Black rings are starting to catch on this side of the pond. People can wear whatever they like and make it mean whatever they want it to. Still, there are some guidelines from trend-setting areas of the world, and well established jewelry and ornamentation traditions that folks adopting the black ring thing may want to be aware of.
Before we begin, let me say that goths and rockers, as well as many Mediterranean women, like to wear black and accessorize accordingly. So it isn’t really safe to assume things about someone just from looking. You may get it all wrong. So approach anyone with respect, and find a respectful way to inquire what someone’s situation is to prevent sudden traumatic tooth loss.
The ring symbolism thing isn’t just about marketing. Various traditions of palmistry note the significance of the type and placement of rings. What color and materials you choose, as well as which finger you wear your ring on tell what attribute in yourself you are attempting to amplify or draw attention to, or perhaps even soothe.
Old School Meanings of a Black Ring
In times past, black rings were a symbol of mourning, in the west. The victorian era saw a lot of mourning jewelry, partly because people were dying young in droves, and partly because this comfort with death became fashionable.
In the east however, black jewelry, rings included were, and still often are, worn for protection. So the most likely reason someone is wearing a black ring is because of this. As you’ll see later in the materials section of this article, many protective minerals and metals happen to be black.
The Known Recent Trends
As of 2016, a black ring on the right middle finger means that someone is asexual or extreme celibate, or at least not open to sexual approaches at the moment. This makes sense, as the middle finger is the “diddle” finger for most people, and wearing a ring on it could mean they are not using and therefore free to ornament that part of themselves, or so in love with their middle finger that they are monogamous to it. Whether they’re into identifying labels or not, it means that you shouldn’t be trying to shag them unless you are a masochist.
A black thumb ring, some say, indicates that a woman is a SuperLesbian, meaning they have absolutely no interest in males at all. However, in my observation of the club scene, black thumb rings on a male or female indicate that someone is into orgies and PnP (party and play, getting high on drugs and having sex). This is especially so if the ring has any brain teaser/special optical effects. This may be someone who is anti penis, or someone who is so into your penis on shrooms.
A black ring on any other finger of the right hand could indicate that someone is a swinger or polyamorous. Local customs vary on the specifics.
This particular trend may be transforming or phasing out now that some celebrities and high status people have come out of the side-chick closet. Now we have the Infinity Ring in varying forms, to delineate the polyamorous from the party/casual swingers. So if you see one of those in any color on the left ring finger, that is someone who is into polyfidelity. They may or may not be open to new additional relationships, but the conversation is going to be very interesting. There doesn’t seem to be any agreement on the exact shape except that many like the heart with the infinity symbol running through it. Some find this somewhat tacky or scary and implying that one is searching (desperately) for love though, so they’ll opt for just an infinity or infinite loop type styles. The open ring was a thing for some, but others felt that this implied that their marriage or relationship was broken.
Some polyamory indicating rings may be more subtle than others. Wearing three rings or a three ring set on the left ring finger may be an up and coming indicator of polyamory/polyfidelity. Many though, stick with the black ring theme, but wear a black bridal set on the right ring finger, and also maybe their normal one on their left ring finger.
…but wait, there is one more meaning in there that is a few decades old, but still very relevant. A black bridal set or black ring on the right ring finger may mean that they are Gay/Lesbian/Trans and spiritually married, but living in a place where their marriage cannot be legally recognized or stating support for marriage freedom. Some people in places where poly marriages are illegal and unions aggressively persecuted may also wear black wedding rings on the right or left ring fingers. The struggle is still on for many consenting adults to be able to live together in peace.
Niches of Niches
Because of the afore mentioned palmistry issues, certain people or groups have different codes or tendencies. Alpha type women of varying alternative scenes tend to wear rings on their index fingers, as do sorcery inclined men. Alpha type men often like to wear a pinky ring.
So if you see a guy with black rings on both his index and pinky fingers of either hand, he may be a male witch, sorcerer, or at least occultist. Because the “sign of the horns” may mean The Horned One, or “I’m horny,” though, it may mean that the guy is willing to shag your wife or girlfriend and let you watch. Sometimes it means both. Context is everything.
A ring with a black stone may mean something too, depending on the details. A black onyx stone could mean mafia connection, or that the person is very confident or trying to increase their confidence.
A black ring with a rainbow stone or many colors of stones may mean that whatever kind of alternative someone is, they are into same sex relations. Purple indicates bisexuality or androgyny. Blue indicates that someone is dominant or top.
A black ring with a real ruby, especially a star ruby is likely worn by a spiritual polyamorous person who is aware of ruby’s filtering properties. They want to signal their ability to love flexibly, but to actively repel people with bad/exploitative intentions. Any reddish stone should tell the boring to beware, as even red glass has certain well known mystical properties that basically say that if you cross that person, you are fucked in the bad way. Even a carnelian (orange-ish) agate on a black ring means that person knows how to curse you in a way that you can never get rid of it…especially if that curse is carved on the stone of the ring they wore on the day you first had sex. If you ever hurt them, you will probably die or come to wish you had.
A red, black, and green ring may mean that person is “stay Black”, even if they don’t look visibly African. Not only this, but if they are of childbearing age, they may be of a mind that they would prefer to make babies with someone significantly darker skinned than themselves. Though it may happen anyway, this is not a style that non Africans who are not active practitioners of an ATR (African traditional religion) should take on.
An RBG wedding or engagement set means that they successfully stayed Black, and are happy to let everybody know that.
Some interethnic couples, or those open to such unions, opt for two-tone, especially black and white gold combinations, Damascus steel or mokume gane rings.
Black Ring Materials
Here are a few materials and stones that may be used for black rings, and what they do or represent.
Azabache/jet/lignite/black amber – protection, buffers and “absorbs and diffuses” negative or misplaced energy, particularly protective against unconscious ill will a.k.a. “evil eye”, a favorite of South Americans and Mongolian people.
Black coral – deep water elemental energy, helps one to accept and deal with one’s dark side. Very emotionally stabilizing, and protective against trauma when one is going into known dangerous situations. A favorite of Tibetans.
In Indonesia, a special technique is used to prepare “akar bahar” or the root of the coral, and the resulting items are considered protective and useful in magic.
Black diamond – protection by reflection of negativity back to the sender, and maintenance of extreme optimism.
According to Gemvara:
A black diamond ring says you are not like anyone else. Carrie Bradshaw received a black diamond engagement ring in Sex and the City 2, accelerating the trend for black diamond engagement rings which continues today. Carmen Electra also has a black diamond engagement ring. The desire for black diamond rings dates back to the golden days of Hollywood: Carole Lombard received a princess-cut black diamond ring from Clark Gable.
Black diopside – protection, grounding meaning reinforcing conscious connection to the Earth/Nature. Black star diopside is particularly protective.
Black obsidian – aggressively protective, unlike jet it not only diffuses and reflects bad energy, but fires it back with interest.
Black onyx/black chalcedony/black agate – increases confidence and physical endurance, protects one from enemies, reduces conflict, but may also cause or indicate separation.
Black rhodium plating – facilitates longevity, stabilizes yet amplifies the properties of metals it is bonded to, vibrates positively in a way that is advantageous and profitable to the wearer
Black/near black sapphire – protection, reducing chaos, necromancy or connection to the Ancestors
Black spinel – very protective in warding off negative energy and people, also good for detox and times in life one needs to slough off the dead weight so to speak.
Black tourmaline – protective and balancing.
Copper oxide (CuO) – commonly used in black enamel and other black paints and resins, it is protective and promoting longevity. It also conducts energy.
Ebony wood – protective by way of channeling the wearer’s and their surroundings’ energy, directs power +intent of the wearer very precisely
Iron, hematite, and steel – protection particularly from witchcraft and psychic attacks, it also facilitates calm when facing morality or mortal dangers. It is a lucky and protective metal across cultures, and in west Africa, is particularly sacred to Ogun and similar Earth deities.
Silicone – Earth elemental protection by allowing the person to adapt or “flex” to various situations. Generally worn by soldiers and athletes who need an alternative to traditional metal rings. Also useful to cooks and others working with their hands.
Tungsten – protection and endurance, it tends to indicate that one is or wishes to be very resilient and resistant to external influences.
So basically, black rings are a thing, and they may or may not mean many things. Black is a color that goes with everything, so don’t take the presence of just one black ring to mean anything. If you see it in combination with multiple indicators though, it may mean something. Just remember to be respectful before opening your mouth. Rings can leave a nasty mark.