Rings are a beloved article of jewelry that encircle the finger in a symbol of unity, love and strength. But did you know that each finger has its own unique symbolism and meaning? In fact, rings are the topic of great significance from ancient history to pop culture.
Whether you like it and want to put a ring on it, or simply love learning about symbology, there’s a lot to learn when it comes to ring finger meanings.
Traditionally, engagement and wedding rings are worn on the left right finger. However, this is not a universal standard as many cultures and countries think it’s just the opposite: an engagement ring should be worn on the right ring finger.
Beyond engagement rings and wedding bands, what about those nine other fingers? Where should you wear your ring and what does it mean? Here’s what you need to know about ring fingers and their meanings, symbolism, and associations.
Let’s start off with the most commonly adorned finger: the ring finger.
A variety of factors influence which ring to wear your wedding and engagement rings on. For example, depending on where you live, the cultural values of your community, history and tradition of the region; you might wear engagement rings on your right or left ring finger.
While the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Australia are among the countries that culturally and traditionally wear engagement rings on the left ring finger, there are plenty of other countries that favor the right.
Eastern European and South American countries wear engagement rings on the right ring finger along with India, Germany, Russia, Norway and Catholics.
Wondering what started the tradition of wearing a ring on the finger next to the pinky? Again, it entirely depends on your belief system and cultural values. However, ancient beliefs were that a nerve connected the ring finger to the heart.
Ultimately, wearing a ring on either the right or left ring finger symbolizes the promise of matrimony and everlasting love.
Unlike the ring fingers, wearing a ring on the middle finger is a surefire way to signify that a woman is not engaged or married. Is there more meaning to wearing a ring on your middle finger? Well, it’s no secret that flipping the middle finger has a meaning all its own, but does that mean you can’t wear a ring on it? Not at all.
In fact, the middle finger is placed front row center, making it an ideal location for an eye catching ring. Because it is the center finger, it represents balance and stability. Additionally, the middle finger is connected to the sixth planet in the Solar System, Saturn.
While the middle finger is not as symbolic as some of the other fingers, it’s still a great choice to wear a statement ring.
Your index finger, also known as first finger or pointer finger, most prominently symbolizes power.Kings and Queens used to wear elaborate rings on their index finger which visitors would kneel down and kiss as a way of paying respect. Additionally, families would emblazon their crests into the center of rings to display status and wealth. Fortunately, wearing a ring on your index finger is no longer exclusive to royalty, as this trend is popularly worn for a variety of reasons.
Aside from the beloved ring finger, the pinky ring has perhaps the most symbolism. Kissing a ring isn’t reserved to the index finger, as infamously illustrated in the riveting film, The Godfather.
Italian gangsters and mobsters would kiss the pinky ring of mob leaders to express reverence and servitude to them. But not all pinky rings are crime-laden.
Pop star Bruno Mars has another idea for what pinky rings mean. In his 2016 hit, “24K Magic,” he energetically summons listeners to “put your pinky rings up to the moon” as an expression of pride for one’s status and accomplishments.
On a more blue-collar level, pinky rings are a utilitarian symbol of certain careers in which graduates receive a special ring. For example, engineers wear an Engineer’s Ring. In Canada, engineering students don an Iron Ring, and geologists wear an Earth Ring.
Lastly, pinky rings are simply a trendy fashion statement for many. There doesn’t have to be symbolism or meaning to wearing a pinky ring, it can be as simple as enjoying the way it looks on your finger. After all, the smallest finger deserves a little eye candy.
The thumb is our largest finger, and wearing a ring on the largest finger requires the largest amount of materials. As a result, thumb rings used to be symbols of wealth and prominence because only affluent classes could afford a large enough ring to fit on the thumb.
Modern interpretations of thumb rings relate to the positive gesture of giving a thumbs up, which is why thumb rings symbolize friendship and positivity.
In Ancient Greece, thumb rings represented masculinity and power. Presently, thumb rings are symbols of uniqueness, as the placement is more novel than any of the other fingers. The selection of thumb rings is more limited, making them a rare accessory and the topic of intrigue.
Now that you know all about the various meanings and symbolism behind each of the ring fingers, you can decide which is best for you. As you’ve likely noticed, much of this symbology is ancient. While the symbolism is worth mentioning, the meanings are not rules in which you must obey.
The fun part about wearing rings is personalizing them to best suit your style. You can play around with wearing multiple rings at once, or choose to illuminate one beautiful ring on one finger. Aside from engagement rings and wedding bands, there really are no rules to wearing rings. While symbolism is interesting, it’s by no means limiting and you are free to play around with various styles to best reflect your taste.
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