What Is a Family Ring?(Meaning, History& Etiquette)

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Aside from being simple but versatile accessory choices, rings are also highly symbolic. The beauty of rings is you can play around with the design to customize something unique and meaningful to you. That is why they make the best gifts. Among the many meaningful rings to gift a loved one, is a family ring. They are a great reminder that you will always have people who care for you surrounding you.

Now, if you have never heard of the term family ring, then you may be wondering what it is? Where did it originate from? What does it stand for?

Well, in this post, we will be covering all of these questions. In addition, we will also clarify the confusion that exists between what family and mother ring are.


What Is a Family Ring?

what is a family ring

When it comes to defining a family ring, the simplest way to put it is, it is a ring that contains elements that remind you of your family members.

Usually, the ring can have the names of the family members or their birthstones may be set on the band.

Often the ring comes with both the birthstones and the engraved names.

For those who like to think outside the box, you could choose to engrave the birthdates of your loved ones on the ring, instead of their names or birthstones.

It is a matter of preference since the ring’s function is simply to commemorate and show appreciation for your loved ones.

So, whatever you feel best reminds you of your family is what is added to the ring. Today, family rings in any designs that can allow you to include as many family members as you’d like.

The limit is only dictated by how much you’re willing to pay and how comfortable you or whoever you gift the ring, will be wearing it.


Family Ring History

No one knows the specific period or era when family rings were invented. There is also no known person accredited for inventing the family ring. Some historians believe that these rings existed in ancient times, while others argue they were the only event recently around the 1950s. There are, in fact, several theories that exist as to when and why family rings were invented.

what is a family ring

One theory, states they were invented by a jeweler who found a way to use small screws to incorporate small stones into rings. Since the stones were naturally available, it became a trend for ladies to want the birthstones of their family members or children added to their rings.

Another theory was that family rings were created as a way of commemorating a mother’s child getting married. The ring was said to be made of two wedding bands fused and the birthstone of the biological child and the one brought through wedlock would be added to the ring.

A different theory states, that family rings came about as a way for jewelers to make some money on Mother’s Day. Ever since Mother’s Day was made official thanks to Woodrow Wilson, the founder of Mother’s Day Association, jewelers crafted rings with birthstones as sentimental gifts to give mothers. The idea of having your child’s birthstone on your ring seemed like an appealing gift to mothers and that is why they became so popular.

None of these theories have any proof to back it up. So, there could still be a possibility that family rings existed long before we can imagine. After all, families are always looking for ways to compliment and show appreciation to their loved ones.


Family Ring Meaning.

what is a family ring

Rings often carry much meaning, based on the purpose for which the ring was made. Family rings, as the name would suggest, are simply a representation of family, based on the names engraved on the ring or each member’s respective birthstones.

It is meant to be a show of gratitude and appreciation for one’s family. Additionally, family rings are a symbol of pride one has for their family.

There is not one single meaning for what a family ring represents, rather many meanings that are based on the person wearing the ring.

A family ring could even be a representation of the bond and love shared between family members.

You could choose to wear family rings as a daily reminder that you have a family that loves you. It is especially a wonderful commemoration of them if you do not live close to your family.


What is a Mothers Ring?

Mother rings are special rings gifted to mothers as a way of commemorating their children. Despite being called mother rings, they are also suitable gifts for grandmothers. The rings often entail the respective birthstones of each of the children or grandchildren, whether dead or alive. If you only have one child then the ring can have one stone setting.

Aside from the birthstones, some rings can have the names of the children or grandchildren engraved on them. Others have special dates or birth dates engraved instead. The whole idea is to have some representation of the children in the ring.

Mother’s and grandmother’s wear these rings as a symbol of pride. It is a representation of how much they love and cherish their children and grandchildren. It also makes great keepsakes for those mothers who have lost their children.


Family Ring VS Mother’s Ring.

what is a family ring

Many people assume that a family ring is the same as a mother’s ring. Some use the two terms interchangeably. It is not surprising, given the shared similarity in design. Both rings include the birthstones, names, and/or birthdates of loved ones. The two, however, differ slightly and so cannot be considered the same thing.

Family rings for instance include the birthstone, name, or birthdate of any member of the family. That includes the parents, children, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and grandparents. Additionally, the ring can be worn by any member of the family, hence the name. In contrast, a mother’s ring only contains the birthstones, names, or birthdates of her children. Sometimes it may include the mother’s as well, but in most cases, it is mostly the children’s. As such only the mother is meant to wear this ring, hence the name. The only exception is the grandmother, who also qualifies to wear the ring with her grandchildren’s names or birthstones added to it.


Materials Or Metals for Family Rings or Mother’s Ring.

Both family and mother rings are made in different designs using various materials. There are some designs where the shaft is divided into many layers giving a stacked ring effect, while others where the stones are set along with the entire metal band. It all depends on one’s preference.

Birthstones are the common material used in both family and mother rings. Not all birthstones, however, can be used in these types of rings. Pearls and opals, for example, are too soft and round to be used in a multi-stone ring setting. Gemstones are usually the preferred choice when making this type of ring. The following is a list of the birthstone used to represent the different months:

  • Garnet – January.
  • Amethyst – February.
  • Cubic Zirconia or Diamonds – April.
  • Emerald – May.
  • Alexandrite – June.
  • Ruby – July.
  • Peridot – August.
  • Sapphire – September.
  • Tourmaline – October.
  • Yellow Topaz or Citrine – November.
  • Blue topaz or zircon or tanzanite – December.

Aside from the stone, the ring band can be made with a variety of metals depending on what you can afford. The most common high-quality metals are platinum, silver, gold, and palladium. Gold may be too soft in its pure form, but when mixed with other metal alloys it forms a strong metal with varying colors to choose from. Yellow gold for example is a classic and timeless look while rose gold is more vintage. White gold on the other hand is the best alternative for palladium if you have a limited budget.

Platinum and Palladium are both strong durable metals whose white silvery color makes them suitable for any gemstone setting, especially diamonds. Silver’s biggest advantage is that it’s the most affordable of the precious metals therefore a popular choice for family and mother rings. Some people opt to use tungsten or titanium, but rarely. They are dark grey and charcoal respectively and are both too heavy and difficult to work with.

How To Wear Family and Mother’s Ring.

There is no right or wrong way when it comes to wearing both a family of mother’s ring. No rules have been set regarding this. That means you are free to wear either ring in whatever way suits you.

Some women prefer wearing stacking rings with their wedding set, especially if they are all thin in size. Others prefer to wear the family ring and/or mother ring on the right ring finger as a complement to the wedding set on the left. Some prefer wearing the rings on different fingers on the same hand.

But for those active individuals or those who find it uncomfortable wearing many rings at a time, may choose to wear the family and/or mother ring as a pendant. Whichever option works as long as you are comfortable.



The beauty about family and mother rings is that they aren’t just a wonderful way of showing appreciation for your loved ones, but also a versatile accessory.

You can wear them daily, without feeling like they are out of place. They will complement each outfit perfectly by adding a pop of color from the various birthstones.

So, the next time you’re stuck on how to appreciate a family member, mother, or grandmother, these rings would make the perfect gift. That’s regardless of the occasion.

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