Should men wear rings? What do rings mean and on which finger should they be worn? Let’s unlock some basic rules and guidelines for wearing rings.
Wearing a ring is perfectly acceptable as long as you understand the message you are sending. Rings can make a statement about you to the world, so make sure you understand what that statement is.
A ring can reveal your marital status (therefore your availability), your achievements, your beliefs, your fashion sense and even your social status.
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What Do Rings Mean?
Generally speaking, wearing rings is based on three things. They are Tradition/Affiliation, Style and Comfort.
Tradition or Affiliation
If you are married, a wedding band is most often worn on the left hand “ring finger,” but in some countries or different cultures it is worn on the right hand.
Tradition is also important if you want to wear a class ring, Super Bowl Ring (lucky you!), fraternal ring, Shriner’s or any other organization’s ring which identifies you as a member of a specific group or club to other members.
Most of these rings are worn on the right ring finger, but these traditions often have their own special rules.
If you are confident about your fashion sense, like to be flamboyant or flaunt your sense of power, wearing one or more rings can add to your personal style if you choose the right one(s).
Some guys who are very confident with their own personal style (or have been into fashion for a long time) like to wear several rings on a daily basis.
If you’re just getting into rings, we recommend sticking with one or two.
Remember that wearing a ring on certain fingers can be uncomfortable so you will want to test out the weight and feel of it before you make a commitment.
You also do not want metals from two rings grinding against each other on your hand if you are into the multiple ring look. Everyday comfort is key.
Speaking of comfort, many people opt for silicone rings instead of metal ones. These are essential for medical professionals, firefighters, military personnel, etc.
Let’s take a closer look at what rings to wear on each hand.
Which Finger Do Most Single Guys Wear a Ring on?
As a single guy you’ll probably want to wear a ring on your right hand, either on the ring finger or pinky finger, but any finger is acceptable.
If you like the look of multiple rings, you can wear them on both hands. See advice below about wearing multiple rings.
Which Finger Means You're Married?
In most countries, a wedding band is traditionally worn on the third finger of the left hand.
However, in some orthodox religions and some countries such as Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, South and Central America you’ll see a wedding ring worn on the third finger of the right hand.
Rings on Right Hand vs. Left Hand?
Again, unless you are married, there are no specific rules in place for which hand you should wear a non-ceremonial or fashion ring.
As most people are right-handed, this is viewed as the dominant hand; it is the hand you use to make gestures or to emphasize your words, so it is the hand that is most visible to others.
Wearing a ring on your dominant hand can be seen as a symbol of power and authority. Your left hand is often linked to your left-brain creativity, so wearing a ring on your left hand may be used to characterize your individuality or your religious beliefs.
Wearing a ring on the pointer or index finger was the most common location for a man’s ring for centuries.
It generally denoted a family’s status or crest and was therefore was considered a symbol of power.
Unless you are given specific rules, this is a great place to wear a class or fraternity ring and is relatively comfortable because it doesn’t interfere much when you are working or playing sports. It is going to be noticed, so make sure you are comfortable with the attention.
Although this is your largest finger, it is not common to wear a ring on the middle finger because it can be uncomfortable when doing small, everyday manual tasks.
However, because it is in the middle of your hand and looks masculine it can be a good choice.
Our advice is to keep the ring small and fairly simple if you want to wear it on your middle finger.
Reserved for wedding bands on the left hand, the right ring finger is a common place to wear certain affiliation, club or fraternity rings.
This is often the first choice for a man who wants to wear a “statement” ring.
Pinky rings have a couple of advantages: they don't have religious or cultural associations in most countries (unlike the ring finger), and they don't touch or interfere with the index/pointer finger at all, so they are comfortable to wear.
Pinky rings tend to be among the “busiest” or flashiest of designs. It's where you wear things when you want attention paid to them and to you.
In the US, pinky rings were sometimes associated with criminals and thugs, so you’ll see plenty of pinky rings worn by mafia types in the movies.
Some professional rings, for example in engineering, are usually worn on the pinky finger.
Traditionally, signet rings were worn on the pinky finger because they were originally used to stamp a seal in wax as identification and this is, which is easier to do with your right or leading hand.
Left-handed people generally prefer to wear their signet or pinky ring on their right hand – but there is no strict etiquette about this.
It is quite normal to wear a signet ring on another finger, possibly your ring finger or middle finger, bearing in mind that the ring will need to be larger to keep it in proportion to the size of your finger.
Thumb rings are quite common worldwide, but you’ll need confidence to wear one in the U.S. In most cultures, a thumb ring on a man is a sign of wealth or influence, and they tend to be broad or bulky both to reflect that and fit your thumb comfortably.
A thumb ring is also often the natural choice for men who want to wear multiple rings on the same hand since it's farther away from the others. If you want to wear a thumb ring, keep it bold but simple so it doesn’t overpower your look.
How to Wear Multiple Rings
Should you wear multiple rings? What is the maximum number you should wear? The answer is really up to you and your personal taste.
The most traditional way to wear multiple rings is to stack your wedding band and your pinky ring all on one finger.
Prince Charles, for example, wears his pinky ring stacked with his wedding band, as is royal tradition.
Some men wear rings on every finger, even stacking them up on the same finger. Wearing multiple rings isn’t uncommon for hip hop artists, rockstars and bikers.
For the rest of us, you’ll want to think carefully!
Most men, if they are married, will wear their wedding ring on the left hand and a style ring on their right-hand pinky finger or right-hand ring finger.
In general, wearing more than one ring on one finger tends to look clumsy, so if you like multiple rings it is a good idea to space them out across both your hands, leaving gaps in between.
Our advice is it’s better to go with a bold ring on one hand plus your wedding band. If you are not sure, less is more – unless you’re Johnny Depp!
Mixing and Matching Metals?
If you are going for the multiple ring look, should they all match? There’s no strict answer, but conventional wisdom says it looks better if the metals match.
For example, if you have a plain platinum wedding band, it’s probably better to choose a silver-colored style ring, but again there are no hard and fast rules.
Honestly, we think it’s totally fine to mix and match your metals. Using both silver and gold tones in the same outfit can be a much more interesting look.
If you wear a two-tone watch or ring, you’ll be well on your way to mixing and matching metals with ease.
Best Places to Buy Men's Rings Online
The best place we’ve found to buy men’s wedding rings online is James Allen. Their style and selection are second to none and their rings are top quality.
Our favorite place to buy men’s wedding rings is James Allen. Here are a few of our top picks:
This is a sophisticated, comfort fit platinum band with a high polished drop edge.
Here’s another in rose gold. It’s in 14K gold with a comfort fit, milgrained edge –
This one is also a comfort fit with a milgrained edge in 18K white gold
If you prefer something simpler in yellow gold, here is a carved 18K comfort fit ring with a beveled edge.
Two-tone? This is a carved platinum two-toned comfort fit satin center band.
As you can see, James Allen has a lot of great options.
Silicone Wedding Rings
If you’d prefer silicone over metal, check out Enso Rings.
They offer a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes, all made from durable, comfortable silicone (perfect for guys with active lifestyles).
Depending on your budget and style, one of these brands will likely appeal to you.
Our favorite place to buy relatively affordable, high quality, stylish men’s rings is Miansai.
For example, this one in yellow gold with a small inset diamond is a great choice that will look as good in 20 years as it does today.
If you can spend a little more, another great place to buy rings is John Hardy.
Where Miansai is minimal and unisex, John Hardy is more bold and masculine.
If you’re into vintage, rugged or handcrafted rings, you’ll probably enjoy browsing Etsy.
On this handmade marketplace, you’ll find unique rings made from every material imaginable, from redwood and juniper to brushed steel and tungsten.
Etsy also offers endless personalization options (think custom engraving).
From contemporary wedding bands to bold signet rings made from exotic stones, David Yurman is worth checking out (if you can afford it).
Their rings manage to be masculine without crossing the line into tacky (many men’s jewelry brands can’t seem to pull this balancing act off).
Wearing one or more rings can add a cool fashion dimension to your look. But whether you're a stickler for high style, like to rock a street look or prefer to stick with simple elegance, the way you wear them isn't just about aesthetics.
Every ring sends a message, be it commitment, power, wealth, cultural or religious identity or an association.
Rings are noticed, whether you are in an interview, a business meeting or a social situation.
You will be noticed – and perhaps judged – by the rings you are wearing and where you are wearing them, so be sure you understand the rules and what they mean.