What are ace and aro rings?
Ace and aro rings are rings that some asexual and/or aromantic people wear as a symbol of their identity. There’s a black ring for the asexual community, while a white ring is for the aromantic community. Other community symbols include cake, dragons, zucchinis (AKA courgettes) and ace card symbols.
What do ace and aro rings look like?
An ace ring is a black ring worn on the right hand’s middle finger by some asexual people. They chose black to symbolise the absence of their sexual attraction. Some asexuals wear a ring in the same place with an ace card symbol (heart, spade, club or diamond) instead. Which of the four symbols they use depends on their type of asexuality.
An aro ring is the same, except it is white and worn on the left hand’s middle finger instead. There are other aro ring suggestions, like an arrow design, but the white one is the most popular idea.
Other possible ace and aro rings include the pride flag designs for each identity. Also, black or white rings that have a more subtle design, like flowers, are a good idea for people who are scared of being questioned about them and need an excuse.
They can be made of any material. Ones that people wear range from expensive professional rings, to homemade beaded rings. From my experience, ceramic rings are cheap but also durable, making them a great option for your first ring. You could invest in a more expensive, stronger ring in the future, but go for a cheap one if you aren’t sure if yet if you want to spend that much money. You could stick with ceramic rings the whole time if you wanted, but you will probably need to replace them a few times.
Why do some people wear them?
Some people wear them to subtly communicate to others that they are on the ace/aro spectrum. This is more likely to be successful in lgbt spaces, as you can find more aspec people there compared to in the general population. Other people wear them to feel connected to their community. Having a tradition that unites people like you can give a sense of belonging, just like in other cultures. There’s no right or wrong reason to wear them, really.
Who can wear the rings?
Anyone who is on the asexual spectrum or aromantic spectrum can wear them if they want to. Doesn’t matter where on the spectrum you are- if you’re in the community, then you can join in. This includes all aspec people regardless of their identity.
If you’re not in the community, no one can stop you from wearing what rings you’d like, but please be respectful. While there’s no point gatekeeping things like this, aspec people appreciate it if those outside the community don’t purposefully copy it or erase our meaning behind it.
What’s the history behind this?
In 2005, a group of asexual people on a forum on AVEN (Asexuality Visibility and Education Network) agreed on the ring as a symbol they could wear to unite them. After some debate they settled on the black ring and chose the right middle finger for it. Other ideas included custom or leather rings, but the people in the forum didn’t choose those- they became too complicated.
Aromantic communities saw this and discussed having their own version, but this wasn’t as organised. Several people put forward ideas and the white ring gained the most popularity, as it was the opposite to the ace ring. However, it wasn’t perfect. Some people thought that if black represents absence of sexual attraction for aces, then white must mean the opposite- presence. This doesn’t represent all aromantic-spec people as some are asexual-spec too. White goes with the most clothes though and partnered with the ace ring, so it became the unofficial symbol.
Originally, ace and aro rings served as a way for asexual and aromantic people to identify each other and to feel connected. Most people outside the community didn’t know about these rings, so it was a safe way to communicate. However, ace and aro rings aren’t spoken about as much anymore as there’s less need for them. The internet connects aspec people now more than ever, and they are also more open at in person queer events. As a result, using rings to identify people isn’t as helpful as it used to be nearly two decades ago.
Where can you buy ace and aro rings?
I found mine on Etsy. It has a great selection of rings of all kinds that we’ve discussed, and you’ll also be supporting small businesses. Here are some asexual rings, and some aromantic rings from Etsy. There are also fancy jewellers that you can buy high quality rings from, but obviously they are extremely expensive in comparison to small businesses on Etsy. Shopping from small businesses is not only better for your money, but helps other queer creators too. Your money goes directly to them instead of through a massive company that probably doesn’t care about our community.
Personally I think Etsy is better value for money as wearing rings will eventually damage or even break them. Spending lots of money on something that you will eventually need to replace doesn’t seem worth it.
Are ace and aro rings well known?
Unfortunately not. In online spaces like Reddit and Instagram, they are still well known and talked about by a-spec people. Not many people outside of those spaces know about them though. Outsiders never knew much about the rings to begin with, to be honest. Awareness of the ace and aro rings have increased slightly since the idea came about, but still isn’t high.
Ace and aro rings have risen in popularity again recently. While unexpected, it’s not surprising, given how flexible the symbol is- you can wear them with anything and can take them off whenever you need to. We can bring it back to full popularity if we get enough people on board. Share this post with your aspec friends to do that!
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