Common Ring Symbols and What They Mean

Common Ring Symbols and What They Mean

Jewelry goes beyond adding aesthetic value to a look – it adds meaning, makes a statement, and helps define the wearer’s sense of self. Certain kinds of jewelry designs, especially those steeped in rich history, are believed to help the wearer invoke certain positive values, promote good energy, and protect the wearer from malevolent forces.

Rings are one of the most meaningful forms of jewelry and are universally flattering due to their unintrusive size. When crafted with striking and significant symbols, they can elevate a simple look into a statement.

Here are four common ring symbols and what they stand for.

The Meaning Behind 4 Popular Ring Symbols

1. Hamsa

While it’s closely linked to spirituality and many religions today, the Hamsa predates any organized religion. It was first seen in ancient Mesopotamia, but its usage evolved and spread as civilizations expanded and people traveled.

The Hamsa is commonly used as a protective talisman to ward off bad energy and attract positive energy. Some Hamsa hands are designed with an eye that protects the wearer from malevolent forces. It’s said that when the Hamsa hand is worn facing downwards, it signifies that the wearer welcomes prosperity, good fortune, and the universe’s goodness. Meanwhile, if the Hamsa is worn upward and has an eye, it protects the wearer from bad luck and evil energy.

The Hamsa’s meaning and symbolism differ across cultures and religions, such as:

  • Hinduism and Buddhism – The five fingers symbolize the five chakras (sacral, throat, root, solar plexus, and heart) that align with the body’s five senses.
  • Islam – While it’s often referred to as “The Hand of Fatima,” who was the Prophet Mohammed’s daughter and is generally considered a symbol of protection and good luck, the two sects of Islam have opposing views on some aspects of the Hamsa. According to Shi’ite Muslims, the Hamsa represents the five People of the Cloak. On the other hand, Sunni Muslims believe that the five fingers symbolize the five pillars of Islam.
  • Judaism – The five fingers symbolize the five books of the Torah, namely Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers. It also serves as a reminder to praise God with the five senses.
  • Christianity – The usage of the Hamsa is debatable among Christians but some accept it as a talisman that represents the hand of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and it can be used to call on her protection.

2. Evil Eye

This is an eye-shaped symbol that is used to protect against misfortune and malicious forces. It’s often designed in striking shades of blue or green. The belief, which is referred to as “mati,” dates back to ancient Greece, approximately the 6th century BC. It first appeared on drinking vessels and has been referenced by philosophers like Plato, Plutarch, and Hesiod.

According to Greek philosopher Plutarch, the eyes are the main source of fatal rays from the recesses of a person with the evil eye. It’s believed that being on the receiving end of a malevolent glare, usually when you are unaware, can leave you cursed.

It’s important to note that the protective Evil Eye symbol is different from the Evil Eye that casts negative energy and bad luck upon others. The true Evil Eye is a cursed glare, usually inspired by dislike or envy, that casts malicious energy on the person it’s directed at. The concept was captured by Greek author Heliodorus of Emesa in his novel Aethiopica – “when anyone looks at what is excellent with an envious eye, he fills the surrounding atmosphere with a pernicious quality and transmits his own envenomed exhalations into whatever is nearest to him.”

On the other hand, the symbol of the Evil Eye protects you from that negativity.

evil eye pendant common ring symbols

3. Elephant

Being the largest land mammals, elephants are majestic animals that are closely associated with positive attributes such as good luck, intelligence, wisdom, loyalty, and strength. Elephant jewelry makes a good gift as gifting it to someone equates to wishing them good luck, and it’s believed to bring good fortune to the wearer.

Elephants are respected in many cultures and religions. In Buddhism, it’s one of the seven treasures of the universal monarch. In Hinduism, one of the most loved deities, Ganesha, has the head of an elephant and the body of a boy. In both belief systems, elephants are revered vehicles for deities.

Elephants can represent intelligence, a belief that stems from the fact that they have a large brain (an average 11 pounds) and have exhibited complex behaviors like expressing grief and compassion, using tools, and engaging in communication and cooperation. They are also often used to symbolize wisdom as elephants have great memories. Their long lifespan, which can reach 70 years, is partially attributed to their ability to remember where food and water are, and what dangers to avoid.

Elephants can symbolize unity, strength, and family as they are herd-orientated creatures who are protective over their unit and their calves. Elephants also invoke good luck and majesty. In ancient civilizations like China and Cambodia, elephants were ridden to war and helped win battles.

According to feng shui practitioners, an elephant with its trunk upwards can promote the flow of good fortune into your life.

sterling silver elephant necklace

4. Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is popular imagery commonly linked to religion, but it also holds many secular meanings that make it universally relevant. It was mentioned in the book of Genesis in the Bible, the fruit of which would have given Adam and Eve eternal life. In the Middle Ages, it was a prominent symbol of Kabbalah and represented the 10 divine emanations.

In Mesopotamia’s pre-Jewish religion, it was depicted in various artworks, sometimes linked to the goddess of fertility. It was also occasionally associated with the World Tree which bridges the physical and spiritual worlds.

Outside of religion, the Tree of Life symbolizes the interconnectedness of the world. The circle is the world, while the branches and roots of the tree represent everything and everyone in it. The Tree of Life can also represent the family, with the branches and roots signifying the different generations and how families are ever-expanding. This design can also mean growth, as trees plant roots into the ground to become strong and grow upwards, as well as rebirth because trees lose leaves in the autumn but gain new life during spring.

tree of life bracelet

The jewelry you wear is so much more than a fashion statement. It tells a story. For handmade jewelry crafted with meaning and intention, shop with Himalaya Jewelry today.