Front Row

Knuckle rings make a comeback


MULTIFINGER and knuckle rings from Balenciaga’s Spring-Summer 2013 show

In the Middle Ages, these rings were called “finger armor.” But photograph them on Hollywood’s most fashionable and you’ve got a hot new trend on your hands—or on your knuckles, to be more specific.

After the “arm party” (the trend of layering thin multiple bracelets on your wrist) and the hinged, multifinger and bar rings, the latest way to accessorize your hands this season is to wear a knuckle ring.

Celebrities such as Rihanna, Kristen Stewart and the Olsen twins have already been seen wearing their rings halfway up on their fingers.

These rings, also called tea rings or memory rings, are said to have originated 500 years ago, in the Renaissance, when they signified wealth. You can spot them in the artwork of such masters as Bernhard Strigel, Lucas Cranach, Hans Memling and Fra Filippo Lippi.

In those days, wearing a knuckle ring, placed on the area immediately above your knuckle, showed you didn’t work the field.

Knuckle rings as seen on Rihanna

The current rings are a few sizes smaller than the ones you’d normally wear. Though the designs available are nothing new from the ones we’ve seen, wearing the ring differently gives it—and you—a new look.

You can wear this singly, or layered for more dramatic effect. I found a piece I used to wear in my younger years. Try to search through your old things, too. You just might find your “new” piece of jewelry.

One of the reasons this trend is making a comeback is the increasing popularity of nail art. Wearing jewelry near your nails attracts attention to them, and shows them off. This only means you need to have immaculate nails to pull off this look. Chips and unkempt nails will look more obvious with this “hand party.”

Any nail polish, from dark to pastel and colorful shades, will work, but I’ll advise against ultra-long nails and intricate nail art, as these rings already make enough of a statement.

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