What Does Each Finger Symbolize? A Guide to Buying and Wearing Rings

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People all over the world put on rings every day. There are so many different styles and designs available that rings make an ideal way for one to express their individuality or make a statement. But there is so much more to them than just the sparkle of fashion.

When we put on rings, we are essentially dressing our fingers. And did you know that each finger symbolizes different character traits or purposes? It’s true. Would you like to know more? We’d love to give you a hand. That pun was definitely intended, by the way. Below we take a brief look at each finger, its historical symbolism, and the kinds of rings one might wear on each digit.

The Thumb

It may seem like an awkward place to wear a ring, but the thumb is a very prominent position. A ring worn on the thumb exhibits strength of character and boldness. Thumb rings mean the wearer is a firm believer in will power, the freedom of thought and the opportunity that lies just within our grasp.

As far as types of rings, the thumb is a great location for wearing additional rings. The fingers in the center of the hand are often occupied with very specific bands, like wedding or engagement rings (covered below). If you want to put some comfortable distance between those rings and extras, the thumb provides an option that is far enough apart spatially.

The Index Finger

The index finger has quite a few euphemisms associated with it – the pointer, the trigger finger, the forefinger, the first finger. It is certainly the most dominant finger on the human hand, and many times the biggest. That is why its primary symbolism is leadership. To wear a ring on the index finger is to express outwardly your pride, ambition or authority. Additionally, in the romantic realm, a ring on this finger could signify a desire to be betrothed, engaged or married.

Because of its prominence, the index finger is typically used to sport high school and college rings, fraternal rings or family-related rings, like those featuring a family crest, name or symbol.

The Middle Finger

Of course, we all recognize that the middle finger can be used to deliver insults, but ironically, it is the finger most associated with the heart. It holds a deep meaning of individuality, self-worth and personal identity. Wearing a ring on the middle finger could also be a statement of being in love or going through a period of deep introspection and life reflection.

Despite the more heartfelt meaning behind the middle finger, the bands worn on this digit are usually fashion based. This is because of the connection to identity. Cocktail rings, bold statement rings and personalized rings are the perfect fit for this finger.

The Ring Finger

The ring finger is the most popular of the fingers because it’s the one we all know about. It’s the one finger whose name is derived from the ring itself. And it is the one finger that usually bears the ultimate statement of love and affection. It’s the universal symbol of “I’m taken.” But did you know that its symbolism goes way beyond that?

Historically, engagement rings and wedding rings are worn on the ring finger to express a shared bond of romance and commitment. But rings worn on this finger can also signify creativity, adventure, beauty and compassion.

The Little Finger

Most of us call this our pinky. And most of us probably remember a time making the ultimate agreement with a close friend or family member using this tiny digit – a pinky promise. It’s no wonder the little finger is a statement of communication and bonding. Wearing a ring on this finger is often a sign of intelligence, intuition and resourcefulness.

You’ve heard of a pinky ring before, right? While not the most obvious place to display a ring, the little finger is a well-accepted location more subtle statement rings or signet rings.

Right Hand or Left Hand?

So now that you know the meaning behind each finger and the types of rings worn on each one, perhaps you are asking yourself: but which hand – right or left? Well, we are happy to inform you that it does not matter one bit. With one exception, that is.

If you follow traditional customs and etiquette when it comes to engagement and wedding rings, these are typically worn on the left ring finger. So, if you choose to abide by these cultural standards, that would be the one and only rule you would need to consider. Other than that, either hand will do – the choice is up to you.

Remember that selecting a ring and deciding which finger to wear it on is mostly a matter of personal preference. But hopefully, finding out a little history and meaning behind each finger will help you out with your ring shopping. Thanks for reading!

Explore a variety of rings for women.

Explore a variety of rings for men.

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