With all the jewelry available today it can be quite difficult to keep up with the various trends and new styles that come along. Jewelry is always changing, sometimes even going back in time with the trends. Rings are one thing that has always been a staple piece of jewelry since the very beginning.
Did you know that there are many different styles and types of rings available? I bet you thought yeah, maybe like five or ten different rings, well friends, I am going to explain all of the different variations of rings available.
I love rings, they are the one piece of jewelry I have always admired. They have many different meanings to them and having a heart the size of mine anything with a sentimental meaning behind it instantly draws me to it.
Rings easier to wear, you don’t have to coordinate them with anything, they can be super simple or next level flashy and not mess up your look. Wear just a couple or stack them high, however you wear them is up to you. There is no right or wrong way to wear a ring (unless it is a wedding, engagement or other symbolistic rings).
Per my usual, a history lesson to start.
The history of a ring
Where did this tiny band of metal develop and who thought of it? Most would say the Ancient Egyptians due to their development of jewelry in the very beginning. However, rings, more specifically wedding rings, are traced back to ancient Rome and Greece. The exchanging of rings during a wedding ceremony derived from Europe in the Middle Ages as part of their religion.
The original ring dated roughly 3000 years ago was braided rings made from hemp or reeds, not metal as we see them today. The hemp or reed was pretty fragile and did not last very long so they were eventually replaced with leather, bone or ivory.
Why is it put on the left hand? This is a really neat fact I just learned! The Romans and the Greeks placed rings on the fourth finger because they believed it contained the vena amoris…the vein of love! That just sounds like it came from Greece or Rome, which happens to be my favorite destinations to visit! I would live in Greece if I could, even though they are broke.
The types of rings an individual wears can say a lot about them their tastes, sense of style, beliefs, marital status, and relationship status. But, one should never ever judge a book by its cover, you never really know about a person until you have a chat with them.
Ready for some really lovie dovie stuff? The band itself symbolized that the eternal love and bond between two lovers had no beginning or end and the center opening is a door to the future with one another, to this day that symbolism still stands.
Ok, enough rambling on about history, even though it is really interesting! Let’s get to learning about the rings and finger meanings.
Types of rings
A promise ring is worn on the left ring finger typically and is given to a partner as a symbol of their love and a promise of commitment, it is often given as a first item given early in a relationship. It does not carry any legal commitment which is why it is so popular in the young crowd. It can say many things like “I promise to always love you”, “I promise to only love you and no one else” or “I promise to one day wed you”, all really cute and meaningful things.
Mostly a female partner is gifted a promise ring, however, males can and do wear them too. Sometimes the rings can be gifted together and each partner can wear one, kind of like a commitment from both sides.
The engagement ring is similar to the promise ring, but more as a next-level ring in a relationship. An engagement ring is given when one partner in the relationship wants to marry the other. The typical gifting of the ring is that the giver bows on one knee and says something either beautiful or cheesy and follows with the reveling of the ring.
Often the engagement ring is simple, one diamond either alone in a setting or surrounded by other diamonds. That normalcy has changed over the last few years and I have seen more and more rings that match the personality of the receiver. This is something I love, it means that the giver had to really think about the ring and it means so much more to the person getting it because it truly came from the heart.
Wedding rings or bands are a symbol of love and devotion for all of the eternity between a couple. The band itself is circular and the meaning behind that is that the couple’s love for each other will never end.
The bridal set is obvious being that it is for the bride’s wedding set. Typically the set consists of a wedding band and an engagement ring. Combined they symbolize the completion of the marriage. The set should always be worn together.
Eternity rings are bands wrapped with identically cut diamonds or sometimes gems and are usually worn by females however, some men wear them as well. The eternity ring is a symbol of eternal love, that can be gifted at any time during a relationship, but it is usually given on a significant anniversary.
True love waits purity ring
True love waits is the name of the ring and what it means. The purity ring is a symbol of abstinence until marriage. It is normally given to a son or daughter by the parent as a promise to hold any sexual relationships until after marriage. It does not have to be worn on any specific finger.
Moms do so much, it is only right that they are gifted with a ring to show how much we appreciate them right? Well, the mother’s ring is exactly that. The mother’s ring is usually a band with the birthstones of their children. Sometimes they are even more personalized with adding the names of their children.
A signet ring is a very simple ring. The signet is a basic band made with one metal normally and sometimes has the wearers initials on it. It is considered a “gentlemens ring” that has been around for centuries. Signet was used in the beginning to seal documents.
It would be engraved with the family crest in reverse so that when pressed in wax or clay it would revel the family crest. The crest would be unique and that made it very difficult to recreate or forge.
The mood ring is a thermogenic reacting ring sometimes made with elements like liquid crystal, that when placed on your finger it changes color that is said to define your mood. Your body temperature can vary based on your mood and that is what creates the mood rings Most new mood rings come with a chart to tell you what the ring thinks your mood is.
A traditional Irish ring meaning love, loyalty and friendship. The claddagh ring consists of three elements, two hands, and a crowned heart. The two hands represent friendship, the heart represents love and the crown represents loyalty.
While the Claddagh can be worn on any finger, the direction of the heart has a different meaning. If you are single, wear on the right hand with the heart facing away from your body. If you are in a relationship you wear it on the right hand facing towards your body. If you are engaged it is to be worn on the left hand, ring finger with the heart facing towards you. Married you’ll wear on the left hand, ring finger facing away.
The band is a basic ring that is typically one metal but can most definitely but comprised of more than one, I have seen them with three or four different metals. The band is normally used for a wedding ring, but they are so simple anyone can wear them just for fashion, it is when the ring is placed on the left ring finger that it symbols marriage.
The anniversary ring or band is a ring that symbolizes a milestone in the marriage. This milestone is typically the five, ten, fifteen or twenty years of marriage anniversary but can be given at any time.
These rings can be any type of ring but the most popular by milestone are:
Fifth anniversary – Sapphire, symbolizing truth and loyalty
Tenth anniversary – Diamond, signifying strength and usually stacked with the wedding set.
Fifteenth anniversary – Ruby, representing love and passion, even after fifteen years!
Twentieth anniversary – Emerald, rare and stunning just like the last twenty years you’ve shared.
The birthstone ring is made in many ways and has many different variations. It is a ring that has the gem or stone that is your birthstone. Often you will find these in a group of other gems or stones but the birthstone is always dominant and stands out.
The cluster ring is a ring that has a cluster of gems, stones or even metals all clustered together in a way that is both stunning and unique. Cluster rings are fun, they do not really have any specific pattern to them. I like to think that the creator just drops a mix of materials on a tray and says BOOM that’s what we’re going with.
Antique rings are rings that were made over 100 years ago. These are the coolest rings in my opinion. Each one is handmade and all are made with the most hardworking hands to date. Antique rings are unique due to being handmade. If you find one of these keep them, they can bee worth some big money.
Check out this article I wrote on costume jewelry, it explains if it is worth money or not and how you can make some big money on reselling it.
Fashion or Costume
Possibly the funnest rings, fashion and costume rings are really affordable and available everywhere. You can find them in every shape, color, size, and style, you can stack them or go all out with the bling with them without breaking your bank account.
Spinners are not just rings, they are a means of meditation for some. They are kind of like a fidget spinner that you can wear. The spinner ring is made of two parts, one that is stationary the other can move around the other in kind of a gliding movement. They are really neat, and useful when you have anxiety or ADHD.
A modern spin on the traditional engagement ring, the contemporary ring is more simple but still elegant. It has a simple band with a single diamond in the center.
Cocktail rings are very similar to a fashion or costume ring but with more jazz and a little more on the pricey side. Some cocktail rings are made with real gold or silver, either plated or full metal, have fake stones but classier ones like cubic zirconia or pearls and are worn on occasions like weddings, formal events, and fancy night outs.
The gimmel or gimmal ring is a ring with two or three rings or links that fit together to form one complete ring, its like rings inside of a ring. In the 16th and 17th century they were often used as engagement rings. The word gimmel comes from the Latin gemellus.
I saved the most interesting ring for last, the puzzle ring. The puzzle ring is made up several interconnected rings, it is a modern twist on the gimmel ring. Also known as a hamel or Turkish wedding ring.
The ring was given assembled and if the wife were to remove it for any reason it would disassemble and she would not be able to assemble it again. This was a means of catching them in the act of committing adultery.
A nugget ring is typically known as a mens ring, usually made from one metal that is chunky, rough and rugged. They are meant to look like a rough and rugged golden nugget that was just mined from the depths of the earth, just a bit more shiny.
The posy rings are really amazing, very delicate I would say, the rings are typically a simple band that says so much. The bands are engraved with short sayings or poems from a significant other on their wedding day. The word Posy comes from the French word “poesie” or poem.
Ring meanings on fingers
I bet you did not know that wearing a ring on other fingers then your ring finger meant anything! I didn’t until very recently, as in just the other day when I began researching this post.
Each finger has had a meaning at one point or another throughout history and some of those meanings still hold true today. So maybe we should think a little more the next time we put a ring on about placement of said ring.
Well start with the left hand:
Pinky – There are two symbolisms for the left pinky finger, one being marital status in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Though that has dissipated it is still kind cool. The second is Mafia connections, the signet pinky ring was/is notorious in big films like The Sopranos.
Fourth Finger – The most recognized and popular finger for rings, the “ring finger” is known for Marital Status, Betrothal, and Romance and has been since the very beginning. Did you know that the ring finger can also symbolize chastity or purity? Younger people have started wearing these rings to signify abstinence.
The Middle Left – technically the middle left finger doesn’t stand for anything but because the finger itself has a meaning…you know exactly what I mean. So if you think about it a ring on the middle finger has been said to stand for power and responsibility.
Left Pointer – is a good finger for an important ring, like a family heirloom or ring that was gifted to you.
The TWO thumbs, left and right – no statement, other than a fashion statement! So wear your favorite fashionable ring.
Right index – in some religions the right index finger is where the wedding band sits, after the ceremony the female moves it to the left, sometimes they do leave it on the right. These are usually a plain gold band.
Right middle – same a s left, can signify power and responsibility.
Right Fourth Finger – some cultures wear their wedding bands and engagement rings on the right ring finger rather than the left, Germany and Russia are two that do this. It is pretty interesting to see how different cultures and religion symbolize their marital status.
Right Pinky – I thought this one was rather interesting, a ring worn on your right pinky finger signifies professional status. For some professions after you graduate you can wear a simple band made of iron or other metals to make the statement that you finished and are now ready for the profession.
So the bottom line I think is that most fingers have a meaning when a ring is placed and those that
Rings seem to be an essential piece to the jewelry and fashion industry today, with so many styles and types it is hard to pick which to wear or purchase. If I had it my way I would wear them all! Learning about all the different rings is a fun way to feed a jewelry addition because now you can say ” I need this ring because it means that”!
Have fun with your ring shopping, don’t forget to treat yourself to something nice and meaningful, or your spouse now that you have an idea of what you can do for them with a ring.
Be sure to check out some other nifty functional craft ideas through our other posts here on Craft-ILY as well as checking out some videos on DIY and How To’s over on YouTube. Look for “Crafting Unedited” to see!