What comes to your mind when you see a skull? If you immediately think of danger or piracy you are thinking about two of the modern day meanings for the symbol. The skull itself has always symbolized death and it’s fitting that a skull ring first gained prominence in wartime battles. Although the ring design itself dates back to the 1500s.
The most famous of the modern day armies to wear skull rings into battle were the Nazis. They believed that the skull design made them out to be considered the most dangerous army and in a way it made sense. The Nazi Army reasoned that if they were the most powerful army in existence it would be because they were defeating their foes. The way they were winning battles was by killing their opposition. They brought life to the skull equals death equation and that became their trademark.
Even the British Grenadier and German SS armies started to follow suit attempting to claim the crown of the world’s most fearsome army while claiming the skull on a ring was responsible. Regardless of what kind of success these armies may have had, the skull ring did at least one thing. It made them out to be not your ordinary army. The skull ring started to symbolize a group of individuals that were far from mainstream.
In some circles the skull means bravery. We doubt it has anything to do with the honourable kind of bravery as the skull design has been adopted in many ways by groups and clubs that are far from brave – scary and dangerous for sure but not likely brave. The Jolly Roger is a fine example of what a skull can mean when combined with a pair of crossbones. It symbolized piracy and was how pirates proudly identified their captured ships, land and other goods stolen or otherwise taken.
Outlaw biker gangs have also adopted the skull symbol, added with a set of wings, to indicate they are a group you don’t want to mess around with, and for good reason. They are typically portrayed in movies and the media as being a collection of misfits and really bad people. This is probably where the wearing of skull designs pushed the symbolism into the territory best described as anti-something. Renegades, outlaws, people who didn’t fit into regular society were the ones you’d see with skulls on their t-shirts, a skull belt buckle, skulls worked into tattoo art right down to skull rings.
While it is difficult to pinpoint the actual introduction of skull rings in fashion, popular culture icons, most notably rock stars, have made them the must have fashion accessory. Even if you don’t own a motorcycle and think the skull ring is cool as opposed to a symbol of death, music has a way with developing fashion trends and the skull ring is one of them.
Skull rings are available in many different styles and designs with pinkie rings probably as popular as any of the others. If you want to stand out from the crowd, even if you don’t see the underlying symbolic connection to death, skull rings will set you apart.