Rings are the perfect way to add a bit of bling to any outfit. From vintage-inspired cocktail baubles to timeless stackable bands, there’s something for everyone. But, like any piece of jewelry, they require a certain degree of knowledge before you can start pulling them off.
The History of Rings
In the ancient world, rings were a symbol of love and connection. Traditionally, they were positioned on the ring finger of a man and a woman’s left hand, a sign that the two of them would spend the rest of their lives together.
Today, the tradition of engagement rings has reclaimed its place as one of the most important symbols of love in the modern world. While the solitaire diamond ring is still a staple, there are many more types of rings that you can add to your jewelry collection.
Three-stone engagement rings are a traditional style and typically represent the past, present, and future of a couple with coordinating stones set around a central diamond. These rings are often worn as a statement piece on their own and can be paired with coordinating earrings or studs to complete the look.
Eternity rings are also a popular choice. These are often deceptively simple bands with a full circumference of sparkling diamonds. They can be designed with a variety of different shapes, including princess cuts and emeralds, for a unique look.
Commutative and Noncommutative Rings
There are a lot of questions about rings in science, from how they came to be to how they behave at the particle level. The planetary rings of Jupiter and Saturn, for example, are known to have hundreds of different variations in density, size, and composition. They are also influenced by other factors, such as the gravity of nearby moons and the presence of shepherd moons, or small satellites that orbit close to the edge of specific rings.
These moons help to shape the rings in ways that we’re only starting to understand, resulting in complex patterns of bends and spokes. Spacecraft flybys have aided in our understanding of the structure of rings around giant planets, but some puzzles are still unsolved.
For instance, we know that some of the most densely packed massive rings are shaped by the gravity tugs of nearby satellites. However, we don’t have a clue how the dusty ‘gossamer’ rings in the outer layers of Jupiter and Saturn’s atmosphere are formed.
Similarly, we don’t know how the particles that form these fainter rings move inside them and why they are not swept away into space by the gravity of their planets. These questions are crucial to our understanding of planetary rings and our ability to study other ring-forming exoplanet systems.
The Science of Rings
As spacecraft orbiters have begun to study planetary rings, new discoveries and old puzzles are being resolved. The simplest explanation is that a ring contains particles of varying sizes, from micron-sized dust to objects as large as houses, that have been squeezed into a Roche zone by the tidal effects of their planets’ gravity fields.