Jewelry Guide

Why Wear a Right-Hand Ring?

Affiliate Disclosures

As Jewelry Shopping Guide editors, we write about things that we love and we think you’ll like too. We often have affiliate partnerships, and may generate some revenue from these links at no cost to you.

While left hand rings have come to represent engagements and weddings, right hand rings have their own symbolism. Often worn to celebrate being single or to mark an important occasion, right-hand rings are a way to celebrate yourself.

Let’s take a look at what right-hand rings can represent and how to choose the perfect right hand ring for yourself.

What is a Right-Hand Ring?

A right-hand ring is a ring that a woman wears on the right hand. There are no specific rules on how to wear a right-hand ring, unlike rings worn on the left hand. Typically, right-hand rings are bought by women for themselves, often to commemorate an important personal occasion.

Right-hand rings come in a variety of styles and types and can either be statement rings or something more subtle. The choice is up to you as there really are no rules to right-hand rings.

Meaning of Right-Hand Rings

While a right-hand ring might seem like just a fashion statement, in fact there’s a lot of symbolism in the piece. Unlike an engagement ring, which is given by a man to a woman to symbolize their commitment, a right-hand ring is all about a woman’s freedom and rights. Many famous figures have worn rings on the fourth finger of their right hand, including Elizabeth Taylor and Bette Davis. True, it’s a fashion choice but there’s more to it.

Since the 1920s, women have been wearing right-hand rings as a sign of economic independence and making their own choices. During the prohibition era women, when alcohol was prohibited, women wore large, statement right-hand rings as they enjoyed alcoholic beverages in illegal parties where alcohol was served, hence the term ‘cocktail ring’.

Wearing a ring on your right hand symbolizes your freedom, femininity and achievements. It’s a way to celebrate what you have achieved for yourself and because it isn’t connected with marriage or relationships, it’s a ring that you wear purely for yourself.

As DeBeers, in a 2003 right-hand ring ad campaign, put it ‘Your left hand says we, but your right hand says me’. The ad campaign was so successful that the sale of diamonds surged after it came out.

de beers right hand ring campaign

Source: DeBeers

There’s nothing wrong with ‘we’ but every now and then, it’s nice to celebrate ‘me’.

But what if your spouse gives you a ring for your right hand? This can be interpreted as a statement of love or a renewal of vows.

When to Buy or Give a Right-Hand Ring

There are many reasons to buy a right-hand ring, whether for yourself or for someone else. Here are some:

If you’re buying your own right-hand ring, it could be to celebrate a promotion at work, a milestone birthday or even a divorce. You could simply be celebrating being economically independent and achieving financial success.

If you’re buying someone a right-hand ring, some important occasions would be Valentine’s Day, an important anniversary or as an engagement ring. Another option is to purchase a right-hand ring for a new mom, which can then be passed down to the child when they achieve their own milestones.

Which Finger Do You Wear a Right-Hand Ring On?

There are no rules as to which finger to wear your right-hand ring on. You can pick the most comfortable or stylish finger that you prefer.

However, note that there can be confusion when you wear a right-hand ring on the fourth finger. In some regions like Russia, India and Scandinavian and South American countries, traditionally engagement rings are worn on the right hand. Many who follow the Catholic tradition also prefer to wear their engagement ring on the right hand, while in Germany, either hand is fine for engagement rings.

So the takeaway?

When wearing a right-hand ring, note that you may be mistaken for being engaged or in a relationship when you’re not.

Types of Right-Hand Rings

Whatever your reason for wearing a right-hand ring, the type of ring you choose is often purely a fashion choice. Here are some popular right-hand ring designs:

  1. Statement Rings – Also known as cocktail rings, these are large, attention-getting designs that catch the eye. Statement rings are costume jewelry, made using faux or inexpensive gemstones and metals. However, if you have the budget, cocktail rings made using stunning gemstones and precious metals are a must.

Unique right hand cocktail ring

Vintage moonstone right hand cocktail ring. See it here.

  1. Stacking Rings – Stacking has been in style for years now and there’s no sign of it stopping. If you’re not into a single large ring, try picking out a few minimalist styles and stacking them one over the other one a single finger. You can also wear these spread across your fingers for an intriguing look.

Stacking rings with black stone

Set of beautiful stacking rings. See them here.

  1. Eternity Rings– These are typically worn to mark an important wedding anniversary but they can also serve as a classic right hand ring to be worn on any preferred finger.

Eternity diamond ring

Timeless eternity ring. See it here.

  1. Promise Rings – A promise ring is worn to signify a promise or commitment to your romantic partner and serves as a pre-engagement ring, if that makes sense. First you promise, then you get engaged and finally you get married with a ring worn at each of these stages. Typically, promise rings are worn on the right hand, to avoid confusion with an engagement ring.

Promise ring silver

Meaningful Claddagh promise ring. See it here.

  1. Diamond Rings – If a diamond is a girl’s best friend, she doesn’t have to wait for someone to buy it for her if she can afford it herself, right? Buying a diamond ring for yourself is a sign of achievement; after all, this is a huge purchase that not many can afford.

Diamond right hand ring for independent women

Unique diamond ring. See it here.

  1. Vintage Right-Rings – Vintage right-hand rings hold an extra layer of meaning. Whether you’re wearing one that was given to you by your grandmother or mother, or whether you’ve bought yourself a ring from decades ago, these rings carry their own stories, often a story of a woman’s triumph and celebration.

Vintage pearl ring

Gorgeous vintage pearl ring. See it here.

Where to Find Right-Hand Rings

This depends on the type of right-hand ring you’re after. If you’re planning to splurge and buy a valuable ring, then ensure that you purchase from a reputable and trustworthy seller. For diamonds and precious gemstones, we recommend searching on James Allen or Blue Nile for the best prices, quality and streamlined shopping experience.

For less expensive designs, you can begin your search on Etsy as they have a stunning range of rings at a wide variety of prices and styles.

Jewelry Guide
Logo