Dickie’s Ring In Netflix’s ‘Ripley’ Series, Explained: Did Tom Sell Off The Ring?


The moment Tom Ripley walked into Herbert Greenleaf’s house, he realized that everything he had missed in life was in front of him. Losing his parents at a tender age was a major setback from which Tom never really recovered. His parents had drowned to death, and Tom developed a fear of water and therefore never bothered to learn to swim. When Herbert’s wife, Emily, showed Tom Dickie’s picture from his childhood, Tom envied it from the bottom of his heart. Those pictures held memories that Tom wished he could’ve made too. However, what Tom admired the most was Herbert’s gold signet ring, which he believed symbolized the man’s economic and social status. Tom wanted a life of luxury for himself, but he didn’t know if he would be lucky enough to get it.

When Tom started living with Dickie, the things he noticed the most were Dickie’s prized possessions: his luxury boat, the Picasso painting, Dickie’s signet ring with a large green stone, and the maid who stayed at the house 24/7. The ring reminded Tom of Dickie’s entitlement, which Tom never had. Like the Gollum of the Lord of the Rings, Tom envied Dickie’s materialistic wealth and therefore decided to become a part of his charmed life. Tom stayed under the same roof, purchased clothes with Dickie’s money, and shared his food until Dickie decided to throw him out. But this leech had become too attracted to a life of luxury. He wasn’t ready to let go of it all just yet, so he murdered Dickie to steal his life.

One by one, Tom sold all the assets Dickie held dear, like the boat. He even got rid of the maid so that she wouldn’t suspect Tom of staying at Dickie’s place, even when her employer had been missing for days. However, what Tom didn’t sell was Dickie’s ring. That golden ring acted as a Green Lantern’s ring for Tom Ripley, which transformed him from a nobody to somebody important (or at least, that was how he felt about it). Everywhere Tom went, people would notice the ring on his finger and compliment him for it. Tom, who had never been validated before like this, finally felt recognized.

After Tom fled to Rome, he kept the ring to himself because no one knew who was the real owner of it, except for Dickie and his close friend. In the 1999 film, we came across a scene when Freddie Miles paid a surprise visit to Tom’s apartment in Rome, and Dickie’s ring got stuck on Tom’s finger, and he tried his best to hide it from Freddie for the reasons we are all aware of. Maybe the scene foreshadowed what danger lay ahead. Months later, Marge Sherwood found the same ring in Tom’s sewing box, making her suspect Tom of being a murderer. But yes, in Netflix’s series and in the book, the revelation hit differently, as Marge believed that Dickie gave Tom his most prized possession only because he didn’t need it anymore. He was going to end his life, so he left behind his ring to suggest the same.

At the end of Netflix’s Ripley, Herbert gives Dickie’s ring back to Tom, as he believes his son wants Tom to have it. However, Andrew Scott’s Tom Ripley never wears that ring again, or at least that was what we saw during the show’s ending. I believe Tom sold the ring to someone to pay Reeves so that he could arrange a new passport for Tom Ripley. However, the question here is: why would Tom sell off the ring, something he had kept close to his heart since the beginning of the affair? The simplest answer is that Tom Ripley is done with Dickie Greenleaf, just like the rest of the world. He doesn’t give a damn anymore. Tom has a new identity, Timothy Fanshaw, to toy with. He only kept Dickie’s last souvenir, the Picasso painting, which he brought to his Venice mansion to decorate the walls and become the king of his world. The painting and the ashtray reminded Tom of his sweet victories: how he fooled the authorities and escaped from under their noses. It was the act of deceiving that Tom, the impersonator, cherished the most in the end. He took a sip of the wine, while comparing himself to his hero, the great Michelangelo Caravaggio, who celebrated his victory in a similar manner in Paliano during his time.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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