rings for men

In the second half of the 20th century the rich, famous and trailblazers of fashion rejected the status quo and started wearing rings on any finger | Source: Pinterest

Men’s Rings: Who Wears What and How to Wear Them

We see them on the fingers of Viking invaders and regency royals in our favourite movies and tv shows, but a recent resurgence in men’s rings is being spearheaded by some of today’s biggest names in fashion.

A simple wedding band and maybe a luxury watch is a common look for the modern male, but glistening rings are starting to re-establish themselves as a sign of wealth and prestige.

Men historically wore them to denote status and allegiance and this was the case for centuries until the Victorian era when they often came to be associated with definitions of sexuality.

An increase in the occurrence of influential men wearing rings is due in part to proponents such as Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, who adorned his models with metallic rings – Harry Styles has on numerous occasions rocked bold rings on red carpet appearances wearing jewel-encrusted jewellery on his fingers.

Men's rings
Harry Styles is often pictured wearing multiple rings | Source: Goodnessfind

The 1990s saw hip hop culture embrace men’s jewellery like oversized gold chains and enormous gem-set pinky rings, and it seems the trend is experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

Hip hop music videos, particularly from the southern style and the early naughties New York bling era, were not complete without the often male performer showing off multiple glistening diamond signet rings set in 18k gold or silver. Snoop Dogg, Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. were often pictured wearing daring jewellery on various fingers.

Snoop Dogg and Tupac, 1996
Snoop Dogg and Tupac in 1996 | Source: Vogue

Viking Raiders and Tudor Nobles both wore rings that served spiritual and functional purposes as well as being a sign of allegiance to an organisation or individual. Different styles were created to adorn the different fingers and each had its own individual purpose; a signet ring to represent your heritage or a pinky ring with a professional crest to sign a wax seal.

Just like any other accessory, there is a time and a place for the various styles and the setting in which you choose to wear a ring is as important as the design itself. Generally, the more practical and pared-back designs are worn during the day and larger, more ostentatious ones are reserved for the evening, but these rules are of course fluid and open to interpretation.

It’s all about the wearer being comfortable enough to allow the piece of jewellery to create the right look.

The perfect accompaniment to an elegant watch, rings are versatile enough to add a sense of understated refinement or become an over-the-top statement of wealth. For many men, the only ring they will ever wear is their wedding band, but even these “once plain” tokens of loyalty are undergoing a transformation.

The quality of material and design of wedding rings is changing and there is now a huge range of options. Although these rings usually stick to the plain circular band style, they can feature as many diamonds and precious gemstones as an engagement ring.

Worn with confidence, the right ring can enhance your look and help to establish your personal style. The potential for expression of your unique character is vast. Traditional jewellery can even indicate what you value and who you are loyal to, but which finger will you wear it on and what styles suit which fingers?

The Index Ring

Traditionally used to wear the signet ring with the family crest, this finger represents a prominent declaration of loyalty to one’s family. The wearing of rings on this finger was traditionally a sign of nobility and in some cultures, it was forbidden to wear a ring on your index finger unless you were a member of the aristocracy.

A great place to start if you have never worn a ring as an accessory as they will not get in the way of a wedding band, a simple design will help you to get used to your new look slowly and give you the confidence to move on to more showy jewellery on other fingers.

But with statement jewellery so fashionable, the index finger is also a great way to wear a ring that shows off your character and gives your selfies that bling x-factor. Buy a diamond encrusted family crest and wear it on a fun night out with friends while showing off your heritage.

Or go all out and wear a stunning precious stone with an extravagant setting design on this finger. Like any accessory, there are no set rules to how to wear your jewellery, more traditions and cultural practices. Although knowledge of such practices can help inform your decision about what to wear and where to wear a piece of jewellery, don’t stress if you find out there is some significance to your selection, embrace it.

Johnny Depp wears a ring on the index finger often, but wears one in combination with close fingers; rings can be a powerful indicator of personal preferences and the wearer’s willingness (or unwillingness) to conform to societal norms.

Men's rings
Johnny Depp Source: Vogue

The Middle Ring

Middle rings carry far less cultural significance and tradition than the other fingers and they are better suited to being bulkier due to this finger’s girth. The middle finger is a great place to wear a ring if you want to make a statement but can interfere easily with a wedding ring or index ring, so are usually worn on their own.

If you decide to buy a ring set with gemstones it is a good idea, as with any accessory, to colour match with other parts of your outfit. Jewel tones are rising in popularity and a ruby red or emerald green tie and pocket handkerchief combination are perfectly complemented by a corresponding gemstone.

Worn on the middle finger, a gemstone would feature prominently in a formal outfit and give the wearer an air of confident sophistication when attending a nighttime function in a more natural setting, like a garden.

The benefit of having no association with any particular tradition or custom means the middle finger is one of the most versatile locations for a man to wear a ring and this finger is a perfect place to take your jewellery game to the next level.

Source: Kobelli

The Wedding Ring

Before modern medical science was established, people thought there was a direct vein from the ring finger to your heart, called the vena amoris or the “vein of love”. While it wasn’t popular to wear a wedding ring on this finger until midway through the 20th century, now it is generally accepted the husband and wife wear their wedding ring on the left hand.

In some cultures, men buy themselves a luxurious engagement ring to match their fiancé’s, enjoying a token of love and showing their partner their fidelity and commitment. In others, men receive a plainer wedding band on their wedding day, often made of gold and with some different styles, but always along the same lines in terms of design and shape.

The design of these rings is quite uniform, they do not often feature a diamond protruding from the band but when they do include diamonds, they are usually pave set within the band itself. You can choose which material you would like when selecting your wedding ring and popular options include gold, white gold, silver, platinum and titanium.

Most are gold but the more durable (and more expensive) platinum is a good choice if you are looking for a powerful symbol of the steadfastness of your relationship.

As with any jewellery, there are examples of incredibly expensive and indulgent wedding rings for men, even though they are generally expected not to be overly garish. Influencers and celebrities like David Beckham and Justin Bieber choose to wear a relatively plain wedding band out of respect for tradition.

The Pinky Ring

The pinky finger was often reserved for a wax seal and served a functional purpose as well as a decorative one for centuries, it is also an excellent alternative place to show off a family crest and is today used interchangeably with the index finger.

It is a versatile place to wear a men’s ring, different designs can change your overall look and style owning to the size of the finger. As the pinky is so small, you can create an elegant and sophisticated look with a minimalist ring, subtly alluding to the glamour of men’s jewellery without overdoing it, in this case, more would be less.

But if you want something more noticeable, the size of the finger would mean a louder, more outgoing style will turn heads and attract attention, if taken in your stride and confidently acknowledged, this attention can be turned into admiration.

It is a very personal decision and one that must reflect your mood and personal style, rings are an expression of personality and how your hands are accessorised can say a lot about your identity and character.

Pinky rings are seen today more as a status symbol and musicians, particularly rappers such as Jay Z, are partial to wearing large, ostentatious rings on the pinky finger.

Rapper/entrepreneur Jay Z Source: Jetmag

The Thumb Ring

Wearing a ring on the thumb is a great way to accessorise if you are already wearing other rings due to the distance of the thumb from the rest of the fingers.

Although still relatively rare these days thumb rings were worn by the upper echelons of ancient Greek society to symbolise wealth and status, they would often wear more than one on each thumb.

Thumb rings now symbolise freedom and have been interpreted over the last few centuries as useful in guarding against evil spirits, spells, misfortunes, and sickness. Heavy metal musicians and fans make up a large part of thumb ring wearers these days but there have been many big name celebrities spotted wearing rings on their thumbs, such as Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans.

Right Hand or Left Hand?

Wearing a ring on the right hand is generally considered to be associated with character and beliefs in the western world, mostly to do with the fact that there is a majority of right-handed people. It is a practical decision based on protecting the piece of jewellery from damage.

Of course, if you are left handed, you could swap hands, it’s all to do with your personality and most find that people are intrigued by unusual jewellery choices, the ability of jewellery to make such an impact is why more men are starting to accessorise.

People often wear rings on their non-dominant hand to simply show off a family heirloom, it can indicate sexual preference and is a way of wearing jewellery that can signal independence and freedom. According to chabad.org, Jewish marriage ceremonies use the right index finger for the ring and its position may be changed to the left ring finger after the ceremony or it could remain on the right hand.

Frank Sinatra | Source: Pinterest

The right ring finger is used for wedding rings in many other countries such as Germany, Russia and India and the right pinky finger is sometimes seen as the proper place to wear a professional ring. Graduates in engineering and ecology often wear a simple band made of iron, silver, stainless steel, or another metal on their right pinky.

Glamira Ring Absolute Strength

11 princess-cut diamonds arranged elegantly in two rows with a raised central diamond available in VS and VVS diamonds mean this would make an impressive statement ring able to be worn with any colour suit. The setting is available in palladium, platinum, gold, white gold and silver.

Glamira Ring Absolute Strength, A$5,624 | Source: Glamira

Tiffany’s True Wide Ring

This 5.5-millimetre wide ring is made with 18 karats white gold and features an intricate tessellated letter T pattern. The angles and shapes make it glisten in the sun where the quality of design and construction is evident. This piece would look good on either hand and could be worn on the right ring finger to symbolise independence and freedom.

Men's rings
Tiffany’s True Wide Ring, A$2,950 | Source: Tiffany’s

The Dark Knight Black Zirconium

Made of rare and incredibly strong black zirconium set with 0.5 carats of black diamonds this ring would look good worn alone on the right middle finger as a way of breaking up a colourful outfit. Such bold use of unusual materials is sure to enhance an intriguing profile.

The Dark Knight Black Zirconium, A$5,468 | Source: Manly Bands

Louis Vuitton Monogram Signet Ring

Embossed with the distinctive seal of the house of Louis Vuitton, this bold piece of jewellery would be best worn on the left index or pinky finger and would look good on its own in a formal setting like a dinner party but would look equally at home accompanying a luxury watch or other rings.

Louis Vuitton Monogram Signet Ring, A$625 | Source: Louis Vuitton

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