The Symbolism of Rings

For over 6,000 years, people across the globe have worn rings. In most cases they were worn on fingers, but in some cultures they were also worn on toes. These rings were usually worn for a reason. They were symbolic and meant something to the wearer or society.

For thousands of years the ring was a symbol of eternity. The giving or wearing of a ring was often symbolic of a commitment being made between the giver and the wearer. Rings were also believed to have magical properties. Many felt that the strength and continuity of a ring gave the wearer special qualities and protected them from evil.

The Symbolism of Modern Rings

Today, we mainly wear rings simply because they look pretty or to finish off our outfits. Although, we still wear rings for other reasons.

Engagement rings and wedding rings are worn to tell others that we are betrothed or married. College rings or club rings are worn to tell the world that we are part of a particular group.

In fact we are continually creating new rings that are symbolic and tell others something about the wearer. A recent example of this is the purity ring which first became popular in 1990s America and are worn by girls and women who have taken a pledge of sexual abstinence.

How Modern Designers are Using Symbolism

Today’s jewellery designers are once again tapping into people’s desire to wear jewellery that means something as well as looking good. In the modern world people want to stand out; they want to be noticed and to tell people about themselves. The recent trend towards tattoos is evidence of this.

As a result, many modern designer rings incorporate a layer of symbolism into them. This can be by the use of cultural symbols such as the love knot or by using a special combination of stones, whose letters represent a message. For example, using a diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, epidote, sapphire and turquoise to make a ring to represent the word dearest. Designers are resurrecting old traditions as well as inventing new ways to add layers of meaning to the jewellery they design and make.

For a beautiful selection of top quality, designer rings made by 30 of the UK’s best designers visit the Astley Clarke website.