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A Primer on Men’s Rings

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black man showing rings on his handsAs we mention in four key pieces of jewelry, men have been wearing jewelry for thousands of years. The practice spans cultures, people, and tax brackets. Rings are one of the most common pieces of jewelry for men, so we thought we’d offer a primer on men’s rings. We’ll also discuss how to wear them and how they impact your image.

Different Styles of Men’s Rings

man wearing turquoise ringsHistorically, rings have served various purposes. Some have personal significance, some indicate social rank, others are purely for adornment. Being jewelry, we typically see rings made of precious metals – gold, silver, rose gold, platinum, and others. Nowadays, rings are also made of wood, rubber, and sometimes even tusks. Mixed materials are also increasingly common.

Below are a few different types of rings for men.

Wedding Band

bride puts wedding ring on husbandWedding bands date back to ancient Egypt – about 6,000 years ago. Typically made from hemp or reeds, ancient Egyptians believed that the circular shape of a ring symbolized eternity and the undying love between spouses. The West began using wedding bands as far back as ancient Greece and Rome. They were generally a “statement of intent” as it related to a dowry and fidelity.

American men didn’t generally wear weddings bands until the 20th century. Wedding bands today still serve as a symbol of the infinite and a daily reminder of commitment.

Signet Ring

At one point in world history, official documents were sealed with wax. They were identifiable by the symbol found in the wax – the seal of the signet ring of whomever had the authority to seal the document.

Now that we can sign documents electronically, signet rings are mere decoration. Often worn on the pinky, they’ll typically have the wearer’s initials engraved into them. Unlike wedding bands, which a man of any age can wear so long as he’s married, older men tend to wear signet rings the most.

Class Ring

If you’re enthusiastic about your alma mater, a class ring is a much more practical way to project that than, say, a letterman jacket. Class rings often sport engravings of the institution’s name, the graduation year, and a large gemstone.

Birthstone Ring

Though not particularly popular nowadays, birthstone rings are still a viable option for a man who wants to adorn his hands. These rings are typically made of precious metal (as opposed to rubber or wood), which provides the appropriate backdrop for a gemstone. The stone itself is of coursed based on the month in which you’re born, and each stone is a different color.

Claddagh Ring & Other Decorative Rings

young black man with ring on forefingerOne of Ireland’s contributions to menswear, claddagh rings represent friendship and loyalty. It’s common for romantic couples or good friends to wear coordinating claddagh rings, which are usually made of gold or silver.

Other decorative rings – sometimes exaggerated in size or with unorthodox designs – are great ways to lend an eye-grabbing element to your look if the situation warrants it.

How to Wear Rings

black man smiling with hands foldedMost of our clients keep their jewelry to a minimum, meaning that if he isn’t married, he likely doesn’t wear a ring at all. This is fine as a conscious choice, but it’s worth knowing how to wear rings should you ever change your mind. Below are a few tips:

  • The left ring finger is generally reserved for wedding bands. The right ring finger is a good starting point for a class ring or other decorative ring you might like to wear.
  • Pinky rings can be tricky. When you wear something tasteful, it can lend a seriousness to your look. If you go overly big or gaudy, you’ll look like the stereotypical mobster.
  • It’s perfectly acceptable to wear rings on your middle finger, forefinger, and even thumb. Just be aware that you’ll garner more attention with rings on these fingers, and if you wear more than one ring on a hand (or even a finger), you’re going for an even showier look.

Rings & Your Image

men's two-tone wedding band on left handLike any article of clothing, the rings you wear (or don’t) influence how those around you perceive you. From an image standpoint, the important (if obvious) thing to keep in mind is that rings go on your fingers. This is important because new research indicates that keeping your hands visible makes you more trustworthy. This is a serious consideration to make for those of us who do lots of business on Zoom calls.

In short, humans talk with our hands in addition to our mouths. As always, be judicious in your choice whether or not to wear rings. They will draw additional attention to your hands, which are integral to human communication. Make sure that you opt for more conservative choices in more conservative situations, and let yourself have more fun in more laid back settings.

Further Reading

We hope you found this helpful. We are open for business, so feel free to reach out at 215-310-0219 or at info@henrydavidsen.com. In the meantime, enjoy these other clothing and style posts:

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