies that the wearer is either engaged (ring facing away from the body) or married (ring facing inward).
Over twenty claddagh rings are available, including some for men and a 4-piece puzzle claddagh ring. All of these make heartwarming gifts for someone you know, or a special treat for yourself!
Information source: http://www.claddaghring.com/articles.asp?id=122