Symbolism of a Gold Ring

By Patricia Rose Lynn ; Updated September 15, 2017
Golden rings can represent different things.

A symbol is an object, sound, word or picture that represents something else by association or convention. Golden rings are often used by individuals and in film, television, literature and ceremonies to represent a variety of emotions, relationships and concepts.

Love and Fidelity

In many cases, a ring symbolizes the love and commitment to fidelity between two people. Engagement and wedding rings, often gold or silver, are traditionally worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once believed that a vein connected this finger directly to the heart.

Eternity

Rings are closed circles with no beginning or end. As a result, many ancient cultures including the Egyptians associated rings with the idea of wholeness and everlasting life and love. Today, eternity rings are often given in celebration of an anniversary or the birth of a child as a symbol of eternal love.

Friendship

Rings can also symbolize a close and platonic relationship between individuals. This is a possible interpretation of the Irish Claddagh ring's clasping hands, depending on how the ring is worn. Friendship rings are traditionally worn on the little finger and sold in pairs.

Power

Rings are also used to represent power and their corruptibility. This is a common interpretation of the golden One Ring, a central plot element in J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy fiction. The One Ring, entrusted to a pure-of-heart Hobbit, must be destroyed least it lead to the enslavement of all Middle Earth.

Status and Wealth

Rings made of gold and embellished with precious stones and other metals can symbolize the wealth and status of the wearer. Film, television and literary characters shown or described as wearing ostentatious rings arguably offer an immediate cue to the audience about the wearer's social status and personal wealth.

Membership

Many members of clubs, organizations and academic institutions wear rings to symbolize their inclusion as part of a specific group. Membership rings often incorporate symbols, text or colors specific to the organization they represent.

About the Author

Patricia Rose Lynn completed her Ph.D. in Spanish language and literature in 2009 and holds several information-technology and teaching certifications. In addition to her teaching and work in academic technology, Lynn works as a freelance writer and has authored many articles on such topics as the college selection process and animal rights.