Napkin rings are a part of a complete place setting at a table. Their purpose is to secure a clean, folded napkin neatly at a place setting until the diner is ready to use it. Sometimes, eating utensils are enclosed in the napkin, and other times they are set beside it. There are several different types of napkin rings and many different styles to accommodate every place setting from formal to casual.
Napkin rings can definitely set off a formal place setting, making a table look elegant. There are numerous styles of napkin rings made of wood, plastic, and metal. Some are embellished with designs ranging from flowers to art deco that might coordinate with place mats, napkins, and the tablecloth. Others might be simple in design, such as a smooth wooden or plastic ring. There are narrow rings and very wide rings, also.
Napkin rings are generally retailed in sets of two or four. They may also be sold combined with linen napkins, but most often, napkin rings and napkins are sold separately. There are also place mats that come with napkin rings attached so that they do not become lost or separated from the place setting. This can be a convenient feature, but it makes washing place mats more difficult.
Even casual place settings can be completed nicely with napkin rings. Napkin rings can be disposable, made simply of paper. Large, catered events, such as wedding receptions, family gatherings, and celebration dinners, typically have place settings with disposable napkin rings, even if they use linen napkins.
If you are planning a large dinner party, you might consider disposable napkin rings for the place settings to reduce cost. You can easily make your own napkin rings by cutting a strip of any colored or patterned paper into the desired width and binding the edges together with craft glue. You can dress them up by running the strips through a paper crimper before binding the edges. Napkin rings are not essential to a well-dressed table, but they certainly complete the look of each place setting. At your next dinner party, consider using napkin rings around quality disposable napkins to dress up your table without having to launder linen napkins afterwards.
Source : http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-different-types-of-napkin-rings.htm