Thumb rings have been worn by both men and women throughout history. This unique piece of jewelry is more than a simple fashion statement: it has many meanings including signifying status to a classification of one's sexual orientation.
Sign of Rank
Throughout history the thumb ring has signified a rank of status among men, with the most ornate and heaviest rings signifying among the most powerful. In China, thumb rings were made of jade or glass and were a sign of a military rank.
Protection in Archery
Thumb rings were used by men in archery to protect the skin against injury. Composed of wood, ivory, metal, plastic, glass or stone, thumb rings for archery were often massive in size and shape.
It is believed that wearing a thumb ring signifies strength, independence, and individuality. The bigger the thumbs rings, the more independence and freedom a person is trying to express.
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In Europe during the sixteenth century, thumb rings were worn to signify a profession, specifically among individuals in the medical field such as doctors.
Left or Right
Thumb rings can be worn on the right or left hand. When worn on the left hand, a thumb ring reflects a persons inner thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. When worn on the right, a thumb ring signifies conscious and logical thoughts.
Individuals who are homosexual wear thumb rings to classify their sexual orientation and relationship status. A ring placed on the left hand indicates that an individual is in a relationship, while a ring placed on the right means that they are single.
Serena Norr has been a New York-based writer and editor since 2001. Her articles have appeared in "Time Out New York," "Tea & Coffee Trade Journal," "Time Out New York," "Film Monthly," "Shecky's," "Princeton Review" and "Beyond Race." Norr specializes in health and wellness, motherhood, and beauty-related topics. She attained her Bachelors of Arts in English at Hunter College.