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Rings have been given as gifts and signs of affection dating back over 6,000 years. Egyptian and Roman rings have been excavated showing that our love for brass and gold rings has changed very little over the millennia.
And as the years have gone by we have found new customs and places to wear them. In the last few years the new trend of Midi and Pinky rings has developed with rings being worn above the knuckles and on the little fingers and thumbs. In fact our hands are now clustered with rings all jostling for position, with no thought as to mixing the metals, designs or worrying about the style of the ring or what finger we wear it on.
We all know about the three main rings a woman is bought (engagement, wedding and eternity ring) but did you know there are many other traditions and stories behind rings and their styles? Did you know that for hundreds, if not thousands, of years rings have held secret codes and communicated between different groups of people?
Here are just a few examples of how rings will always hold a special place in history.
See if you can be inspired for your next purchase.
Mother’s Ring – This is an old custom where a mother wears a ring bearing the birthstone of her children. Much like the stones in our Gold Coast collection they hold an emotional significance to the bearer. Stones such as Amethyst, Aquamarine or Pearls would be inlaid into the ring as a constant reminder of the mother’s love for her children.
Thumb Ring – It may seem like a new trend, but originally thumb rings were used as an archery accessory in the east, helping the archer guide the arrow without damaging his thumb. They were thicker and slightly longer at the top.
Rainbow Ring – Representing gay pride, the ring is usually a band either set with seven stones or inlaid with seven enameled lines, in the seven colours representing the Rainbow flag (LGBT movement). In decades past, a stone-set ring worn on the right hand ring finger or the pinky of either hand represented a call for gay equality.
Key Ring – Most people in the world who have a front door to open, own a key ring. But did you know that originally it was a ring with a key mounted on the bezel? It was used by the Romans as a means of carrying a key to their family valuables chest and to demonstrate their status within the family. Now it’s generally something you get free in a Christmas cracker!
Multi-finger Ring – Believe it or not, Meriko London has a lot to thank the Hip Hop culture for. The new trend of multi-finger rings was originally inspired by music fashion with artists wearing large rings across two, three and sometimes all four fingers. The rings have recently taken on a new look, and instead of the large chunky gold rings loved by 90’s rappers, they have now morphed into delicate and unique fashion statements. In fact Meriko London has its own designs coming out soon…so watch this space!
Poison Ring – I love the mystery of these rings. Normally they consisted of a bezel with a small hidden compartment where one could keep poison, although despite the name they were probably more commonly used to hold things like perfume or romantic keepsakes. Imagine the trouble people could get into nowadays wearing one of them on a night out!
Penannular Ring – How long do you think nose rings and belly button rings have existed? Found in gold or gilded metal from Bronze Age Britain, Penannular rings were small thick incomplete circles that were actually the wrong size and shape to be finger-rings. Historians have guessed that they were probably worn as nose or ear-rings or attached to the hair or clothing. What a shame no photos exist of our ancestor’s fashion choices.
So what is your favourite kind of ring? Ask most women and they will say one thing – that special ring that comes from a loved one. Because a ring that says ‘forever’ is the best kind.
And we can’t argue with that!