# What Is a Ring?

Rings have been worn for thousands of years, appearing in every culture around the world and serving a multitude of purposes, both decorative and practical. They’ve been used to pledge an eternal love, seal correspondences and authenticate documents, honor the dead and as talismans against evil and temptation.

The most common use of rings is as a sign of affection between partners, but they’ve also been used to celebrate milestones in friendships and familial relationships. The ring has also become an important symbol of strength and protection in many religions.

In mathematics, a ring is an abstract object whose elements are connected by continuous (and possibly cyclic) addition and multiplication. The concept of rings has been largely developed over the last half of the 19th century and early 20th century, with significant contributions from Dedekind, Hilbert, Fraenkel and Noether. It’s now used in a variety of fields, including number theory, algebraic geometry and physics.

There are many different kinds of rings, but the most famous are engagement rings. These are primarily worn by romantically involved people and are often the result of a marriage proposal. Other types of rings include promise rings, which are given by young couples as a sign of commitment before getting married.

During the medieval period, wearing rings became a major indicator of social class. Rich people wore gold and silver ones, while those with less money opted for base metals such as pewter or gilt bronze. By the mid-1300s, ring wearing was so highly regarded as a mark of status that sumptuary laws were put into place to regulate its wear and to ensure that a person’s ring indicated their social standing.

A ring is typically worn on the smallest finger, either on the left or right hand. A ring may be worn with other jewelry, such as necklaces or bracelets. It is also often used as an ornament for clothing, such as hats and coats.

The first thing to do when buying a ring is to determine the correct size. To do this, you can wrap a piece of string around the base of your finger and measure where the ends meet with a ruler. Alternatively, you can use one of the many online tools available. A good tool is Mejuri, which offers a simple-to-use chart that will tell you your ring size.

If you have a metal allergy, you should not wear any jewelry, including rings, because it can cause skin irritation. Also, be sure to remove any rings before washing your hands or going swimming, because they may tarnish. Lastly, you should take off your ring when doing physical activity, such as gardening or cleaning.