Men’s Rings – An Introduction
Men have worn rings on their fingers for centuries. From Viking warriors to Egyptian kings, Tudor princes to ancient knights, wearing over-sized and intricate rings was a wonderful way for men from our recent past to show off their wealth and their fashion credentials.
In recent years, men’s decorative jewellery has had a massive fashion resurgence and now necklaces, bracelets, and rings are all in vogue once more. Ring wearing etiquette for men can be tricky, but luckily we’re here to help. Here is our comprehensive list of the best rings for men, and how to wear them:
The wedding band is the most popular style when it comes to men’s rings. They’re worn as a symbol of commitment and romance, as well as a fashion statement. Whilst it is perceived to be a traditional man’s ring, the male wedding band is a modern invention. Men didn’t begin to wear wedding bands until the onset of the Second World War: before that, only wives wore wedding rings as a symbol of patriarchy, and that her children were legitimate. However during the War, many men chose to wear wedding bands to remind them of what they were fighting for when they were overseas, and the tradition caught on and grew on both sides of the pond from then on.
Traditionally the wedding band is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. If you want to wear a simple band ring but aren’t married then you should shift this to the fourth finger of the right hand, to avoid any confusion.
The signet ring is the original men’s ring. It was first worn by the ancient Egyptians, who would each wear a uniquely identifiable signet and use it to stamp their documents. In Europe signet rings were engraved with a back to front family crest that then imprinted the right way round when used to seal letters and other important documents: nobles and royals used this as a way to prove that those documents came from them.
In some families, signet rings are still handed down through the generations as heirlooms, but now you can buy them in all manner of modern designs. Chunkier than a band ring, with a wide flat face to accommodate intricate engraving, the signet ring is traditional worn on either the middle finger or the pinkie finger. Prince Charles wears his signet ring on his pinkie, stacked above his wedding band, which is considered to be a royal tradition.
The crest ring is very similar to the signet ring. It features the family crest of those aristocratic European families who had them designed, and is a symbol of wealth, style and class. Crest rings are generally passed on from generation to generation, making these men’s rings important and significant family heirlooms. A crest ring is a representation of your family heritage, and is an important piece: these are often hand engraved, making them valuable and rare.
This ring is perfect for popping on your pinkie finger; the pinkie is a decorative finger that you don’t often use in your day to day life, meaning that it won’t get in your way if you’re doing things with your hands. This is also a great finger to choose because you are less likely to cause damage to your ring whilst you’re wearing it.
If you really want to make a statement and stand out from the crowd, then when it comes to men’s rings, the cocktail ring is the perfect choice. Cocktail rings are big, bold and often feature intricate patterns and colourful stones. Flamboyant celebrities, such as Johnny Depp, are well-known for their love of cocktail rings, choosing to wear an abundance of them across both hands.
If you’re new to wearing men’s rings then we would suggest not wearing more than one ring per hand: the cocktail ring is the perfect choice for this, giving your outfit an eye-catching focal point. Remember that rings are incredibly personal, so taking the time to choose one that you really love is important. Because they often incorporate colour, pattern and gemstones, this is especially true of choosing a cocktail ring: take your time and don’t settle for second best.
Sovereign rings are oversized men’s rings that feature a sovereign coin at their heart: these are coins that are produced by the Royal Mint in England and prized for their quality, rarity, and high gold content. The first sovereign was produced in 1489 for King Henry VII, and they’ve grown in popularity ever since. They look great, and they typically maintain their value too.
We suggest choosing the pointer or index finger if you want to wear a sovereign ring. There is a natural instinct to keep the pointer figure clear, since this is the finger that we use the most, but in fact this is the perfect finger to choose if you really want to make a statement. Hundreds of years ago, this was the most common finger to wear a ring on, and is a great choice for a sovereign if you are also choosing a wear a wedding band or other discrete ring on your ring finger.
Fashion rings are those that are worn simply because they look great, rather than any other purpose. The modern fashion for wearing men’s rings takes a ‘the more the merrier’ approach. Wearing rings on both hands, on several fingers, and even wearing more than one ring stacked on the same finger, creates an appealing symmetry.
When shopping for fashion rings, it’s important to choose ones made of genuine silver or gold rather than low end plated versions because they won’t leave marks on your fingers and will also help you to avoid damage and tarnishing to your new favourite jewellery. The difference between cheap jewellery pieces and high-end versions can be really noticeable, so it’s worth investing your money in a quality piece that you’ll continue to love for wear after wear.
Want to know more about accessories? Click here to see our guide to men’s bracelets.