Which Finger Do You Wear Your Rings On?

by Ella Harrison
August 2, 2019 / Design Trends,Jewellery Buying Guide


Who decided the fourth finger from your thumb is the ring finger? Why were the other digits deemed unworthy?

Fashion and social customs practised today are the outcome of identifying a need and purpose many moons ago. It’s interesting to look back over the course of history and identify how beliefs have developed into trends and gradually, natural instinct. Just like the way coffee is required before anyone speaks to you in the morning. In Australia and many other Western Civilisations, we wear our engagement and wedding rings on the fourth finger of our left hand to symbolise our love for one another. However, in parts of Europe and Asia, wedding rings are often worn on the right-hand ring finger. This got us thinking, do we ever consider what rings worn on alternative fingers may represent? Well, go make that cup of coffee and strap yourself in. We’re about to tell you all the ins and outs of ring etiquette! You may find you’ve subconsciously worn your rings precisely how they were practically intended.

Pinky Swear

Signet Rings are commonly adorned on the pinky finger and they’re more than just a fashion trend. It is a practice dating back thousands of years back which symbolised family status. Typically, it bore a family crest or monogram on its distinguishing flat top. For men in business and politics, their ring was more than an adornment, it served a purpose. The crest or monogram was engraved in reverse so it could be used as a seal for signing legal documents and held the equivalent status of a drivers licence. Although signet rings have lost their primary purpose today, they have not been forgotten or left in the 20th century. They have staked their claim as a popular jewellery item worn by men and women around the world today.

Put a Ring On It

Wearing a ring on the fourth finger from the thumb typically represents betrothal to another. Rings symbolising a commitment have been worn on this finger since Ancient Egypt, as they believed the vein of life travels directly from this finger to your heart. Having said that, if you’re a strong-independent-woman-who-needs-no-man, you may feel inclined to treat yourself to a dazzling cocktail ring for your right ring finger. This tradition hails from America, dating back to the prohibition period, it was women’s time to shine for the independent, highly capable ladies they are. Using their own hard-earned cash, women wore big statement rings, now commonly known as a cocktail ring, on their right-hand ring finger. The ring often featured a large and beautiful gemstone complimented by an unapologetically decadent design. These rings were worn on the right hand to ensure they were not to be mistaken for an engagement or wedding band. They were instead purchased to celebrate milestones including birthdays, career achievement or sometimes a divorce! This iconic gesture still resonates with women today, in 2003, De Beers launched its campaign, ‘Raise Your Right Hand’ for all the goal-kicking ladies out there.

Flipping the Bird

If your middle finger could be a country, it’d be Switzerland (in the world of ring jewellery etiquette only), completely neutral. Due to its central and protected location, the middle finger is associated with balance. In palmistry, it is considered the eldest and embodies responsibility. In Chinese culture, according to the Yin theory, a ring on the middle finger signifies the individual has the ability and clarity to distinguish right from wrong.

Refer To The Index

What better way to tell the world, loud and proud you’re a confident individual with leadership qualities, walking with purpose, perfect posture and direct eye contact? Forget that, stay it with your fingers. Your fellow citizens will know you’re a self-assured member of society by wearing a ring on your index finger. Make sure you wear it on the index finger of your active hand, otherwise forget about any possibility of radiating confidence.

Thumbs Up

Since the beginning of time, thumb rings have possessed symbolic and practical significance rather than simply a fashion statement. #TBT to Ancient Greece, the thumb ring upheld qualities of strength and power and could only be worn by highly ranked men and women. Just a continent away in Asia, thumb rings have been worn since the Neolithic period to guard the archer’s thumb during archery, usually made from leather or bone. Fast forward to 2019, wearing a ring on your thumb is also an indication of homosexuals’ relationship status. If a ring is worn on the left thumb, they’re in a relationship and if worn on the right, they’re single and ready to mingle.

Today, men and women walk to the beat of their own drum when it comes to choosing which finger their new ring goes on. There are no rules as to how and where you wear your rings. However, it’s always interesting to see how we’ve remained to stay true to our roots without even realising!

Do you wear your rings differently? Let us know in the comments below! 

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