What Does A Ring On the Thumb Mean? (Ask Cladright)

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We’re here today to talk about a question that has men and women wondering about their jewelry choices: What does a ring on the thumb mean? Does it really mean anything specific to the person wearing it, or is that just a rumor?

Depending on where you’re from and what generation you grew up in, the answers might surprise you. Because thumb rings have a long history of wear, and what it might mean to someone else might not be what it means to you.

Either way, we’ll be answering your most common questions about thumb rings — including, yes, addressing the elephant in the room of whether a thumb ring says anything about your sexual orientation. So let’s get into it!

Photo by Diogo Brandao

What Does It Mean If A Guy Wears A Thumb Ring?

According to some interpretations of wearing jewelry, the placement of rings on your fingers will either indicate that you possess certain qualities (like assertiveness, or intelligence), or that you’re trying to amplify them with the placement of your ring. 

In the case of thumb rings for men, this is taken to mean that wearing a thumb ring either indicates that you are more assertive and aggressive in life — taking what you want, and working hard to get it — or that you’re trying to become more assertive.

It’s also associated with power and influence, as in the case of ancient rulers wearing heavy, expensive rings on each finger.

Does wearing a man wearing a thumb ring mean those things today? We don’t think so.

As with clothing, the meaning of different jewelry pieces will change based on your culture and the time period you’re living in. And from what we’ve seen, guys today can choose to wear rings on any of their fingers without worrying about whether they’re giving off a bad vibe, or expressing a hidden meaning.

What Does A Thumb Ring Mean Sexually?

In a story by Vice magazine on the history and origins of the thumb ring, they explore a common story about these long-running pieces of jewelry: That they indicate whether a man or woman is gay or straight. Where does this come from?

The author has an interesting observation:

“As a piece of jewellery, it sits neither at the traditionally ‘feminine’ nor ‘masculine’ end of the spectrum.”

Meaning that, for people who do not conform to gender norms, a thumb ring can be a natural statement of their sexuality.

But does this mean that wearing a thumb ring always shows that a person is gay or lesbian? Not at all. While thumb rings have become a symbol of queer culture, they’re worn by people of all sexual orientations around the globe, and shouldn’t automatically be assumed to identify a person’s sexual preferences.

Are Thumb Rings Tacky?

You know the tricky thing about tacky jewelry and clothing? It’s not that any particular item is tacky — it’s how you wear it, where you wear it, and when you wear it. Anything that looks obviously out of place can be tacky, from dress shoes with cargo shorts to a big diamond ring with jeans and a t-shirt.

The same is true for thumb rings.

If you choose a big, immediately noticeable thumb ring to wear with your dressy attire, it’s probably going to come off as tacky.

Go for a minimalist take on a thumb ring and wear it with a smart t-shirt and chinos, though, and it’ll be a great accent piece.

Wrapping Things Up: Should You Wear A Thumb Ring?

With all of that in mind, you should be able to decide for yourself when it’s appropriate to wear a thumb ring — and when it might be better left in your jewelry box.


Have you tried wearing a thumb ring? Or maybe you’re looking for a way to add one to your outfits, so you feel comfortable wearing it? DM us on Instagram and let us know.

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