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The Ring

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Fashion travels faster than light. What with the world shrinking into a global village. But what could be fashion for one part of the world could be tradition for the other. A tradition that might have taken centuries to cross the oceans, and the mountains and the plains. Garments, traditional or contemporary, are more conveniently popularized vis-à-vis traditional jewellery and accessories.

 For instance, saree, a traditional Indian wear had hit the fashion circuit in the west a couple of centuries back, but a very tradition piece of jewellery, the toe ring is a fresh entrant in the west. Talking of toe ring, adorning the most unthinkable body part with rings is the latest and the hottest trend. But the most popular and traditional forms of rings are the toe ring, finger rings, earrings and the nose ring. Let’s peek through the rings and learn more about the species.

Toe Ring: A toe ring is a ring worn on any of the toes. It is almost exclusively worn by women. Toe ring is a customary piece of jewellery worn by the married Hindu women in India. Like sindoor (vermillion) and mangalsutra (the pure thread), it signifies her married status. It is called bichiya in Hindi. They are usually made of silver and worn in pairs on the second toe of both feet. Today it is a fashion symbol and made out of various metals and non-metals and are also worn singly or in unmatched pairs. Traditionally they are quite ornate, though more contemporary designs are now being made. Gold is a respected metal among Hindus and is traditionally not worn below the waist, hence, toe rings are not made of gold. But now a days even this is not followed very strictly and an array of gold and diamond toe rings are available in the markets. In the west they are a relatively new fashion accesory. They are fast gaining popularity because they are as funky as a nose ring or earrings or any other ring, but do not require body piercing.

Finger Ring: A finger ring is a metal band worn as an ornament around a finger. The band could be studded with stones and precious or semi precious gems or could have a design carved out of the metal itself. Finger rings are worn by both men and women. Rings can be made of metal, plastic, wood, bone, glass, and other materials. Though usually worn as a piece of jewellery, specially by women, some of the most common finger rings types are as listed.

Engagement ring: A traditional ring worn by a woman to indicate her engagement to be married.

Wedding ring: A ring presented in many marriage ceremonies to signify marital commitment. Originally worn only by the woman, it is now common for both spouses to wear such a ring. The traditional “ring finger” for the wearing of an engagement or wedding ring is the third finger of the left hand due to the belief of the ancients that a vein of that finger ran directly to the heart, and that the nuptial sign was thus joined to the seat of life.

Championship ring: A ring presented to members of winning teams in professional sports leagues as well as college tournaments in North America.

Class ring: Worn by students and alumni in commemoration of their graduation.

Dinner ring: An oversized ring, set with precious or semiprecious stones.

Magic ring: Appears frequently in fantasy stories and fairy tales.

Mood ring: A novelty ring which changes color in response to body temperature, using a thermochromic liquid crystal.

Posies Ring: A ring with a short inscription on its outer surface.

Promise ring: A small, inexpensive ring given to a boyfriend or girlfriend, to promise not to court a rival.

Purity ring: A symbol of virginity in religious cultures.

Puzzle ring: Interlocking rings forming a single band; difficult to reassemble if removed from the finger.

Signet ring: A familial ring, often bearing a coat of arms, sometimes used as to imprint a wax seal on documents

Ear Rings: Earring is a personal adornment, sometimes an amulet, worn attached to the ear lobe. Since prehistoric times the ear has been pierced for the insertion of the earring. Certain primitive tribes distort the lobe with plugs several inches in diameter or with heavy stones. Egyptians first wore large gold hoops, which eventually became smaller and supported pendants. In Babylonia and later in Assyria where the earring was worn by men to denote rank, the earring evolved into an exquisite work of the goldsmith. In Greece gold earrings often had tinkling pendants. The Romans were first to popularize earrings set with precious stones. IN India too, earrings had been worn commonly by both men and women since prehistoric times. The loops were soon replaced with studs with screws and artistically designed earrings, and soon gold too lost its exclusivity to other metals, plastic, wood, bone, glass and other materials.

Nose Ring: A nose ring is a small loop or ring made of metal, usually gold and or on either of the nostril lobes exclusively by women. Among some tribal groups, it is also worn on the central lobe. Originated in India, it’s a traditional piece of jewellery worn by Indian women of all ages. It was originally meant to distinguish a girl child from a boy in ancient times. The rings were soon replaced with nose pins made of metal, usually gold and sometimes studded with a precious or semi precious stone. In the very recent past, nose ring has become an almost a must fashion accessory in the west. Back home, its chic and stylish to wear a nose ring, more than being traditional.

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