For at least the last couple of decades, there’s been a weird stigma surrounding men’s jewellery. For some strange reason, the type of man who would happily wear an expensive watch by Rolex or Omega would almost certainly scoff at the idea of wearing a gold chain, or even worse, a decorative ring.
Perhaps it’s because wearing jewellery is seen as something of a vanity statement, whereas although decorative, a watch is more of a functional item?
Whatever the the reason, it seems that slowly, these outmoded views are beginning to fade, and men’s jewellery is seeing something of a renaissance.
If you’re currently on the fence about whether to add a few choice accessories to your own wardrobe, you could do a lot worse than to start with a simple ring. Unlike the more adventurous items of men’s jewellery, rings are easy to choose and wear, and partner with nearly any kind of fashion style.
In this guide, we’ll talk you through the process of choosing a ring, and explain a few of the dos and don’ts when it comes to pulling off this classic accessory:
Which Finger is Best?
In theory, you can wear any type of ring on any finger you like. It’s all purely a matter of personal taste. With that being said, there are a few practical (and traditional) considerations to make when it comes to deciding which finger you’ll choose for your rings:
Yes, a pinky finger ring was a favourite of The Godfather, but that doesn’t make it a bad choice. The great thing about wearing a ring on your pinky is that it doesn’t have any underlying traditional meaning. It’s also a good choice for “beginners” to the world of men’s jewellery, as it should feel less conspicuous and won’t get in the way when you’re using your hands.
In Western Europe and the USA, wedding rings are typically worn on the left hand. In Eastern Europe and Russia, Orthodox Christians wear their wedding bands on the right ring finger.
Should you wear a decorative ring on either of these fingers? Well, that’s entirely up to you. Just be aware of the tradition behind this choice of finger.
Middle fingers tend not to be used for rings. There’s no underlying tradition here, it’s simply a matter of practicality: Being next to the ring finger, middle finger rings can often feel awkward if they sit next to a wedding band. It can also be hard to find a style of ring that suits the middle finger due to the fact that its size can leave all but the chunkiest of bands looking a little dainty.
Historically speaking, the index finger was the place to wear large, signet or sovereign rings. Today, the index finger is still the most popular choice for statement rings, and is the best finger choose if you’re looking for a big piece of jewellery that really stands out.
Thumb rings can be tricky to pull off. They need to be big, but they also don’t look so great if they’re too flashy. Thumb rings are best worn alone, or if you must, with a pinky ring to give the right amount of balance and separation.
A Few Style Tips For Wearing Rings:
Keep Things Balanced
Less is definitely more when it comes to rings. Especially if they’re chunky or particularly shiny. When wearing rings, it’s also important to balance out your look: If you’re wearing a watch and have a wedding band on your left hand, for example, then it’s best to wear one or two rings on your right hand to keep things even.
Get the Size Right
Certain styles of clothes suit different body types. The same is true with rings. If you’re a big guy with large hands, you’ll need to pick rings that don’t look overly dainty. Likewise, if you have long, thin fingers, massive signet rings will look a little jarring.
Choose the Right Metal
Ignore the naysayers: It’s totally fine to pair a stainless steel watch with gold rings. It’s also possible to mix up gold and silver on the same hand. The trick is to make it look deliberate, and wear the style with confidence.
Consider Your Lifestyle
It’s easy to go for a hyper-bling set of rings on each hand if you’re a famous actor or a musician. In the real world, you’ll need to consider whether or not your choice of rings works with your wardrobe and lifestyle. If in doubt, save the statement pieces for weekends at the pub or club.
Find a Style You Can Pull Off
Flashy signet rings and sovereigns might look cool in photos and music videos, but in real life, it can often make you feel self conscious. Try out more subtle silver bands before delving into the world of large, statement rings in flashy styles and colours.
Try Out an Adjustable Ring
These days, it’s possible to purchase a fashion ring with an adjustable band. For newcomers to the world of men’s jewellery, this can make a great choice, as it enables you to experiment with different fingers without the expense of having to purchase different sized rings each time.
What Style of Ring to Choose?
Wedding Bands and Subtle Rings
Many people are unaware that until the 1960s, it was relatively uncommon for men to wear a wedding ring. Before that, if a man wore a simple band on his finger, it was merely a fashion statement or a personal keepsake. Today, mens wedding bands tend to be subtle and less showy than typical fashion rings, and are a great style of ring for those looking to experiment with jewellery for the first time.
Signet rings are large, bold and showy. They were originally used by noble families to press into the wax seals of important documents as a means of identification. Today, signet rings typically come with either a flat face for personal engravings, or feature bold motifs and designs, and are usually made from gold.
Sovereign rings are similar in style to signet rings, with a large decorative face that would have originally been made from a valuable “sovereign” gold coin. Whilst it’s still possible to purchase “real” sovereign rings, the majority of modern versions feature stylistic pattens and engravings, and aren’t always made from precious metals.
Fashion rings are basically any kind of ring that’s worn for looks, rather than tradition. Don’t be shy when it comes to picking out a “fashion ring”. Look for styles and materials that compliment your wardrobe and character, and don’t be afraid to wear more than one at a time.
Men’s jewellery is definitely making a comeback. There’s no longer any kind of stigma attached to wearing statement jewellery like rings. Why not mix up your own style and accessorise your wardrobe with a few unique jewellery items of your own?