Skull is an ancient symbol that has been worshipped across the world since the dawn of civilization. What feelings do you have when looking at a skull – fear of death, disgust, awkwardness? It’s funny but ancient people perceived skulls the other way around. When a man dies, his flesh decays, memories of him fade, the material evidence of his life disappears, and the only thing left after him is the skeleton and skull. For ancient tribes, skulls were something indestructible, eternal, kind of a vessel containing immortality. They often used genuine human and animal skulls in healing and magical rituals supposed to call on eternal life. In addition to real skulls, shamans and priests wore various ornaments adorned with the symbol of immortality, that is, the skull. Many years later, in the 21st century, people continue rocking rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and other skull jewelry.
Today, people hardly take part in any magical rites or rituals. So what do they need skulls for? It is safe to assume that some individuals want to look tough, manly, and even intimidating by enhancing their look with skulls. Have you ever seen bikers? Do you want to mess with them? I doubt you have as many lives as a cat to confront a motorcycle gang member. You’d be surprised but the ‘warning sign’ is not the major purpose of biker rings. If you enjoy motorcycling, admire tough guys riding them, and would like to know a bit more about their culture, let’s learn something new about bikers through their jewelry.
Where Biker Skull Rings Came From
We are not going to dive into the ancient past to trace who first began to wear skull jewelry and for what purpose. Instead, I suggest we take a look at biker history. So, the bikership has been around since the late 1940s when World War II was over, and men began to flock home from the front line. Along with them, thousands of pieces of military equipment including motorcycles returned to the USA. The US Army did not need so many useless Harleys, so it didn’t mind selling them to civilians. It was difficult for veterans to adapt to the new life, especially since society had changed significantly while they were defending their homeland. For them, an idea to buy a motorcycle and get away from reality seemed to be tempting. As a result, motorcycles have found their new owners and newly bikers have found a new meaning in life.
Motorcycle clubs began to pop up all over the USA. Bikers needed insignia to distinguish clubmates from outsiders. Since most bikers were veterans, they drew inspiration in military symbolism, in particular, drawings that adorned combat vehicles. The skull was one of the most popular symbols. Among others, it was depicted on the aircraft of the legendary Hells Angels squadron. It comes as no surprise that skulls have spread to the symbolism of many biker clubs, and later entrenched in jewelry for motorcyclists.
When it comes to skull jewelry, there are plenty of designs. A skull may be a sole element or completed with other details such as flames, crosses, pirates, eagles, American flag, 1%, and many others. The styles of execution vary as well. Designs as classic heavy skull ring, rockstar, Gothic, and punk rings dominate the skull-themed niche.
So what Do Skull Rings Mean today?
Just like a skull by itself is a multifaceted symbol, skull jewelry is much more complex than laymen might think. While you can give jewelry any meaning you want, bikers themselves recognize a few explanations of why they respect skull items.
Show How Tough You Are
Skulls can be seen on the banners, insignia, and awards of many military formations, regiments, units, etc. Often, such insignia spoke of courage, strength, and perseverance. A skull was supposed to say ‘we will not retreat even in the face of death,’ or ‘we will make our opponents meet their ancestors.’ Over time, skulls and bones migrated to militant and semi-illegal formations, including motorcycle gangs. When wearing a skull ring and other jewelry, they show their intrepid character, courage, and warlike mood.
One cannot Escape Fate
Whether we like it or not, death will come after each of us. With jewelry that reminds of death, we understand that it is impossible to hide from it, it is impossible to pay off, it is impossible to make a deal with it. Life and death go hand in hand, and they are as natural as the whole universe. Knowing that we are mortal, you must make the most of your life, experience everything, and have no regrets when death meets you on your deathbed.
Amulet to Protect Against Death
Sooner or later death will come to each of us, but we want to delay it as much as possible. Unfortunately, many bikers died at a young age because riding a motorcycle is not the safest thing ever. However, riders believe in a legend that a ring or tattoo featuring a skull will help to avoid premature death. Allegedly, such an amulet tells death that it has nothing to do here and must find itself another victim.
Everyone is Equal in a Biker Club
Biker clubs have a clear hierarchy. That said, this does not mean that higher ranks have more rights and privileges. No, all full-fledged members have the right to vote, wear club colors, and all members, without exception, must comply with the Code. Whoever you are in civilian life, a prosperous businessman or simple clerk, you are on a par with everyone in your club. Biker paraphernalia worn by all members of a club expresses the principle of equality.
Be Loyal to Your Believes
When a skull is a part of motorcycle club insignia, you, as a member, must respect it and be loyal to it, as well to your clubmates. In this sense, a skull denotes fraternity, team spirit, dedication to the ideals of the biker community in general and your club’s Code in particular. In some clubs, in order to become a full member, prospects must undertake a long journey and earn membership. Even when one becomes part of a biker family, he does not have the right to disgrace his brothers and the colors they wear. When you wear a skull ring, you must remember that in the motorcycle community, ‘one for all and all for one.’