Gothic Rings

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A Quick Guide to Gothic Rings

When it comes to rings there is no shortage of styles. In fact, there are so many it can be difficult to determine what style fits you best.

Gothic jewelry is one of the most popular yet commonly misunderstood styles. Usually defined by their unique symbols, intricate designs, and ties to alternative lifestyles, gothic rings and jewelry come from a rich history inspired by the architecture of medieval Europe. Often tied in with alternative fashion, gothic rings are a great choice for men that want to stand out.

In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into gothic jewelry so you can determine if gothic rings are the right choice for you.


Gothic jewelry finds its earliest origins in 12th-century Europe. Following in the footsteps of the Romanesque architectural style, Gothic rose to prominence with more pointed angles, straight lines, and heavier embellishments.

Goth was originally a derogatory term, synonymous with barbaric, and was used by Italian Renaissance writers to describe an “unrefined” form of expression.

This architecture eventually came to influence fashion and jewelry, and pieces 

Due to the popularity of plague and famine in Europe during the 15th through 17th centuries, Gothic-style rings rose in popularity as a way to represent the overwhelming loss of life and high mortality rates of the time. Rather than being seen as a negative, gothic rings were a popular item used often transcribed with the words “Memento Mori” (“remember you must die”) as a way to symbolize the inevitability of death and the importance of living life no matter how brief.

With the execution of King Charles I of England in the mid-17th century came a shift in the meaning of Gothic jewelry from one that celebrated the importance of living to one that represented mourning and empathy. This grew into the tradition of creating memorial and mourning pieces among the wealthy to reflect their feelings of grief at the loss of loved ones.

This tradition was continued by Queen Victoria after the death of her husband Prince Albert in 1861. The Victorian Era greatly affected the presentation of Gothic jewelry, and often tokens such as rings and necklaces held softer imagery such as angels and clouds. The relationship between Prince Albert and Queen Victoria also pushed the symbolism of snakes into greater popularity, as Prince Albert gifted Queen Victoria with a snake engagement ring to symbolize eternal love.

In the late 1800s, the image of Gorgon (most popularly shown as Medusa) was used as a way to ward off evil.

The next big historical movement in Gothic style jewelry came in the 1990’s, where this style came to be synonymous with chunky accessories, edgy fashion statements, and more alternative characteristics that were all shown in high fashion including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.

Gothic Symbolism

  • Snake
  • Snakes are one of the most popular symbols in the jewelry world and hold meaning in almost every culture. Most often, snakes symbolize death, immortality, wisdom, reproduction, and power. Because snakes are known for shedding their skin, this symbol is also commonly recognized as representing rebirth and transformation.

  • The Ankh
  • The ankh is an ancient Egyptian symbol commonly referred to as the “key of life”, and is often used to represent eternal life and resurrection. This symbol is heavily associated with vampires and is considered to be a talisman that brings luck due to its association with the relationship between gods and pharaohs.

  • Medusa
  • Medusa is a popular symbol of protection, historically used to ward off evil and negative influence. Recently, Medusa has become a representation of female empowerment and justice, despite the darker, more negative ancient Greek origin of this symbol.

  • Baphomet
  • Baphomet is the image of a goat head with a pentagram on his forehead. His full body depicts a pair of wings on his back, the chest of a woman, the belly of a deer, sheep's hooves, and a scorpion tail. His image is shown with the staff of Hermes on his abdomen, and though there are many tales of his possible origin, his image consistently represents vitality and wisdom.

  • Spiders
  • Spiders are an ancient symbol that can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece. Though they are sometimes associated with darkness, poison, and death, they are also commonly seen as symbols of patience, creativity, dreams, and fate. Often used to represent feminine energy and desire, spiders are also symbolistic of creation, intrigue, and fortune.

  • Pentagram
  • Pentagrams are 5 pointed stars drawn in one continuous line. This symbol shows itself throughout history including in tombs from ancient Egypt, coins from ancient Greece, as a representation of the five nightly virtues in the Middle Ages, and even by the Freemasons in the 19th century as a representation of man, protection, magic, and more. The Pentagram also has heavy religious ties: Christians used it to depict the five wounds of Christ, and amongst Muslims it is known as Solomon’s seal where each point represents love, truth, peace, freedom, and justice.

    Now, the pentagram is commonly associated with Paganism such as Wicca, where it represents the elements of air, water, earth, spirits, and fire. 

  • Hexagram
  • Sometimes confused with the pentagram, hexagrams are six-pointed geometric stars commonly associated with the Star of David - a symbol of Judaism and Jewish identity. In Hinduism, it is the symbol of Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune and material abundance, and has close ties to the heart chakra. The hexagram is also found in Buddhism, where it is used to aid meditation.

    In modern-day Gothic use, the hexagram used to represent the combination of the four elements, or the association of the wearer with magical and spiritual connections.

  • Bat
  • Bats are typically used to represent the unnatural and are symbolic of transitions and new beginnings. They are also representative of death, rebirth, and the unseen.

  • Celtic Knot
  • Due to their representation as circles and loops without a beginning or end, Celtic knots are often used to symbolize the cycle of life and eternity. Ancient Celtic knots are said to represent earth, water, and fire as well as love and eternal life.

  • Cross
  • Though crosses are most commonly associated with Christianity, in Gothic jewelry they are used to represent everything from faith and fortune to darkness and mystery.

  • Skull
  • The skull is one of the most popular symbols in history and can be found in artwork, fashion, and jewelry around the world. Skulls most obviously represent death and mortality, but also commonly symbolize equality, fate, life, and rebirth.

    Popular Materials Used for Gothic Rings

    In general, gothic jewelry is made of primarily white metals to represent the subculture of mystery and darkness. These metals are most commonly silver or steel, though white gold, titanium, and platinum can also be used.

    Yellow metals like gold are typically unwelcome in Gothic-style jewelry because of their association with the sun.

    Metals such as high-quality silver, steel, and titanium are great for daily wear due to their strength and durability - making them perfect for use as unique wedding bands. White gold and platinum are made from softer materials, and though they can also be used for wedding bands, they are more likely to tarnish, dent, and scratch over time.

    Gothic rings can also feature gemstones such as rubies, blood-red garnets, obsidian, and black onyx. The gems used in gothic jewelry are often chosen to fit the dark and mysterious style of the design, meaning that most are black, red, or dark blue.

    Rubies are an incredibly strong gem, making them perfect for daily wear in a wedding band. Garnets (crystals) and onyx (sedimentary rock) are also relatively strong and can weather average daily wear.  Obsidian, however, is made from the magma of an erupted volcano meaning it is much softer and more brittle in comparison - making it a better choice for rings that are worn more occasionally.

    Other popular gemstones include diamonds and sapphires, which are also incredibly strong and resistant to wear.


    Maintaining your ring depends on the materials it’s made from. Usually, most rings can be maintained by avoiding water and regularly polishing them with a soft cloth.

    You should always avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive materials, though soft metals and gems require a bit more protection and should be stored alone in a pouch or box that can also help protect them from moisture and scratching against other jewelry.

    Buying Your Ring

    Gothic rings are extremely popular, and can often be found for pretty cheap from a variety of sources. However, if you don’t want that ring turning green on your finger or pieces of the intricate design falling off, you’ll want to dish out a few extra bucks to make sure it's made from high-quality materials that won’t rust or tarnish easily over time.

    For the best outcome, you want to ensure your ring is made from high-quality steel or silver rather than copper coated in white gold or other metals that oxidize easily.


    With rich historical origins in architecture and ancient symbolism, Gothic rings are eye-catching pieces that embody the idea of individuality.

    The intricate, unique designs of Gothic rings and wedding bands are the perfect choice for men looking for symbolism and elegance.