Jewelry Guide

What is a Bishop Ring and What Does It Mean?

Affiliate Disclosures

The Catholic Church’s highest clergy are identified by their bishop rings. When a bishop is honored, the archbishop or pope presents him with a gold ring and other insignia. It serves as a reminder that he is a church member. In fact, the bishop has the power to accept or buy other rings as gifts. 

Catholic insignia is typically frowned upon in the fashion world. However, attributes of religion are increasingly being incorporated into fashion. Some people already feel confident wearing big amethyst rings that resemble bishops’ jewelry.  

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So, let’s take a look more into the bishop ring and why it’s now significant to the current fashion trends. 

What is a Bishop Ring? 

Bishop rings are an essential component of a bishop’s clothing and part of a long-held tradition within the Church. The privilege of wearing a bishop ring, which serves as a continual reminder of the wearer’s dedication to God, the church, and their congregation, is reserved for the select few church members who ascend to the position of a bishop. 

During the Ordination, the bishop is given the ring. The custom of kissing the episcopal ring dates back to the Middle Ages when it was regarded as a gesture of courtesy and obedience to the monarch. 

Bishop rings are frequently crafted of gold and have an amethyst stone in the middle. There were times when designs ranged from simple gold bands with a dainty stone to thick, elaborate bands with huge gemstones of any kind at the center. 

History of Bishop Rings 

The custom of wearing gold jewelry dates back thousands of years. Long before Christianity, priests in the Roman Empire would display their adherence to the Jupiter cult by wearing gold rings. Gold rings have since come to symbolize religious emblems. Regarding bishops, the custom of placing gold signet rings on their fingers dates back to the 7th century CE. 

The tradition of wearing bishop rings was practiced around 600 CE. Since then, bishop rings symbolized the marriage of the bishop and the church.  

A bishop used to wear this ring on the ring finger of his right hand. Additionally, popes, clerics, and others wore a variety of Christian religious rings, including the Episcopal ring. The congregation forbade the synchronized wearing of a few grand rings around the late 19th century, which ended the tradition. 

Meaning of Bishop Rings 

A bishop ring signifies two things:  

  • A union with the church  
  • Respect for episcopal authority 

The former meaning evolves from honorary ideas of papal power, as stated in the Ceremonial of Bishops.  

Bishops have always used their rings to stamp important papers, which is why they once had engravings that essentially served as the bishop’s sign. 

Bishop Rings That You Might Like 

We’ve rounded up some of the best bishop rings to suit your style and personality: 

1. Amethyst Yellow Gold Men’s Bishop Ring 

Amethyst Yellow Gold Men's Bishop Ring
Amethyst Yellow Gold Men’s Bishop Ring by Sterling Malee. See it here.

A massive oval amethyst in the traditional purple tone serves as the ring’s centerpiece. It is thought to stand for monarchy, spirituality, and purity.

This bishop ring is decorated with 32 tiny cubic zirconia stones to enhance its brilliance. Nobody can escape the ring’s outstanding design. Two raised crosses, one of which is embellished with a floral motif, decorate the band on the sides. 

2. Marquise Amethyst Women’s Bishop Ring 

Marquise Amethyst Women's Bishop Ring
Marquise Amethyst Women’s Bishop Ring by Sterling Malee. See it here.

This elegant bishop ring is a work of true beauty for a woman with a unique sense of style. A marquise-cut violet amethyst stone shines out from its center, surrounded by sparkling stones, for the elegance you deserve. Along the band, it also features a bishop pastoral staff mark, making this jewelry piece a conversation starter.  

3. Red Ruby Yellow Gold Men’s Bishop Ring 

Red Ruby Yellow Gold Men's Bishop Ring
Red Ruby Yellow Gold Men’s Bishop Ring by Sterling Malee. See it here.

A stylish addition for the contemporary gent, this bishop ring features a synthetic red ruby, adding charm to every outfit. The ring is made from sterling silver, which is lavishly plated with 14k yellow gold. It also features a halo and 36 clear stones that catch everyone’s attention, making it ideal for red carpet occasions. 

4. Cushion-Cut Amethyst Men’s Bishop Ring 

Cushion-Cut Amethyst Men's Bishop Ring
Cushion-Cut Amethyst Men’s Bishop Ring by Sterling Malee. See it here.

This gorgeous ring has every characteristic of a magnificent design. It features a deep violet amethyst stone and clear stones, catching the light from all directions. Wear it alone and let every little detail shine through effortlessly. 

5. Peridot Bishop Ring 

Peridot Bishop Ring
Peridot Bishop Ring by Sterling Malee. See it here.

This classically styled ring exudes luxury and is sure to draw everyone’s attention. It has a lavish design with a peridot stone, creating a sense of royalty, and dazzling stones set in 14k yellow gold. It also features a crucifix design, making it a meaningful jewelry piece. 

Reasons to Buy a Bishop Ring 

Bishop Ring
Unisex Bishop Ring by Jewel Abench. See it here.

These days, you don’t have to be a devout religious person to wear a piece inspired by a bishop ring as a fashion accessory.  

Religious motifs frequently serve as the basis for costume jewelry, such as a cross, but their connotations have changed. No exception applies to bishop rings. 

Here are the reasons why it’s time to add a bishop ring to your collection. 

1. An Exceptional and Attention-Grabbing Piece 

Custom Bishop rings are fairly large, thick, and heavy, much like any other jewelry made for the church. Anyone who sees the magnificent ring on your finger won’t be able to ignore it. Bishop rings are the ideal finishing touch to your outfit, whether you choose to wear them with a casual outfit or go all out. 

2. A Unique Fashion Item to Complete Your Look 

All bishop rings share the same basic concept, although each has a different design. Bishop rings are also unique compared to other items available on the market. Despite not precisely adhering to signet standards, they have a signet-like form.  

The main idea is that it is unlikely that you will run into someone else wearing the same ring one day. These rings succeed in their goal of making you stand out from the crowd. 

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3. A Style that Stays Relevant for a Long Time 

Bishop rings are timeless pieces of jewelry that exist outside of trends. You don’t have to be concerned that your purchase will quickly become obsolete. You have a wide range of possibilities to improve your appearance with an always-in-style piece of jewelry. In addition, it is a long-term, wise investment. 

4. A High-Value Piece for Your Luxurious Collection 

The majority of the bishop ring models are made of gold, and given how enormous these rings are, they contain a substantial amount of precious metal. Additionally, they display a large amethyst or other stones, which raises their value even more. These rings eventually attain the status and privilege of wearing luxury. 

5. Wide Variety of Designs to Choose From 

Several bishop rings available in silver if you’re not a fan of gold. Bishop rings can be personalized to accommodate your preferences if you prefer other colors of gemstones like yellow, red, or blue. Even variants without any gem inlays are available. Some designs will instead highlight enamel, embossing, or engraving. 

Wrapping Up 

Gone are the days that bishop rings are only made for the highest members of the Christian clergy. Today, they are one of the most daring jewelry trends, thanks to their stunning design and statement-making look. 

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