Ladies, Make Way For The Lord Of The Rings

While the modern industry of jewelry craftsmanship is largely skewed towards the female population, there is considerable amount of importance that history has shed on men styling their looks with rings.

Here’s something to know before shying away from buying a man a ring.

Rings for Men?

It would not be unjust to suggest that it is unfair to exclude people – specifically men – with a unique fashion style in jewelry.

While Victorians labeled profusely adorned men as dandies and fops, Paget in the 19th century stole all the limelight by being called the “dancing Marquess” because of his polarized dressing sense.

If men can go bankrupt and be neck-deep in debt aggregating to half a million pounds in 1904, there is a lot to say about men’s jewelry being an easy avoidance.

A debt which makes it nearly 50 million pounds in the current value of money, all due to their love for jewelry, is really a statement made about the personal value of rings! Yes, no surprises there—‘The Marquess’ was this man himself—and owed this sum to Wartski, the person whose jewelry business extended him the favor of such extravagant spending.

Instead of calling this preference for accoutrements a fetish, it is more intellectually-informed to learn why rings have been so important for men throughout history.

Wedding Vows

As odd as it may seem, a fashionably-aware fraction of the society will neither deny the aesthetic worth of rings nor the cultural and religious significance of them. One contribution the wave of modernism has made in favor of manly embellishments is the societal necessity of wearing a wedding band.

Even though there is no religious compulsion for Christians to necessarily put a ring on the hand of the groom, but it is deemed culturally appropriate to do so. However, even then a public spectacle was made at the royal wedding this year when the wedding vows exchanged between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were left unsealed without the Prince wearing a wedding band!

Gentleman’s Rings

To counter this event which made headlines during its time, it is better to notice its exact parallel found in the Prince of Wales, Charles who even before his engagement to Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall used to appear in public wearing his signet ring on his left little finger.

Sources have confirmed that the signature article of jewelry was entirely dissociated with his wedding and in fact, was endorsed with immense cultural relevance. Having been noted wearing this signature ring since the mid-70s, the Prince of Wales actually conveys a lot through just this ring.

Bloomberg reports state that this particular type of jewelry has been worn since the times of the Old Testament. Often called the ‘gentleman’s ring’, this ring bears a family crest or a personal signature that stands for one’s social status.

The unique placement of the ring on the smallest finger of one’s non-dominant hand distinguishes it from plainer pieces of jewelry worn as trend-following or marking an exchange of wedding vows.

The distinguishable flat bezel atop the gold band can bear anything from a coat of arms to family crest or a symbol of personal prominence. It is duly noted that Prince Charles is not the first of royal blood to proclaim his royalty through a ring; Princess Diana had her own signature jewel. Kate Middleton’s family is also seen wearing signet rings as she was honored with a coat of arms before her wedding. It seems like this is a dress of code for everyone in the royal family except for the inhabitants of the House of Windsor who are not necessitated to wear a signet ring.

Memory of Family

While boasting one’s social status is one reason to wear jewelry, there are other intriguing trends that had been set in motion at various global events of great significance such as the World War II. Even though it is customary for a lawfully wedded man to wear a wedding band, it was not so until the mid-20th century.

It is said that a shift towards accepting this as a custom was spurred during the World War II. Army men going out to war wore their wedding rings as a sweet reminder amidst the atrocities of war, of their families back home. Thus it can be seen how wedding bands, an article of jewelry, meant so much more to people than the value of gold used in crafting it. Wedding bands not only served as memories of their wives but also offered comfort in knowing they had their special ones waiting for them somewhere. This makes wearing jewelry an act of personal preference rather than a customary practice.

However, the social stigmatization of men wearing jewelry had not yet been completely eradicated because Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II married shortly after the Second World War ended and the Duke still avoided attracting attention by not wearing a wedding band.

Power and Prestige

While any finger is suitable for wearing a ring as long as it fits on it, some fingers hold greater symbolism compared to others because of their association with certain notions.

Centuries ago in Europe, people below a particular stature were forbidden from wearing rings on the index finger. This is because this finger was reserved for adorning family crests or fraternal rings.

The importance of this finger in our routine manual dexterity seeks more attention than other fingers and that is why a ring on this finger would divert more eyes. The prominence of this finger makes it a symbol of power and prestige and because of being commonly used for instructive purposes it also represents leadership and authority. This finger also has an astrological association to Jupiter which also denotes the same notions as this finger.

Imagine instructing those under you to run errands with a bejeweled finger? The impact increases exponentially! If nothing else, a ring on this finger would really compel peasants to hail you as the Lord of the Rings!

Hence, a quick perusal of the history of men’s jewelry would erase any second thoughts about securing your finger in a ring now.

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By | 2018-10-09T09:59:48+00:00 October 10th, 2018|Silver Art Gallery|0 Comments

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