If you can’t get enough of unique and unusual jewellery designs, then you’re sure to be intrigued by the fabulous puzzle ring. The history of this style of ring is packed with interesting meanings and powerful symbolism. Not to mention, the design of puzzle rings is gorgeous to look at!

Today, we’re delving into the world of puzzle rings and answering all of your questions about this fabulous style.

What are puzzle rings?

Puzzle rings are made up of interconnecting bands, which all slot together in a certain way to create a complete design – hence their name. They can be composed of different numbers of bands, normally varying from four to 12 different components. Other than this feature, they can vary in style and appearance.

There are a few different types of puzzle rings, varying from traditional to contemporary designs. For example, one more modern spin on this design is the chain ring, which consists of consecutive loops that form a chain when you take the ring apart.

The history of puzzle rings

There is some debate concerning the origin story of the puzzle ring design. While these rings are often thought to have evolved from the European gimmel ring, other sources claim that the design was first coined by the ancient Egyptians. Others believe that the rich history of this design dates back to China 2000 years ago, while some state that the origin of the puzzle ring was Arabia where rings of this style were used as wedding bands by the Sheiks.

The common belief that puzzle rings are linked to the 16th-century Gimmel ring lies in the similarities between these two designs. The word “gimmel” derives from the Latin for “twin” and traditional Gimmel rings are usually made up of two or three hoops that are linked together to complete the design, much like puzzle rings. These rings were commonly used as betrothal rings. As tradition goes, the bride and groom would each wear one part of the Gimmel ring and then the design would be brought together to make a complete jewellery item on their wedding day.

What is a Puzzle Ring
Antique Puzzle Ring
Wearing a Puzzle Ring

What do puzzle rings symbolize?

As you might imagine, puzzle rings are generally thought to be symbolic of union and interconnection – whether that be through marriage or friendship. As the bands all fit together snuggly into a beautiful design, this ring style is the perfect antique jewellery piece to express this sentiment.

A slightly more foreboding meaning behind these rings, however, is the story that they were once used to ensure that a wife didn’t cheat on her husband. According to the story, a husband would give his wife a puzzle ring and if she ever chose to take it off – to conduct an affair – the pieces of the ring would fall apart, and she wouldn’t be able to put it back together again. There is no evidence that this technique was actually used, but it makes an entertaining story nonetheless!

How do you wear a puzzle ring?

Puzzle rings can be styled like any other ring, but as their design is normally quite complex, they work best when chosen as stand-alone pieces or coupled with simple bands. Of course, the main concern when it comes to wearing this design is how to put a puzzle ring together. Although designs vary, most four-band puzzle rings can be assembled like so:

  1. Take the two V-shaped bands and position them next to each other with the point of each V facing in opposite directions.

  2. The take the other two bands (which will have a wiggly structure) and cross them over one another so that the crossed portion links over the plain bands at the other side of the triangular motifs.

  3. Next, part the two triangles and rotate their bands around until the triangular motifs meet and slot into the crossover section of the wiggly bands.

  4. At this point, the full design should neatly slot into place!

And there we have it – how to wear puzzle rings and the curious meanings behind them. For more information on unusual jewellery designs, head over to our history section. Or, if you’re eager to get shopping instead, view our range of exceptional vintage and antique rings!

Written by

Delilah Kealy-Roberts

Delilah joined the AC Silver team as a Sales & Digital Assistant in 2017 after completing her degree in English Literature at Leeds University. Delilah possesses a passion for jewellery and antiquities combined with an interest in blogging and social media.