A ring is a round band, usually of metal worn as ornamental jewelry The term "ring" by itself always denotes jewellery worn on the finger; when worn as an ornament elsewhere, the body part is specified within the term, e.g., earrings, neck rings, arm rings, and toe rings. Rings always fit snugly around or in the part of the body they ornament, so bands worn loosely, like a bracelet are not rings. Rings may be made of almost any hard material: wood, bone, stone, metal, glass, gemstone, or plastic. They may be set with gemstones (diamond, ruby, sapphire, or emerald) or with other types of stone or glass.
Although some wear rings as mere ornaments or as conspicuous displays of wealth, rings have symbolic functions concerning marriage, exceptional achievement, high status or authority, membership in an organization, and the like. Rings can be made to sport insignia which may be impressed on a wax seal or outfitted with a small compartment in which to conceal things. In myth, fable, and fiction, rings are often endowed with spiritual or supernatural significance.
Rings and other types of jewelry including necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, bangles and pendants have been discovered from the 3rd millennium BC Indus Valley civilization. Factories of small beads have been discovered in Lothal, India
(Ancient Indian ring)
Ancient Near East
Finger rings have been found in tombs in Ur dating back to circa 2500 BC. The Hittite civlization produced rings, including signet rings, only a few of which have been discovered. People in Old Kingdom Egypt wore a variety of finger rings, of which a few examples have been found, including the famous scarab design. Rings became more common during the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, containing increasingly complex designs. Egyptians made not only metal rings but rings from faience some of which were used as new year gifts. Native styles were superseded by Greek and Roman fashions during the Ptolemic Dynasty.
(Ancient Near East ring)
Archaic and classical Greek
Archaic Greek rings were to some extent influenced by Egyptian rings, although they tended to be less substantial and were not generally used as working signet rings. As gold was not locally available, rings made in the eastern colonies tended to be made from silver and bronze, while Etruscans used gold.
The classical period showed a shift away from bronze to a wider adoption of silver and gold. The most typical design of the period involved a lozenge bezel mounting an intaglio device. Over time, the bezel moved towards a more circular form
(Ancient Greek ring)
Henig II rings from the Snettisham Jeweller's Hoard During the early and middle imperial era (first two centuries AD), a typical Roman ring consisted of a thick hoop that tapered directly into a slightly wider bezel. An engraved oval gem would be embedded within the bezel with the top of the gem only rising slightly above the surrounding ring material. Such rings are known as Henig II and III/Guiraud 2 in formal academic parlance or simply as Roman rings to modern jewellers. In general, Roman rings became more elaborate in the third and fourth centuries AD.
(Ancient Roman ring)
High and Late Middle Ages in Europe
During this period, it was fashionable for multiple rings to be worn on each hand and each finger. Rings during this period were mostly made from copper-based alloys, silver or gold. Gems became common after 1150, along with the belief that certain gems had the power to help or protect the wearer in various ways. Engraved rings were produced using Lombardic script until around 1350, when it was replaced by Gothic script. Some of the inscriptions were devotional, others romantic in nature. For romantic inscriptions, French was the language of choice. An increasing use of contracts and other documents requiring formal seals meant that signet rings became more important from the 13th century onwards.
(Ancient European Middle Ages ring)
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