Ring Symbolism: Meaning of Rings on Fingers


Many people here in the US and around the globe wear different jewelry rings on their fingers for certain reasons. Why they do this, on which finger, and what that specific ring symbolizes or means, is what you are going to finally discover today.

Human beings have been wearing rings for a thousand years across cultures to show deep mutual connection towards the person they love, as a spiritual-religious vow, or symbol of power. As a result, different types of rings symbols emerged over time, from christening to wedding rings and more.

Which ring meaning today prevails and how to go about it when you receive or want to buy it for that special person in your life, is the subject here.

Different Meanings of Rings on Fingers Today

They are different rings and fingers that can be attached to each other, either according to ancient beliefs, mythologies, cultures, and religions or modern trends in fashion jewelry. 

Overall, love is the number one reason why people in our times choose to buy or wear a ring on their ring, index, middle, pinky finger, or thumb.

Ring Finger List Breakdown:

  • Rings on Right-hand Meaning
  • Promise Ring & Meaning
  • Engagement Ring & Symbol
  • Wedding Ring & Origins
  • Mother’s Ring & Meaning
  • Friendship Ring & Symbol
  • Purity Ring & Meaning
  • Ring of the Fisherman & Meaning
  • Christianity Ring & Symbolism

Specific ring finger symbols like the finger of a birthstone ring purposes are further below explained.

Meaning of Rings on Right Hand

The culturally meaning of rings on the right hand symbolizes in the western world typically the bond of two represented by an engagement or wedding ring. The ring finger is preferred. In the East, it’s the other way around, where the hand is chosen. In the South (e.g., Africa) both options co-exist.

Promise Ring Meaning

promise ring symbolism

A promise ring means that one person gives another person a ring as a gift to symbolize his romantic commitment. Most of the time it comes before an engagement ring and you wear a promise ring usually on the ring, middle, or fourth finger, though some wear it on the left hand instead.

Engagement Ring Meaning

The meaning of an engagement ring dates back to the Roman Empire where it symbolized the official readiness for a couple’s marriage as well as acknowledgment of receipt of a dowry. Men were the sole providers of the engagement ring.

Today males are still predominately responsible for an engagement jewelry ring. However, more and more women are gradually on bent knees asking that magic question in the Western Hemisphere.

In the old days not diamond, but sapphire rings were often the preferred jewelry of choice. In many cultures outside the West, people do not gift engagement rings, but goats, silverware, and other goods to symbolize their love and fidelity prior to the big day of marriage.

Wedding Ring Meaning (w/ pics of a ring/wedding)

The wedding ring meaning, as we know it today, started in the Middle Age (13th Century) when Christian couples symbolized their love, commitment, and lifelong loyalty to God and in front of their community in the church. 

As a symbol of eternal connectedness, wedding rings do not possess a beginning or an end.

This is a testament not just for the two lovers to each other, but traditionally as a sacred vow to God.

wedding ring finger meaning

Another element that is interesting about weddings rings is that of the role of families then and now. It was common that families use to arrange marriages, just like for example in contemporary India still practiced or as in many other parts of the world. 

Therefore, when a wedding ring exchange occurred families connected officially with each other for good.

This is still true in some cultures, for example in many African countries as modern as South Africa or Kenya. You marry into a family as the old saying goes (Source).

Preferred wedding ring metal or gemstone nowadays is of course gold and diamond as well as white gold wedding rings. Whereby fascinating jewelry like engraved wedding rings has become popular with that imprinted uniqueness touch.

Mother’s Ring Meaning

A mother’s ring also known as a family ring sometimes is a gift to a mother to symbolize the deep connection and love to her. Mother’s rings are often coupled with a birthstone of her children or as a family tree. It is commonly worn on the right-hand ring finger as a birthstone ring.

Friendship Ring Meaning

A friendship ring symbolizes mutual love, be it romantically (monogamous) or Platonic love. Romantic lovers may call this one a promise ring too. Generally, it can be your best friend or the love of your life to gift a friendship ring. More often than not, young people exchange this trendy ring.

Purity Ring Meaning

A person wearing a purity ring symbolizes with it that she or he commits to staying a virgin until after the wedding night. Purity rings are in Christianity often given by parents to their sexually abstinent young adults until they get married. The left ring finger is the common purity ring finger.

Ring of the Fisherman Meaning

The ring of the fisherman also known as Anulus Piscatoris in Latin is a symbol of the Pope. He’s the worldwide head of the Catholic Church. The tradition of wearing the ring of the fisherman dates back to the first Pope, Saint Peter (Matthew 16:18), a fisherman by trade.

Christianity Ring Meaning

Christianity rings symbolize, like the cross necklace,  since the beginning of Christianity expansion the belonging to Jesus and God. Moreover, it was a visible sign of how Christians identified themselves among others. Today, even Atheists wear this sacred ring of Christian believers.

Spiritual Meaning of Rings on Fingers


The spiritual meaning of rings on fingers can symbolize love, fidelity, religious vows, power, and more. In the West it is often connected with Christianity, the Roman or Greeks mythologies while in the East spiritual beliefs like Indian astrology Jyotisha connects, for instance, a ring finger with purity.

Which Finger To Wear Ring for Single Female?

A single woman can wear a ring on her right-hand index finger, although it’s also okay on the left one. As it is typically the most used finger, it offers an opportunity for display while other fingers may be occupied otherwise. A new trend of wearing a pinky ring on the smallest finger is on the rise though.

Which Finger To Wear Ring for Single Male?

Single men wear rings mostly on the right hand (ring or pink finger) while a male in a relationship wears his engagement or wedding ring on the left hand (ring finger). Gay men on the other preferably put their rings on the right hand.

Bill Dominic

Bill is an art history and business graduate. Moreover, he loves to test, compare, shop jewelry & fashion items for his 5 sisters, girlfriend, nieces when not enjoying a great novel.

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