An Underappreciated Classic: The Ring
Let’s take a moment to do something a bit different. We take a lot of things for granted, sometimes tragically, sometimes it’s not tragic, but still deserves appreciation. Let’s take a moment to think about one of the oldest, most common and classic pieces of jewelry and the impact it’s had on culture, especially in the West. Rings. People from all over buy and wear rings, whether in Dallas, Texas or Paris, France.
People buy or get rings to mark different moments or memberships, or just because they think a ring will look good. Rings have the advantage of being one of the most versatile accessories there is. Someone with multiple big rings could be anything from a middle aged woman, a bad mobster stereotype on TV, or BB King. Books have been written with rings serving as a central device. The most obvious example is, of course, The Lord of the Rings, but that aside, how many stories focus on marriage or love as a central theme? Ultimately, it will be symbolized with a ring.
People buy rings to show a membership in a group, they buy rings to tie their lives to each other. The classic rings are the marriage bands, often simple circular golden rings unadorned for men and with diamonds for women. These rings seek to symbolize a bond between a couple that they intend to love and cherish each other, but we buy rings for other groups and bonds, too. Military and police organizations give out rings to people who graduate their academy or serve in particular units, high schools and colleges offer class rings.
Rings also serve a practical purpose, in a sense, as they mark marital status, show what school or group one belongs to, or sometimes they can fulfill amusing niche purposes. Bartenders, for example, own rings that also serve as bottle openers these as a way to open beer bottles without having to keep track of the bottle openers, and because it looks cool and serves as a bit of a party trick. Not the most graceful purpose, perhaps, but an ingenious use of a classic piece of jewelry.
The appeal of rings in Dallas has been the simplicity of design and ease of wear. One can wear a ring and never feel it, they’re easily made, and the structure is strong enough that they can be made of a soft metal like gold. There’s also something about the shape of a ring that aids its symbolic value of binding people to groups or each other, the enclosed shape, open yet embracing, symbolizes what these bonds are at their best. It’s also fitting because rings have the ability to create a common point between two populations without much in common, namely the denizens of Dallas and Paris. Sometimes simple things, such as rings in Dallas, can be both practical and symbolic.