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Antique_cameoMy mother always wore a pinky ring.

She may not have known that, for centuries before it became a chic accessory for modern women, an engraved signet worn on the little finger was a symbol of family and social status for kings, queens and European aristocrats. According to Keith Penton, head of the jewelry department at Christies in London, noble families would have their coat of arms or crest which they would press into wax to seal letters.

Wealthy people (who didn’t have a crest) began to engrave their initials on rings instead. Penton says many Englishmen – including Prince Charles – even wear their wedding ring on their pinky along with their crest ring.

Of course, not everyone who sports the style is nobility: Al Capone wore a 14-karat gold pinky ring bearing the letters “AC.”

But whether you’re an heiress or a hitman, the key to wearing a ring on your little finger is finding the right style.

Mother alternated between an oval cameo in summer months and a diamond ring in winter. I have them both and have discovered that virtually any stone looks bigger on a pinky.

“Women who wear pinky rings have lots of style and self-confidence,” she once told me.

I hope it is true.