Men’s Rings: Materials, Motifs, and Meanings

Unlike women, men are not used to decorating themselves with accessories. A watch is often the only accessory you can see a guy flaunting. Married men get one more item to add to their look – a wedding ring. However, who said that rings are forbidden for single guys? The fact is that men began wearing rings even before women to manifest their social class and boast prosperity. Today rings play the role of a stylish addition to your image but a rare, designer or extravagant item still communicates a message of richness and wealth.

Of course, not every person can afford an expensive ring and in today’s world, the price doesn’t really matter. A couple of decades ago, we paid the price for noble metals and scattering of precious stones but now we invest in design and great ideas. Rings and other jewelry pieces became a reflection of our personality, our worldviews, and our attitude towards life. If you know who you are and where you’re going to be where you want to be, you won’t find it hard to pick the right men’s ring.

Table of Contents

Gold or Silver

From time immemorial, gold was considered to be a men’s metal while silver was exclusively for women. People believed that gold symbolized power, strong energy, wealth, and masculinity. Silver, on the other hand, associated with subtleness, quietness, submission, and mystery. As you can see, gold was for strong and dominant while silver – for weak and compliant.

For many centuries, gold remained men’s favorite. This eye-catching metal was ideal to create larger-than-life full of splendor jewelry that men wore on a par with women. Ladies, by the way, didn’t want to settle for a less noticeable metal so they won the right to wear gold jewelry instead of silver. Around 19 century, however, magnificent dresses with rich embellishment and equally magnificent jewelry began to give way to rationalism and modesty. Women didn’t want to give up on their jewelry but men pretty much weeded out the bling from their wardrobes. Those items that remained shed some grandeur and started moving towards functionality rather than sheer look. Silver seemed to be a more appropriate choice for men given the rationalism trend while women basically expropriated gold for jewelry.

Today, of course, we don’t separate silver and gold into men’s and women’s metals. They are suitable for both genders. But if you are a practical person who wants jewelry to blend in rather than stand out, you can’t go wrong with silver.

Ring Motifs

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of themes inherent in men’s rings. We could go on about it for hours but right now we are going to focus on the most popular groups. So, we can divide men’s ring motives into:

  1. Totem animals. There are no clear criteria by which men choose totem animals. Some guys are guided by their zodiac signs or animals patronizing the year when they were born. For instance, men born in the year of a tiger often choose this striped predator as their talisman. If you are crazy about dogs, then a ring featuring a dog or wolf will become your favorite accessory. Some men pick animals they look alike as their companions. For example, my father, who was often called a bear, has a ring carrying the face of this furry beast. Although you can choose any animal, you must remember that part of its energy will be transferred to you. Therefore, men aggressive by nature should refrain from rings with predators, especially snarling or attacking ones.
  2. Biker motifs. A silver biker ring will please both motorcyclists and people wishing to man up their look. Biker rings stand out due to their burliness, heaviness, and unconventional symbolism. While a skull may scare many away, bikers love and revere this multi-faceted symbol. It means not only dead but also life, resurrection, loyalty, brotherhood, equality, and many other positive things. Among other images found on biker rings are Indians, pirates, flames, motorcycles, motors, and many others.
  3. Gothic motifs. Although some Gothic symbols coincide with biker’s (such as skulls, for example), they carry a totally different meaning. For Goths, a skull is a death symbol indeed. Gothic flourishes on mystical and mysterious symbols such as pictograms, ancient hieroglyphs, alchemic signs, and others. Along with that, there is a clear theme of death seen in coffins, Grim Reaper, vampires, bats, and so on. Christian symbols have also found their place in Gothic jewelry but more often then not, there is a twist. For instance, a Christian cross may be paired with vine or roots or side by side with skulls or even demons.
  4. Christian symbols. Christianity is not only about crosses (although it is the first thing that crossed my mind) but also icons featuring faces of saints, and ancient Christian symbols (for example, an anchor, fish, olive branch, etc.). Such rings often feature different variations of crosses – for example, you can spot Celtic, Coptic (ankh), Maltese or Chi-Rho cross on men’s signets. Finally, men tend to gravitate to so-called Episcopal rings that mimic designs of amethyst rings worn by Catholic bishops.

There are many more themes and motives of men’s rings, and what is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

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