This guide is all about the history of pinky rings, its significance, as well as how to wear pinky rings and how to buy them.
What Is A Pinky Ring?
Basically, it’s a ring worn on the fifth finger also known as the pinky finger. Interestingly, the pinky finger got its name from the Dutch word pink which means as much as a little finger.
Why Do Men Wear Rings On Their Pinky Finger?
For most of modern history, men’s rings were always a symbol of wealth, social class, and your prestige. Often, they were worn to make a specific statement such as in a signet ring. If you go further back in history, you can see that men wore rings and basically any finger on both hands including the index finger. In the 18th century, most men, especially in England, would wear rings only on their pinky finger. Later in Victorian times, men and women could wear a pinky ring to indicate that they weren’t interested in marriage. When wedding bands for men became more popular, oftentimes they would stash their signet ring and their wedding ring on their pinky finger of the same hand.
In the 20th century, a new approach to clothing came about and it was much less about tradition and more about fashion and making a stylish statement. The same is true for pinky rings. You can see pinky rings worn by men in Paris through the Jazz Age. It was just an expression almost of freedom and style. In the US, many wealthy Americans adhere to the British tradition of wearing their signet ring or their pinky ring on the left hand. That’s also true for Franklin Roosevelt who wore it again on the left pinky.
A little later, American grifters and members of the Mafia would wear pinky rings to indicate their affiliation with certain organizations. Because of that, in the mind of some people even today, the pinky ring has somewhat of a negative connotation. But just like with fashion in general, rules relax a lot after the end of World War II. Of course, the English have always been more into their traditions, and so even up until the 60s for most men of a certain class, it was unthinkable to wear anything but a pinky ring and maybe a simple pair of cufflinks.
The pinky ring was usually worn on the left-hand pinky finger. For example, if you look at Prince Charles, he still does it today. He stashes his wedding band as well as his pinky ring on the left hand. Of course, there were also rebels such as Winston Churchill who would wear his signet ring on the ring finger of his right hand. If you like rings and if you like to wear them on your pinky finger or anywhere else, you can just do it and be just fine.
In conclusion, pinky rings today are more of a fashion statement and an expression of your style than they are in association with tradition or to display your social class or status. Traditionally, pinky rings came in a wide range of shapes; often they had a typical signet ring shape that was slimmer at the bottom band and then got wider, paired with a semi-precious stone.
Pinky Ring Details – The Sky Is The Limit
Pinky rings were made out of solid metal such as solid gold in 10, 14 or 18 karat, maybe sometimes even 9 karat. You could also find them in sterling silver or in platinum.
If you look at my ring collection, you can get an idea of the endless possibilities of pinky rings. Every once in a while you see a small diamond in a brilliant cut set to the left and to the right of the center stone which is a very classic look. Stones that are particularly good for pinky rings are turquoise, bloodstone, onyx, lapis lazuli, tiger’s eye, tourmaline, malachite and star sapphires.
Personally, I really like star sapphires. They’re rare and they’re expensive but when you have a light source, it creates a star that moves with your movement and I just think the look is quite exceptional and unique. Since the pinky ring often emulates a signet ring without the engraving or the signet, they’re mostly flat stones.
Why Should You Wear A Pinky Ring?
Basically, for the same reason you wear most of your other clothes and accessories. Simply because you like it and you want to express your own style. Keep in mind that not many other men are wearing pinky rings so it’s an easy way to set you apart from others. There are also no mechanical parts so you don’t have to service them like a watch and at the same time, they’re less expensive than the wristwatch. That being said, it’s always difficult to get the right ring size because most men’s rings are of a larger diameter and you either have to size them down at your local jeweler for a fee or you find one that is exactly the right size. Because of that, we want to create pinky rings that are classic, stylish and affordable.
Pinky Ring Dos & Don’ts
1. Don’t go with oversized pinky rings because they’re quite gaudy. As a general rule, the center stone should be slightly slimmer than the width of your pinky finger.
2. Don’t mix metals. Either go with gold or silver but having those two-tone looks rarely work and it makes you look dated or like from the 80s very quickly.
3. Don’t buy overly ostentatious rings. Rings with very bold and loud engravings or lots of different stones are just not part of a gentleman’s wardrobe.
4. Do match the metal color of your pinky ring to your other accessories. So with a gold pinky ring, maybe gold cufflinks and a gold belt buckle. I know that it can be a little more tricky and if you don’t happen to have it, don’t stress out about it, just wear it and enjoy it. What looks particularly dapper is if you match the stones of your ring to your cufflinks and I often do that with our Fort Belvedere collection.
5. Do buy rings in different sizes. I found that with the seasons, the size of my fingers changes dramatically. In the summer, I have puffier, bigger fingers and in the winter, I have slimmer fingers. Because of that, I buy rings in different sizes so I can wear them at different times of the year.
6. Do experiment. I think you should not just limit yourself to the pinky fingers but you can also play with the ring fingers or other fingers and see what you like and what works for you. Personally, I always wear my wedding band on the ring finger of the left hand and then one ring on the right hand because I think it’s balanced and not over-the-top. I’ve seen other men who wear a lot of rings or some men who wear just a wedding band. Ultimately, the choice is yours.
Where Should You Buy Pinky Rings?
Honestly, my collection grew all vintage not because I wanted it to be that way but I simply couldn’t find the kind of ring I wanted from jewelers in a price range that I deemed acceptable. Finding a nice new pinky ring can set you back at several thousand dollars and it just seemed over-the-top because I could invest in suits, shoes, and shirts instead, as well as a number of accessories for the same price. Now, of course, it takes a lot of time. You need to travel through vintage stores and you have to be lucky to find something that fits you at the time you’re there. Of course, you can have rings resized to a certain extent. You can make them bigger, you can make them smaller but it always depends on the specific ring.
So if you are interested in quality pinky rings with different stones and exactly the size that is right for you, please head over to our website. Tell us a little more about it and maybe we can help you to find that right piece for your pinky finger.