Kirsten Dunst wears one. So does fashion maven Gwyneth Paltrow. The pinky ring carries enough mystique to even inspire music, as evidenced by Wu Tang Clan’s song “Uzi (Pinky Ring”) in which the lyric aligns wearing pinky rings with “the legend of masked kid.” So what’s all the hype about? There are a few stories and urban legends that go around about the significance of the pinky ring.
Despite all the speculation, the primary function of a pinky ring is simple: fashion. A pinky ring is one of those gender-neutral forms of accessorizing. For men, it can evoke a fashionable tone, or it can look a little mobster or hip hop, with gold and diamonds advertising your net worth. For women, it can be simple and neutral. or it can have some dazzle.
Because pinky rings are a bit more of a rarity in the fashion world, people may wear them to show allegiance to a group or a society. Such is the case with people who participate in a ceremony known as the Ritual of the Calling of the Engineer. In this ritual, an engineer wears an iron ring on her pinky to symbolize pride in the profession but maintaining a humility to serve others.
Wearing a particular type of pinky ring can also be a mark of status. One such example are signet rings, which members of a Scottish clan wear on their pinky finger. The symbol on a signet ring indicates an individual’s rank within the clan.
For those who think that pinky rings are only delicate, fey adornments, think again. Although pinky rings were popular among gay men between the 1950s and 1970s, a pinky ring is no longer an indicator of sexual orientation. The styles at ThugFashion (see Resources below) almost look like weapons rather than jewelry. The rings made to wrap around two, three or four fingers resemble brass knuckles. Then there is the bling. There are diamond dollar signs, chunky lead-cut bruisers, stacked rings and even one that features a winning hand of blackjack.
Unlike other rings that you can switch between fingers to find the perfect fit, pinky rings require careful sizing. Women with wider fingers do not have a problem, because they can use rings intended for other fingers on their pinkies. However, men with narrow fingers have a tougher time finding a good fit and the generally skimpier styles of pinky rings make them easier to slip off and lose. Some men look for more gender-neutral styles among women’s pinky rings to secure a good fit.