A pinky ring is any type worn on the smallest finger of one’s hand. People in different parts of the world wear rings on their fingers for different reasons, and different fingers have significance to different people. Wearing a pinky ring can be an unspoken way of conveying a message about yourself.
10 Most Common Meanings of Pinky Ring
People have worn rings on their fingers for centuries in different cultures and civilizations. When a ring is worn on the pinky finger, it can be quite eyecatching because it is not a common finger for many people to wear rings on.
There is no universal meaning for the pinky ring, and its significance varies according to the culture and beliefs of the wearer. Below are some reasons why men wear a pinky ring.
1. As A Signet
People used signet rings to authenticate letters, documents, and decrees before signatures and stamps. People used these signet rings as far back as ancient Babylon thousands of years BC. In these ancient cities, wealthy people and royals usually wore these signet rings on their pinky fingers.
This tradition continued into 19th-century British culture, and it was common for fathers to pass their signet rings to the next generation. These pinky rings had the carving of the family crest and could be used to sign documents on behalf of the family. These wealthy men wore only “placeholder” pinky rings for security reasons, keeping the original signets safely at home.
Some American families of British origins wore these signet rings in tribute to British culture. For instance, the Roosevelt family had a signet ring handed to FDR from his father, which he also passed down to his son.
2. For Wedding Rings
Wedding rings nowadays are worn by the couple on the ring finger in most parts of the Western world. However, before World War II, men didn’t often wear wedding rings, and the few that did in the Victorian era wore theirs on their left-hand pinky fingers.
The practice by some was to stack a signet ring on top of the wedding pinky ring. Nowadays, Prince Charles is arguably the most prominent figure who still dons this wedding band/signet ring combo.
3. A Sign Of Unconventional Views On Marriage
Many people now use pinky rings to symbolize their unconventional views on the marriage union. In the mid to late 20th century, people saw men wearing rings on their pinky fingers as covert expressions of their homosexuality. Nowadays, you’ll often find people who do not believe in the traditional marriage institution wearing pinky rings as a sign of non-commitment.
4. Promise Rings
“While an engagement ring symbolizes your commitment to another, the Self Love Pinky Ring™ represents your commitment to yourself and serves as a daily reminder to practice self love and self care.”. The previous sentence is FredandFar’s description of their Pinky Ring, which symbolizes self-love. Some men wear promise rings like this on their pinky fingers as a personal commitment.
Promise rings can also be shared between friends and loved ones as a commitment to a relationship; men can also wear this kind of promise ring on their pinky fingers.
5. Affiliation To Organized Criminal Societies
A man wearing a pinky ring could also symbolize his affiliation to a criminal organization. For instance, newly-inducted members of the Italian mafia got pinky rings unique to the gang they’d just joined. Some members wore their “Italian pinky rings” over their wedding rings on their left pinkies.
Aside from the mafia, nomadic grifters also wore pinky rings as a source of income for their burial in case they died “on the job.” Usually, they had no friends and family around while they engaged in their scams and were surrounded mostly by other grifters. Their pinky rings would be worth so much that selling them could pay for their funeral with change.
6. Professional Affiliations
Men also wear pinky rings if they belong to certain professions or courses that use them as a mark of affiliation. In this instance, the pinky rings are meant to remind the wearer that their chosen profession is important to society.
Pinky rings are often given to graduating students of engineering courses in Canada and the United States. Courses with this pinky ring presentation ritual include home geology, geophysics, economics, and human ecology. Many professionals still wear and keep the rings presented to them at graduation long after they leave school.
Men who play pro sports can also be seen wearing pinky rings. For example, in the NBA, Finals champions and Hall of Fame inductees are presented with a ring. Some of the athletes prefer to wear their rings on their pinky fingers.
Men who are a part of the British royal family have worn rings on their left-hand pinky fingers since the Victorian era. The pinky rings were a wedding ring and a royal signet or initial ring of the British Royal Family. This custom was started by Queen Victoria, who had adopted the practice from the Germans.
Over the years, men in the British royal family have kept this tradition. The youngest son of Queen Victoria, Prince Leopold wore many rings on his left pinky, as did King George VI and Prince Phillip (Duke of Edinburgh). On top of his wedding band, Prince Charles adorns the official signet of the Prince of Wales; this signet is nearly 175 years old and was last worn by King Edward VIII.
8. As A Symbol Of Wealth And Power
Some men wear pinky rings as a kind of power move or a show of wealth. The use of the pinky ring as a signet was something that only wealthy families did since having a signet required you to have a family crest engraved on the ring. Seeing a person with a signet ring on their pinky fingers was a sure way to know they were a part of the elite class.
Nowadays, you’ll seldom see people use signets again; however, that association of the pinky ring with wealth and power has largely remained today. These days, the pinky rings do not have crests and initials but high-quality gemstones that stand out. It’s not uncommon for people who want to look wealthy and powerful but aren’t to also wear these pinky rings.
9. Fashion Item
Nowadays, almost every symbolic piece of dressing has become a fashion statement, and it’s the same with the pinky ring. What once held some significant value to different people for various reasons is now worn by many for the simple reason that it looks good.
A pinky ring is usually a beautiful fashion statement because it is very easy to notice since it is worn on the end of your hand. Also, the fact that it is not a “conventional finger” to wear a ring makes it hard to miss when someone is wearing one.
In some parts of the world, wearing pinky rings solely as a fashion accessory is not the best idea. For instance, you should not wear a pinky ring in areas where gang violence is rife, and a pinky ring symbolizes affiliation.
10. Spiritual Reasons
People wear all sorts of rings for spiritual reasons in different world religions, and some men wear pinky rings on their fingers as a religious ritual. Mercury (the Greek god), associated with intelligence, intuition, persuasion, and communication, is supposed to be represented by the pinky. The exaltation of these qualities of Mercury makes artists and creatives wear rings on their pinky fingers.
Also, some people wear rings on their pinky fingers for luck. This belief in a pinky ring for luck is the reason why you would regularly see professional poker players wear them while they play.
How To Wear A Pinky Ring
Without even trying, a pinky ring will naturally catch the attention of people you come in contact with. However, you can apply a few tips to ensure that the ring stands out more when you wear it.
Firstly, let it be the only ring you wear. While you could go full Johnny Depp and don multiple rings on every finger, you’ll want to keep every other finger bare if you plan to highlight your pinky ring. Alternatively, you can stack your other rings on the pinky finger.
When taking pictures, try to position your hands so that the ring is visible without being an overt showoff. Prince Charles seems to have mastered this art of showing off his pinky ring without appearing to do it on purpose, as you’ll find in most of his public appearances.
Should You Never Trust A Man With A Pinky Ring?
While movies like Little Caesar and The Godfather would have you believe that wearing a pinky ring is a sure sign of a mob boss, that isn’t the truth. Not every man who wears pinky rings runs a cartel, is a mafioso, or a spoilt brat. Men can wear pinky rings for several reasons, and the pinky ring to each wearer means something different.
The only way to be sure what the pinky ring means to the wearer is to ask them, which could be a great conversation starter. Some men might have a sentimental reason behind wearing them that might help you get to understand them better.