The Hidden Symbolism of Rings: What Does Each Finger Mean?

by Anna Semiachko March 05, 2019

The Hidden Symbolism of Rings: What Does Each Finger Mean?

Today, men and women aren’t afraid to go their own way when it comes to choosing which fingers to wear rings on. However, there is a rich history of symbolism that surrounds this practice, stemming from cultural, religious or even astrological influences over the ages. While you may not let the finer points of ring-wearing etiquette dictate your own personal jewelry choices, it can still be really fascinating to explore the hidden symbolism behind each placement. Who knows? Maybe you’ll consider trying something new in light of these fascinating traditions!

The Thumb

In ancient Greece, only very powerful men or women would wear thumb rings as a mark of strength and dignity. In Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin and yang come into play. It’s believed that the yin (left) thumb ring represents assertiveness and the yang (right) thumb ring signifies a flexible nature. Today, thumb rings are most often associated with willpower and masculine energy, representing an assertive and bold personality. While you may not be inferring anything about your relationship status or profession, wearing thumb rings is considered a confident fashion statement.

The Index Finger

Rings on the index finger have been considered a symbol of power for thousands of years. Think of all those kings and queens of old who would have nobles kiss the rings on their left index finger. Wearing index rings is a sign of authority and leadership, the left, in particular, representing family and a popular finger for signets and heirlooms. In Jewish culture, a bride may wear a plain ring on the right index finger before marriage, once married it may be switched to the left ring finger.

Round Zig Zag Tahitian Pearl Ring - 925 White Silver RH - Cubic Zircona

The Middle Finger

This finger is also open to personal interpretation when it comes to wearing a ring. In palmistry, the middle finger is considered the “eldest” and it signifies responsibility, balance in life and beauty. In Chinese culture, it can signify the autonomy and level-headedness to make your own decisions. Generally, it’s accepted that for both left and right middle fingers, men and women can choose their own meaning for a ring on this prominent digit.

The Fourth (Ring) Finger

This is well-known in many cultures as the “ring” finger and is considered the relationship signifier, particularly on the left hand since it has a direct connection to the heart. This is why many Westerners will wear their engagement and wedding rings here, a heritage passed down from the Romans. However, in some cultures, this is switched to the right ring finger (for example, Germany, Russia, and India). On a particularly young person, a “purity” ring is sometimes worn on this finger as a commitment to abstinence until marriage.

The Little (Pinky) Finger

Wearing a ring on the smallest finger doesn't have any specific religious or cultural associations in most cultures. For men, it has certainly been romanticized by Hollywood as a symbol of the mafia and brotherhood, particularly in movies like The Godfather and TV shows like The Sopranos. It’s a popular finger for wearing particularly personal rings or signets. It’s thought that self-confident and creative people wear rings on this finger too. For women, this is a favorite finger for wearing pearls

Pearls For Any Finger

While it may be true that traditionally these were saved for the pinky, today you can wear pearls on any finger you please. The trick is finding the right pearls for you and having them placed in a band that’s comfortable for your chosen finger. At Namaka, we offer a special service to all of our customers. You can pick from more than 1000 loose pearls and the ones you love the most, we can mount for you into a custom-sized ring within an hour. This means that no matter which style of pearl ring you want, or where you want to wear it, you can buy one that suits you perfectly!

 





Anna Semiachko
Anna Semiachko

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