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What Wearing Rings on Different Fingers Mean

Wearing jewelry can make different statements, all of which can be unique depending on the person wearing it. For some, jewelry is both an expression of personal style and also a depiction of the shapes, colors and styles that make them feel good. For others, different types of rings and certain pieces of jewelry can hold memories, meanings or specific values. Whether it’s a necklace handed down through generations within the same family or a ring that symbolizes eternal love, there are so many ways to wear jewelry as a symbol of something or someone who is important to you. 

modern gents stackable rings

Did you know that the specific placement of a piece of jewelry can have different meanings as well? This is especially true for rings in particular. It’s not uncommon for people to wear rings on a chain as part of a necklace, which typically means that the ring once belonged to someone very special and that the wearer wishes to keep their ring close to their heart — both physically and figuratively. Other common ways to show symbolism through rings is to wear one intentionally on a specific hand and finger. There are a number of different finger meanings when it comes to wearing a ring on any digit, so it’s important to know the difference before wearing one as a way to outwardly symbolize an idea or belief. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be well-versed in palmistry: Here’s what you need to know about the symbolism behind wearing rings on different fingers

ring symbolism vs style

Symbolism vs. Style

Before you start to think too much about wearing multiple rings on different fingers just for fun, it’s important to keep in mind that wearing rings as a form of symbolism is totally a personal choice! While some more popular forms of ring symbolism (like wearing a diamond ring on your left ring finger) might send an inevitable message to those around you, it’s your personal choice when it comes to wearing your rings on different fingers. Feel free to express yourself, set trends and stack your rings high! 

Which Hand Does the Wedding Ring Go on?

Rule of Thumb

The thumb is a famous finger for a few reasons. It’s part of a widely known hand sign that is universally recognized as a positive symbol, better known as a thumbs up. Other than this, the thumb is the focal point of sayings like having a “green thumb” or noting something as a “rule of thumb.” Despite all that fame and recognition, there is surprisingly not a lot of meaning behind wearing a thumb ring, and most of it is left up to the interpretation of the wearer

However, some consider a thumb ring to be a symbol of strength, individuality and independence. Wearing a ring on your left or right thumb could relate to the strength of the finger itself and might mean that you wish to tap into or accentuate that personal strength. Alternatively, you might consider wearing a thumb ring as a reminder of the power within you. Since many people wear large statement rings as thumb rings, wearing one is a symbol that is noticeable to yourself and others throughout the day. 

In addition to values of freedom, individuality and strength, a thumb ring can also show the importance of certain relationships. Some wear thumb rings as a tangible reminder of those who are closest to them or even as a symbol of the strength within their marriage or intimate relationships. While men most commonly wear thumb rings, they can be worn by anyone and are worn both as symbolic jewelry and for fashion purposes without underlying meaning. 

reading the index finger

Reading the Index Finger

Otherwise known as the pointer finger, the index finger does a lot of work. Whether it’s typing, pointing, poking or acting as part of a hand signal, this finger is important for a lot of reasons. Having said that, there’s no question as to why wearing a ring on this finger has a couple of important underlying meanings, both on the individual and spiritual levels. 

In some cultures, wearing a ring on the index finger symbolizes marriage and commitment to another. The history of Jewish culture includes a tradition where the bride would typically wear her wedding ring on her right index finger during the wedding ceremony with the option to wear it on her left index finger after the ceremony. In this case, the rings would have been a simple gold ring that was carefully chosen and presented during the ceremony. Because Western culture normalizes wearing a wedding ring on the left ring finger, some couples within the Jewish community have adopted this modern wedding ring placement. In addition to this, not all Jewish couples choose to wear simple gold wedding rings, either, and have adopted even the most recent wedding ring trends like colored gemstone rings, fun stackable wedding bands and more. 

In addition to marriage ties, index finger rings are known to have both personal and stylistic symbolism. When it comes to a specific person, wearing a ring on the index finger can symbolize boldness, ambition, power and personal expression. The index finger is notorious for being used and therefore is easily seen by the wearer and others, so some also like to wear a flashy cocktail ring or statement ring on either the left or right index finger

ava forever mia rose gold rings

Middle Finger Ring Significance

The middle finger, also known as the third finger, is a popular finger for ring wearers. The middle finger itself represents balance due to its placement on the hand and is said to be a direct connection to the heart. For these reasons, the middle finger is important to many. 

Because the middle finger is the longest and also in the center of the hand, it is common for people to wear rings on this finger as a symbol of power or even dominance. It can be a personal reminder of motivation and confidence or an outward symbol of power to others. In addition to this interpretation, wearing a ring on your middle finger could also symbolize a spiritual process or personal journey. In this case, the ring might be a reminder of your future goals, development or how far you have come in a journey already. 

Overall, the right and left middle fingers are known as “safe” fingers because there is no connection to marriage or other specific ideals when wearing a ring on this finger. You can wear a ring on this finger if it means something to you personally, but you can also do so as a style choice without needing to symbolize anything at all. 

your left ring finger

The Wedding Finger 

Perhaps the most famous finger for rings, the ring finger is certainly named appropriately. The ring finger is the fourth finger over and sits right next to the pinky finger. Out of all 10 fingers, the left ring finger has the most widely known symbolism when it comes to wearing rings and can be the carrier of some of the most beautiful rings in the world. The marital status of the ring finger does help it to be the most famous of all the fingers, which is no surprise to anyone.

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The left ring finger is best known for its involvement in the marriage process. This iconic digit is known as the finger that displays a men’s wedding band and a woman’s engagement ring. Though some cultures continue to use the right hand for this purpose, it is widely known that most people choose to wear their wedding rings on the ring finger of their left hand. Wearing a wedding ring is far from the first step in this process, though. 

stackable rings on hand

Promise rings are sometimes worn as a symbol of commitment once a relationship between two people becomes serious. A promise ring is a symbol of dedicated commitment between two people, even though they are not yet ready to move on to marriage. Aptly named, a promise ring represents a promise of future engagement and is traditionally worn on the left ring finger for this reason, though some people choose to wear their promise rings on the right ring finger so as not to confuse the promise ring with an engagement ring. There does seem to be a trend towards this switch as more people choose to pre-date an engagement ring with a promise ring. While there’s no requirement that you wear your promise ring on your right hand (or wear any ring at all, really), it’s an increasingly common pragmatic choice.

A promise ring does not have any specific physical aspects, though some give a promise ring that includes the birthstone of the wearer to make it more personal. Additionally, some purchase affordable engagement rings as promise rings for added sentimental look and feel. 

Whether you wear a promise ring or a wedding ring on your left ring finger, the symbolism remains similar for the most part. Wearing a ring on your left ring finger represents dedication, steadfast love and unending commitment to another person. 

Contrary to the left ring finger, the right ring finger does not hold such a deep meaning when it comes to rings. As explained above, some cultures do still recognize it as the wedding ring finger. Aside from this, it is not uncommon for promise ring or purity ring wearers to don these rings on the right ring finger. The right ring finger is additionally known as a creative and versatile finger for ring wearing. Statement rings worn on this finger balance out a wedding ring on the left hand and are commonly worn as an expression of personal style. 

Due to the versatility of meaning behind wearing a ring on the right ring finger, many people leave it up to individual interpretation. This is a great finger on which to wear a religious ring, class ring or any other ring you wear frequently.

Pinky Power

The smallest (and mightiest) finger has been saved for last, of course. The pinky finger might look tiny and cute at first glance, but don’t forget that this little piggy is a vital part of any grasp and the highest symbol of class and good manners when raised. In other words, the pinky finger deserves some bling, too!

Actually, you might be surprised to know that both the right and left pinky fingers hold an impressive amount of symbolism when encompassed by a ring. Most simply, wearing a ring on these fingers symbolizes strength, power and achievement. Though Hollywood has made the pinky ring famous for being synonymous with mafia ties and involvement in organized crime, this is definitely not always the case. Many wear their class rings or family crest rings on the pinky as a sign of pride or achievement. It stands out differently on the pinky as opposed to the ring finger or middle finger

There was also a time where the pinky finger was where you wore a signet ring. Technically, it’s still where you wear a signet ring, but we aren’t sure anyone is still doing that. Signet rings, if you’re unfamiliar and/or curious, were originally worn in Ancient Egypt by Pharaohs and other important religious leaders. 

The idea of the signet ring was that it sealed documents in wax. The ring would be unique and a way to prove the authenticity of the document held inside the sealed envelope. While Pharaohs eventually stopped ruling Egypt, signet rings held on for much longer as symbols of status. Politicians and power players in the world of business wore them up until the 20th century or so. While technically they’re still around, they’re niche popular at best and no longer hold any legal weight.

In addition to these meanings, you can also wear a pinky ring as a sign of creativity or artistry. In fact, many people within various creative industries wear a pinky ring — either to express their individual creativity or as a nod to their craft in general. Whether or not you consider yourself a creative person, it’s absolutely okay for anyone to wear a pinky ring. Wear one that means something to you or one that simply catches your eye! 

choose your own meaning

Choose Your Own Meaning 

After reading this, you might wonder who gets to decide the meanings behind wearing a ring on a certain finger. While time and tradition have ruled in some cases (like the wedding ring finger), the truth is that it’s most important to choose a meaning that resonates with you, the ring-wearer. If you have a special meaning you want to impart onto your ring or the finger you wear it on, great. If you want to just follow the tradition and be a part of that, more power to you. Really, just do what’s going to make the most sense for you and for your relationship long-term.

This goes for the placement of the ring as well as the style. For instance, if you are absolutely in love with a gorgeous and affordable halo ring that is marketed as an engagement ring, you can absolutely wear it on your right ring finger — whether it’s a symbol of achieving a big life goal or just because it represents your style well. 

You can also decide what your rings mean to you regardless of tradition. Wear your ring on your toe if you feel like it. That might not be super ideal for daily life but, hey, it’s your ring. Wear it how you like.

Choose something that is special and meaningful to you on a deep level or something that is fun, lighthearted and will make you smile each time you wear it. 

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