"Pinky rings" are rings that are worn on the fifth finger, or "pinky" (also spelled pinkie) finger. In Victorian England, pinky rings were worn by men to signify that they were not interested in marriage. They were later adopted by members of the gay community, and are now accepted and worn by many as fashion statements. However, the origin of the pinky ring goes back further than this to the ancient world.
The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans wore signet rings on their little fingers. These signet rings worked as portable seals, carrying the power of approval. Perhaps the phrase to do with someone having "more talent in his little finger than all the rest in their united brains" written by Charles Dickens in Martin Chuzzlewit could have originated from the ancients' use of signet rings worn on the little fingers. When power was bestowed by the king, a signet ring would be given. Therefore, the signet ring was a status symbol and denoted authority.
The British Royal Family still use signet rings to show their family identity. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, wears a family signet ring over a wedding band on his left pinky finger. However, Prince William does not wear any rings at all. When Kate Middleton married Prince William, her family was given a royal coat of arms, with signet rings that are worn on the left pinky fingers of family members, both male and female.
The pinky rings favored by women tend to be embellished with gemstones. Some diamond companies saw an opportunity to cash in and have marketed the "Ah Ring" for women, which initially stood for "available and happy", but to not leave out married ladies, it can also mean "attached and happy". Some women see these pinky rings as items of jewelry that they can treat themselves with, rather than waiting for a man to buy bling for them.
Men seem to be following suit and enjoying diamond pinky rings. This is especially true for American rappers such as Jay-Z, who wears a blue sapphire pinky ring, rumored to be a gift from his wife Beyoncé and worth a staggering $500,000. Scott Storch became wealthy by producing hip hop music and invested in a 34-carat, yellow diamond pinky ring with a reported price tag of $3 million. In an unfortunate and ironic incident while throwing money into the audience during a performance, rapper, P Diddy threw away a pinky ring that was said to have been worth $20,000. Despite closing the building and searching the audience, the ring was not found. The rap star later claimed that he never liked the ring anyway.
Pinky rings are traditional to certain professions, such as engineers in North America, who wear the Iron Ring. Pinky rings have also been associated with mafia members, which has been reinforced by the mass media in movies and series such as The Sopranos. Rings related to sporting achievements, known as Championship Rings are occasionally worn on the pinky finger, though they are intended to be worn on the ring finger of the right hand. For example, former NBA player, Michael Jordan has several Championship Rings, so he wears multiple rings on one hand, including one on the pinky finger. LeBron James, a player for the Cleveland Cavaliers has two Championship Rings and wears a diamond ring on his pinky.
Contemporary pinky rings can be seen on the fingers of people of all backgrounds and no longer need to be a symbol of status or identity to be enjoyed. Some say that wearing pinky rings is an attempt to appear aristocratic, but for others, they are simply another item of jewelry to be worn and admired.
- First Published: July-14-2015
- Last Updated: December-15-2017
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