Rings - A Short Snapshot
A Snapshot of the History of Rings
- Rings have consistently been the most popular jewelry form worldwide for thousands of years. Rings are found in archaeological digs dating to antiquity and rings bear more symbolism than any other decorative body art form. Not only are they ornamental, but rings also denote status.
- Only three cultures worldwide have to date been identified which did not use some form of finger ring – the Assyrians, the Celts, and the Inuit/Yupik tribes. All other cultural groups and civilizations have made use of finger rings. The reasons for this are unknown, except for the Inuit/Yupik who, due to their extreme climate, would find the pressure of a ring uncomfortable and potentially hazardous to circulation in the hands.
- Many ancient civilizations believed rings to be inhabited by good and evil spirits, and that rings carry magic and charm. Many stones have to this day been imbued with powers and the simplest way to carry these was in the form of wearing them set in a circlet of bronze, silver, or gold on the finger. For example, turquoise was widely believed to change color when in the presence of poison.
- The ancients wore stone rings that were cut from a solid stone rather than having a stone set in metal. For the ancient Romans, these were frequently amulets of jasper or amber.
- The Romans were very fond of rings, wearing signet rings with personal seals on both hands; stone-set rings were worn only on the left hand. Iron signet rings were worn to funerals. The wealthier Romans wore thinner, lighter rings in summer and heavier ones in winter. The matriarch of a home wore a ring with a small key on it to denote her authority over the home.
- For the Anglo Saxons, gold was worn on the middle finger of the right hand and these rings were twisted and worn to signify nobility.
- During Medieval European times, rings were engraved with images of the saints, and sapphire was very popular as a magical stone which had immense power to preserve chastity, as an antidote to poison, to prevent poverty and betrayal, and as a cure for the disease of the eyes.
- Poison rings were not uncommon at one time and were used by Hannibal and Cesare Borgia among others. They were used on one’s enemies, delivering a lethal dose of poison into a drink or via a handshake.
- Renaissance rings included ecclesiastical rings, memento mori (skull) rings, healing rings, wedding and romance rings, gadget rings (e.g. perfume containers and tobacco stoppers), and token rings.
- Native American rings were traditionally made from bone, shell, porcupine quills, turquoise, and copper. The Spanish introduced silversmithing in the 1800s to the people of the southwest, and silver rings made with overlay practices or inlaid stones has been popular ever since.
The finger upon which a ring was worn also had meaning:
- Thumb – rings protected from injury when launching arrows and was the sign of an archer
- Forefinger – usually used for a birthstone ring
- Middle finger – amulet rings
- Fourth finger – wedding and romance rings
- Little finger – of the left hand for signet rings
Native American Rings at Indian Traders
Many Native American rings feature stunning natural stones. These symbolize:
- Turquoise – healing, fortune, strength
- Tiger Eye – protection, courage
- Onyx – healing, self-control, stamina, absorbs negative energy
- Coral – calming, protection
- Malachite – protection from illness and danger, good luck, emotional balance
- Lapis – fortitude, decisiveness, wisdom
- Opal – freedom
- Pearl – integrity and purity
- Ruby – mental, physical, and spiritual healing
We have a range of Native American rings, including Hopi overlay silver bands, Navajo turquoise rings, Navajo silver applique rings, and rings featuring jadeite, onyx, coral, and lab opals. Many of our designs are adjustable and will fit any finger.
To find the perfect Native American ring for you or one you love, browse our range today. We have the style, stone, and price to suit you.