A ring makes a personal statement, reflecting the character and lifestyle of the wearer. It is usually the first piece of jewellery worn or owned by a person in a western culture. Children may start off wearing gaudy plastic rings, with plastic “gemstones”. Teenage girls will graduate to pewter or stirling silver jewellery sometimes with semi precious stones. Boys will tend towards less flashy rings, and later on men are less likely to wear gemstones even when they can afford to do so.
A ring can represent an attachment to another person,(friendship, engagement or wedding rings) as well as signifying social status and financial achievement. Its purchase can be a celebration marking a new stage in life or simply a frivolous act of retail therapy. A ring can indicate a person’s political views on wealth, eg, a tribal ring or no precious metal ring in western cultures worn by an adult may signify the rejection of modern wealth values, expensive gold jewellery would signify the reverse, an embracing of wealth is good.
A ring has to mean so many different things to so many different people that the gemstone becomes an essential feature of design, without which it would be impossible to fulfill all the demands made on this piece of jewelry.
The ring is the item of jewelry most often worn by women and men and it is also the form most frequently set with gemstones.