Ring Wearing Etiquette: Rings and the Symbolism of Each Finger

Most people just think of rings as an accessory, but did you know there’s a whole bunch of etiquette to go with them? Add to that the fact each finger symbolises something different, and you’ll never see rings in the same way again.


The Thumb

In palmistry, the thumb symbolises self-assertion and willpower. Ruby is a recommended stone associated with these characteristics. Thumb rings tend to be used to express wealth, so it’s not surprising people tend to wear the big and flashy ones here! Historically, thumb rings were worn by archers to protect themselves from the snap of the bow.


Avoid wearing a ring on your thumb if your partner likes holding hands though – they’re the most inconveniently placed ones for that. In addition, make sure it’s a good quality metal and not nickle – since when you shake hands, it’ll likely come into contact with other people.




 The Forefinger

When it comes to palmistry, the forefinger symbolises self-confidence and ambition. People often associate amethyst or blue topaz with these traits. This is the original home of the signet ring – at one point in Europe, low status people couldn’t wear a ring on this figure because they weren’t considered a high enough class! In fact, kings commonly wore rings on this finger. If you have a university ring or perhaps a family crest, this is the place to wear it.


The forefinger is one of the most comfortable places to wear a ring, especially if you’re not used to it. This is because it only presses against one finger, and you tend to make use of this finger so it doesn’t rub nearly as much. Plus, it looks impressive when you gesture.


 The Middle Finger

In fortune telling, the middle finger stands for balance and the law. This is where the ‘softer’ stones should be worn – think things like rose quartz. Lots of people find wearing rings on this finger uncomfortable, though some men prefer wearing a signet ring here to their pinky as it can feel more ‘manly’.




If you’re going for a ring on this finger, make sure you’ve got a comfortable one. If it has sharp edges, or is a material your skin doesn’t like it’s not just this finger that’ll be sore, but the two next two it. Though signet rings do look great here, you may find starting with a smaller one to be better.


The ‘Ring’ Finger

Surprisingly, even in palmistry the ring finger stands for relationships and creativity. Moonstone is a common choice – ignoring, of course, the obvious diamond engagement ring for the left hand. On the left hand this is linked with marriage – for women, any ring may imply it. For men, plain bands are more likely to cause this conclusion to be drawn, so signet rings or delicate, detailed rings are fair game.


The tradition of wearing a engagement or wedding ring on this finger came about before medical science had figured out the circulatory system. It was believed that a vein ran directly between that finger and the heart. Whilst we now know that’s not accurate, it remains a very romantic notion.


The Pinky

When telling someone’s fortune, the little finger stands for intelligence and communication. Stones such as amber tend to be linked to this. In more practical, symbolic terms the pinky doesn’t have any cultural or religious signifiers – so it’s great for showing off a statement piece like a signet ring without worrying.




 Just be aware – you have to be dashing to pull this off! It was popularised by The Godfather, so you need plenty of style to match up.


Finally, how many should you wear at once? This depends on a lot of things. In very formal settings, less is always more, and you should never wear one on every finger. Generally, it’s all about balance. If you have a signet ring on your index, you can get away with a band on your pinky. However, if you have a couple of signet rings on one hand you’ll look like a stereotype. Equally, if it’s delicate rings all the way, you can probably get away with three or four fingers. Women can get away with slightly more than men, though this is partially because their rings tend to be smaller. In general, look at them as part of your outfit and see how much they match. The plainer the outfit, the more you can wear – but just make sure your hands aren’t the only focal point!



Jason Phillips wrote this article. He is a fashion blogger and loves sharing his views on latest fashion trends. He also writes for a site MyFamilySilver.com where you can buy antique silver with your family crest

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This is a guest blogpost by Jason Phillips of MyFamilySilver.com!



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