It’s easy to overlook the humble ring. It’s always there, waiting patiently on jewellery websites, but often in very small quantities. Our – very scientific(!) – survey found that most websites only dedicate around 5% of their virtual shop floor to rings (in comparison, one well-known retailer’s offerings comprise of 67% earrings). However, at Arlette Gold, we love rings (our stock hovers around 17%), and we’d love to stock more.
Rings have a history of importance and heavy symbolism. Throughout history, the band has served different functions - signet rings, archers thumb rings; marriage, engagement and commitment rings; mourning and commemorative rings; all decorative but serving another, deeper, ceremonial function. The Romans believed that the vein in the fourth finger on the left hand ran directly to one's heart. They called it "vena amoris", the vein of love. Naturally, rings placed on this finger therefore represented a union between two people.
Perhaps it’s because of this tradition of symbolism that rings are now seen as the workhorse of jewellery; yes, an engagement or wedding ring is incredibly personal and important, but they somehow become corporeal, part of you. Buying a ring for a woman can be a fraught business too – givers might be concerned about mixed messages. Perhaps we also fear that costume rings are difficult to wear alongside our wedding and engagement bands.
However, Carol Woolton, jewellery editor of British Vogue and author of Vogue The Jewellery says a ring is; “A token of love, piece of bling, weapon of conquest, empowering talismanic protector, sentimental object, miniature work of art, financial investment or brilliant fashion accessory. It can be all these things. Jewellery bestows an individuality on the wearer.”
Rings can, of course, be purely decorative, but we love that they’re fun too – a ring is the only piece of jewellery that the wearer gets to look at and enjoy; you can even fiddle and play with them in a boring meeting. “It is the most interesting piece to feel for the wearer.” says jeweller Esther Brinkmann. Jeweller Manfred Bischoff agrees, “I nearly always create rings or brooches because other things are too conventional. A ring is like a sculpture.”
You can be serious or frivolous, experimental or ceremonial, tasteful or daring with rings. It’s impossible to go wrong – you don’t have to worry about necklines or colour-matching to your outfit - go with a standalone piece, or mix and match, there are no rules.
Worried about buying the right size? Let us make things easier for you.
* Download our free ring sizing guide.
* Measure your fingers at the end of the day, and when they are warm. If you find that you're midway between two sizes, always go a size up. A ring should fit your finger comfortably; snug so that it stays on but loose enough to slide over the knuckle if necessary.
* If you’re buying for someone else and you don't have access to a printer, borrow a ring for a few minutes and measure how far up your finger it goes.
* If all else fails: the most common and best-selling women's size is 6/7 so take a punt – most rings can be exchanged. Ours certainly can be – we can swap or advise on pieces. Still unsure? Buy a ring with an adjustable ring base!
Go on, ring the changes!