The Meaning Behind the Rings on Your Fingers
Lester Fangonilo - December 25, 2021
We’ve all heard about the language of flowers wherein the specific placement of blossoms and even the types of flowers and colors used to convey specific messages. Likewise, we all know about how astrologers have assigned a gemstone to each sign of the zodiac and how these have certain qualities meant to amplify the good points of an individual’s qualities or capabilities.
But did you know that even the way you wear your rings - and, more specifically, on which finger you wear them - also says a lot about you and your personality?
In this feature, we talk about the meaning behind the fingers on which you wear your rings. While the ring finger on either the left or right hand is the natural choice, many people may also choose to wear their rings on their other digits, often in the name of comfort or as a style statement of their own.
Wedding Band on the Left Ring Finger
In western tradition, one’s wedding ring is almost always worn on the ring finger of the left hand. This is because it was a common belief in the Middle Ages that the vein within the finger was directly attached to one’s heart. In which case, wearing the ring on the left finger meant that the hearts of the married couple were now irrevocably linked together.
For the same reason (and particularly because it is the prelude to marriage), women’s engagement rings are also slipped onto the left ring finger. In this case, however, the position of the ring refers to the promise of long-term commitment. The wedding ring worn above the engagement ring serves as proof that the promise has been fulfilled and the commitment honored by both parties.
Interestingly, left-handed people would eventually transfer the ring to their right ring finger - not as an act of rebellion against their vows, of course, but more because having a ring on the hand you use for writing and other tasks can get in the way sometimes.
Signet Ring on the Right Ring Finger
The French phrase droit de seigneur got a seriously bad rap over the centuries as it salaciously means the right of a landlord or nobleman to take the virginity of brides marrying within their demesnes on their wedding nights. However, the origin of the phrase refers more to the ruling party’s authority over the realm as opposed to their rights over individuals. For this reason, rulers who wear signet rings tend to wear them on the right hand as opposed to the left.
The practice actually dates back to ancient times when a person’s right hand was considered the one used for blessing, while raising one’s left (also known as the “sinister” or sinistral side) meant you were putting someone under a curse. It is also the basis for the custom of kissing the ring on a sovereign’s or a religious prelate’s hand to ask for their blessing.
While not every rule has retained the custom of wearing a signet on the ring finger of their right hand as a symbol of their power and authority, the practice is still being followed among high-ranking clergymen of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches to denote their specific ranks within the religious hierarchy.
The Meaning of Rings Worn on Other Fingers
Now that we have pretty much presented the meaning of rings worn on the ring fingers of the left and right hands, let’s get into the meanings of rings worn on other fingers on your hand. Take note that many of these meanings are taken from principles behind palmistry as well as traditional beliefs from Greco-Roman, Indian, and Oriental cultures.
Wearing a Ring on the Thumb
In palmistry, the thumb symbolizes the self: specifically one's will, self-worth, and self-assertion. To wear a ring on the thumb of one's dominant hand is a sign that the one wearing the ring does not make decisions lightly; every factor behind a decision is taken seriously and its bearing on the wearer's plans or ambitions are given due consideration.
The same, however, cannot be said for wearing the ring on the thumb of one's passive or non-dominant hand. To wear your ring on that digit means that you are indecisive, that you tend to hesitate when asked to make a decision on the fly. It may also mean that the wearer is going through some serious conflict within themselves.
For those who have a habit of wearing bejeweled rings on their thumbs, jewelers recommend red stones such as carnelians, garnets, and rubies for a striking effect.
Wearing a Ring on the Index or Pointer Finger
It's the finger we use to refer to objects and people - and it often is the digit we use when we accuse people of wrongdoing or when we demand answers or action from others. That's not surprising because the Greeks and Romans believed that the index finger was blessed by no less than Zeus / Jupiter himself.
That said, wearing your ring on the pointer finger of your dominant hand means that you are confident and have many qualities that make you capable of leadership. On the other hand (literally), wearing the ring on your non-dominant index means you're happy enough to let other people take the reins. Rings on the index finger would look amazing with amethyst, lapis lazuli, or topaz settings.
Wearing a Ring on the Middle Finger
Giving people the finger is one of the crudest non-verbal insults we can give anybody - and, in palmistry, this isn’t a surprise because the middle finger symbolizes harsh dominance and a recognition of one’s inherent authority.
Thus, it isn’t surprising that patriarchs in the days of yore, especially those belonging to the noble or landed classes, wore their rings on the middle finger of the right hand to symbolize their authority over their families and chattels. These days, however, wearing the ring on this finger is now highly uncommon.
Wearing a Ring on the Little Finger
A pinky ring is something straight out of films about the mob: men who usually wear rings on their smallest fingers are seen as good negotiators and have a certain level of personal flair.
The latter is particularly true in real life as those who wear pinky rings wear them as a subtle declaration that they can be quite adventurous in their style choices and, consequently, have creative personalities.