Rings are powerful body ornaments. Beautifully illustrated by J.R.R. Tolkien, in The Lord of the Rings - rings exert an extraordinary power on people and have a personality of their own. For thousands of years, men and women from tribes to elites have worn them for various reasons, for beauty and vanity and power.
In medieval Europe, signet rings were used by nobles and kings to sign correspondence printing their family emblem on hot lacquer. In addition, rings have been used as ID badges to let others know that you belonged to a particular family or had specific professional credentials, your level of education, or was a spiritual leader, or that you're married. And without a doubt, even today's rings reveal who we are. Of all jewelry ornaments, rings are in a class of their own. As a jewelry maker, I noticed people tend to feel comfortable spending their money buying them. Somehow rings have unique value to them compared to other jewelry items. They think of it as an investment or value representing themselves or something they will leave as an inheritance.
Maybe they think others will remember them when they are gone because the ring will be there long after they pass away. Making rings, too, means the same to me. I feel that the rings I make will be around long after I too, pass away.
Rings will last for hundreds of years if they are well made and resilient; at some point, someone will melt them into something else or maybe not. But in most cases, they will be sold and reused until they are worn out and gone.
But the most exciting quality of a ring is that every family has a story to tell, and it involves a ring—stories of conflict and passion, with a not-so-good outcome. Rings hold so many emotions into humanity's psyche.
My family has two ring stories that cause people not to speak with each other for the rest of their lives. This is so sad. In this case, the ring showed its evil power. The story and its details are too convoluted to tell in this post but let's summarize that each side wanted and claimed the ring belonged to them. Both rings with a stone in them.
My wife's family also has a story about a ring. When my father-in-law passed away, one of the sons believed he was to inherit his father's ring as he claimed his father had promised, but the other siblings got into a fight about it.
Interestingly, these fierce disputes are not over a vast sum of money but a fight for the sentimental and emotional value the ring possesses.