- Cultural Differences: Wearing Wedding Rings on the Left or the Right Hand
- What Hand Does Your Wedding and Engagement Ring Go On?
- Ring Finger Meaning
- The Wedding Ring Finger
- The Engagement Ring Finger
- Which Finger Do You Wear Your Wedding Ring On?
- Can I Wear My Wedding Ring on My Right Hand?
- What Does Wearing Rings on Different Fingers Mean?
- The Promise Ring Finger
- Wedding Ring Finger: Which Finger Does Your Wedding and Engagement Rings Go On?
- Which Finger is the Wedding Ring Finger?
- Why Does Your Wedding Ring Go on Your Left Hand?
- Why Do Some People Wear Their Wedding Ring on the Right Hand?
- What Hand Does Your Engagement Ring Go On?
- Why Does Your Engagement Ring Go On Your Left Hand?
- What Hand Should You Wear a Promise Ring On?
- Do You Have to Wear a Wedding Ring?
- Why are Engagement Rings Worn on the Fourth Finger of the Left Hand?
- Beliefs of the Ring Finger
- The Ring Finger-Heart Connection
- The Ring Finger Amongst Cultures
- The Ring Finger Tradition for Today’s Bride
- All About Your Engagement Ring Finger
- The Ring
- The Wedding Ring Finger (and Hand)
- Engagement Ring Fingers Today
- Band For Life: The History of Wedding Rings
- Why Is The Wedding Ring Worn On The Left Hand?
Cultural Differences: Wearing Wedding Rings on the Left or the Right Hand
Around the world, wedding ring sets represent a couple’s lifelong love and commitment to one another. Thepractice of exchanging of rings has a significance that has changed over thousands of years. And eventoday,there exist interesting cultural differencesabout wedding rings that vary depending on your country of residence or religion.
In the United States (and many other Western countries), the custom is to wear wedding rings on the fourthfinger of the left hand. But in many other countries, it’s traditional to place wedding ring sets on therighthand instead. Why the difference?And which parts of the world opt for the left or the right? Let’s take a closer look at the history andcontextof wedding ring traditions.
The first wedding rings are believed to date back to ancient Egypt, when people wove grasses and reeds intocircles symbolizing eternity and completeness. The Egyptians wore their rings on the fourth finger of thelefthand, believing that a vein fromthat finger led directly to the heart. The Romans called this the vena amoris, or “vein of love”.
Over time, the materials used for wedding rings evolved to include leather, bone, and eventually metals suchasiron, silver and gold (and later, diamonds and other gemstones).
Until recently, it was less common for mentowear wedding rings than forwomen.
World War II marks a significant shift in this practice for some Western countries; many married menwhowere stationed far from home decided to wear wedding rings as a reminder of their wives and families.
Today, when you travel internationally or meet people from different countries, you will notice weddingringsworn on both the left and right hands.
Couples wear wedding rings on their left hands in many Western countries, such as the North America, SouthAmerica, and European nations including the UK, Italy, France, and Slovenia.
In the United States, women(andsome men) wear both engagement ringsand wedding bands on the left ring finger; how the rings are stacked depends on the bride’s personalpreference.
In Asian countries, people also tend to wear the band on the left hand.
Traditional Indian practice is to wear the wedding ring on the right hand, because the left hand isconsideredunclean. However, modern Indians may wear the ring on the left hand to match the custom in countries suchasthe United States.
In many Northernand Eastern European countries, including Denmark, Norway, Russia, Poland, and Bulgaria, it is more commontowear the wedding ring on the fourth finger of the right hand.
In Portugal, Spain, and Greece, the righthand isalso customary.
In Brazil, the fiancé and fiancée wear plain bands as engagement rings on their right hands, and upon sayingtheir vows, they switch their rings to the left hand. Couples in Germany and Netherlands often do theopposite:sporting engagement rings onthe left hand and wedding rings on the right.
In the Jewish tradition, the groom slips the ring on the right index finger of the bride because it is themostprominent finger. Today, the bride typically moves the band to her ring finger after the ceremony.
For most couples, the three main rings worn will be an engagement ring, a ladies’ wedding band, and men’swedding band. Modern couples are opting to buy all three rings as a trio ring set to save time and money,whileensuring their rings match, just their commitment to each other. Browse the biggest selection of trio sets to wear proudly – on eitheryourright or left hand!
What Hand Does Your Wedding and Engagement Ring Go On?
Wondering about the traditions behind the wedding ring finger, and whether or not to buck that custom and try something new? Here’s everything you need to know about how to wear your engagement, wedding or promise ring.
Ring Finger Meaning
The tradition of wearing an engagement and/or wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand is a romantic one—but the meaning is totally untrue.
Kristen Lawler-Trustey, a spokeswoman for jewelry brand Forevermark, explains that the ancient Romans believed this finger had a vein that ran directly to the heart—the Vena Amoris, or “Vein of Love.” So of course, couples in love should wear the symbol of their love and devotion on that lifeline.
Today, we know there's no such vein (although we still love the story!), yet the tradition of wearing the engagement and wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand continues here in the US.
But there are some countries, says Zaven Ghanimian, CEO of Simon G Jewelry, where the ring finger of the right hand is the more popular choice for brides and grooms to wear their rings, in Russia, Greece and Colombia.
Want to know more about which finger and hand to wear your wedding, engagement or promise ring? Read on.
The Wedding Ring Finger
Wedding rings are a sweet symbol of eternal love throughout history.
“The tradition of wedding rings came about in Egypt, about 4,800 years ago,” Ghanimian says. “The circle symbolizes eternity, with no beginning or end. What most people don't know is that the hole in the center of the ring also has significance—it's not just space, but rather a gateway or door. When you give a woman a ring, it signifies immortal love.”
A bride and groom typically exchange rings during their wedding ceremony, placing the ring on each other's wedding ring finger—the fourth finger of the left hand—after saying their vows. As for determining what hand does the wedding ring go on, the choice is really up to you. Traditions are nice, but etiquette rules have softened through the years.
There are no rules on which metal your wedding rings must be made of, or whether or not they should match. You can opt for simple bands or more elaborate ones with stones or designs. Some couples choose to have their wedding date or a romantic phrase inscribed in their bands.
The Engagement Ring Finger
It wasn't until more recently that engagement rings appeared on the scene.
“The first recorded use of a diamond engagement ring occurred in 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a ring featuring hogback diamonds (modern-day baguette diamonds) arranged in the shape of the Gothic letter M,” Lawler-Trustey says.
His engagement ring choice then sparked a trend—for more than one reason.
“Diamonds have long been an unwavering symbol of a couple's eternal love and commitment to one another,” Lawler-Trustey says.
“A diamond is the hardest and most durable naturally occurring substance found on Earth, making it the perfect choice to represent enduring, everlasting love and the promise of forever.
Each diamond is also incredibly rare and unique. No two diamonds are a, just as each couple's love has its own unique story.”
Still, diamonds aren't a requirement for an engagement ring. They can have other gemstones, or whatever else suits your sense of style. For example, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton has a blue sapphire, Carrie Underwood has a canary yellow diamond and Jessica Simpson has a red ruby.
Tradition also has it that a man proposes and women are typically the ones who wear engagement rings as a symbol of their acceptance. But there's no rule that says a man can't wear one as well.
“Today, especially with same-sex marriage, it is not uncommon to see a man wearing an engagement ring,” Lawler-Trustey says.
Which Finger Do You Wear Your Wedding Ring On?
If you're planning your wedding and looking down at that sparkler, you're probably wondering how you'll wear your engagement ring on your wedding day. The first thing to note is that married people typically wear their wedding bands closer to their hearts—in other words, below the engagement ring.
Probably the most popular way to swing this is to move your engagement ring to your right hand for your walk down the aisle. That way, your fiance can slide your wedding band onto your left hand, and you can then later place your engagement ring on top of it.
“Usually people have slightly larger ring sizes on the right hand, but as long as it is within a quarter of size, this should work,” Ghanimian says.
If the engagement ring is too big or too small to do this—or you just don't want to take the engagement ring off (and risk losing it!)—it's okay to put your band above your engagement ring.
Some brides even have the wedding band soldered to the engagement ring, so it becomes one piece of jewelry, and represents the marital bond.
After the wedding day, wear your engagement and wedding rings however you them best.
Again, the most popular way in the US is to have them both on the ring finger of the left hand with your wedding band first, but you can separate them and wear them on opposite hands, or you can wear your wedding band solo. While it’s easy to obsess about which finger does a wedding ring go on, the choice is really yours to make.
“Many women are wearing their wedding bands solo as an excuse to start a collection of bands that they then stack on their right hand,” Lawler-Trustey says.
“Some women are even receiving more than one wedding band on the day of the wedding to surround their engagement ring.
Another trend we've seen is forgoing the traditional engagement ring altogether and requesting a beautiful diamond eternity band.”
Ghanimian agrees that breaking engagement ring rules makes your choice even more unique.
“There may be traditions, but there are no rules!” Ghanimian says. “Everyone can express their personal preferences individually through wedding jewelry.”
Can I Wear My Wedding Ring on My Right Hand?
Your wedding ring finger doesn’t have to be on your left hand. While tradition singles out the left ring finger as the ideal option, modern trends allow us to pick and choose how to wear our rings.
It’s perfectly acceptable to wear your wedding ring or engagement ring on either hand and any finger.
In fact, you don’t have to wear a ring at all – the choice is up to you and your partner to decide what fits your lifestyle best.
What Does Wearing Rings on Different Fingers Mean?
Different cultures have different meanings associated with each finger. While your wedding ring finger is traditionally on your right hand, some cultures wear wedding rings on their right index finger.
Similarly, signet rings worn on the pinky finger are also associated with marital status. In general, though, there are no hard and fast rules to follow, so choose whichever finger works best for your ring.
The Promise Ring Finger
Un engagement and wedding rings, the promise ring is a tradition dating back to the 16th century that's commonly misunderstood, since the ring used to signify the promise that an engagement would ensue. Now, that's not always the case, since some couples might not be ready for impending marriage, but want to show their commitment somehow.
Today, a promise ring can have any number of personal meanings; typically it's a symbol of an exclusive relationship and/or of love.
“The gifting of promise rings has been an age-old tradition , for couples who are in a steady relationship, and symbolizing their newfound love and commitment to each other,” Lawler-Trustey says.
It can also mean the couple has promised to one day get married. Or in the case of purity rings, they may have promised to remain virgins until their wedding day.
Some believe a promise ring is a pre-engagement ring—and while it isn't always, it can be.
“Many times, engagement rings inspire responses of 'How did he propose, when's the date, what are your colors and where are you getting married?' If you don't want to jump into the wedding planning process, a couple may choose to go with a promise ring,” Ghanimian says. “It's a symbol that marriage is where the relationship is headed eventually, when you're both ready.”
So, on which finger does a promise ring go? There's no hard and fast rule here. Some couples use the same finger as the engagement and wedding rings—the fourth finger of the left hand—but since this isn't an official engagement, others opt for a different finger.
If you wear your promise ring on your left hand, once you get married, the tradition is to move the promise ring to your right hand ring finger, Lawler-Trustey says.
Wedding Ring Finger: Which Finger Does Your Wedding and Engagement Rings Go On?
You probably already know what your dream wedding ring and engagement ring look , but which finger is your wedding ring finger? How should you wear your engagement ring? And do you even have to wear a wedding ring at all?
Here, we answer all the questions you have about your wedding ring finger, including where all the traditions actually originate from. Grab a cuppa – it’s time to get clued up.
READ MORE: The Most Unusual and Unique Wedding Rings
Which Finger is the Wedding Ring Finger?
The majority of people wear their wedding ring on their left hand, particularly in the UK.
Tradition states that you wear your wedding ring on your fourth finger. This finger is often known as the wedding ring finger, and is also the finger you wear your engagement ring on.
READ MORE: How to Choose Your Wedding Rings
Why Does Your Wedding Ring Go on Your Left Hand?
The tradition of wearing your wedding ring on your left ring finger dates back to Roman times, when it was believed that the vein in the fourth finger of the left hand ran directly to your heart – how romantic!
Romans named this vein the “vein of love”, and placed the ring over it to signify the love the newly married couple shares.
READ MORE: How to Buy an Engagement Ring
Why Do Some People Wear Their Wedding Ring on the Right Hand?
If you don’t want to follow tradition, you’re actually more than welcome to wear your wedding ring on your right hand. You make the rules!
Some people prefer to do this if it feels more comfortable or if they simply prefer the look.
READ MORE: 11 Wedding Rules That You Can Break
If you choose to wear your wedding ring on your right hand, you’ll be in good company! Married couples in the following countries tend to do the same:
- Some parts of Belgium
In India, the left hand was considered unclean and unlucky, so wedding rings have always been worn on the right. Greek brides and grooms traditionally wear their wedding rings on the right, as do Orthodox Christians.
READ MORE: The Best Budget-Friendly Bling
What Hand Does Your Engagement Ring Go On?
Your engagement ring goes on your left hand ring finger, the same as the wedding ring. For that reason, on your wedding day you’ll have a couple of choices.
Lots of people stack their wedding and engagement rings and wear both of them on the left hand ring finger. In the UK, most women wear their engagement ring on top of the wedding ring, meaning that the wedding ring is placed on the finger first. This is because superstition states that the wedding ring should never be taken off.
Before you walk down the aisle, you should switch your engagement ring to your right hand. When the wedding ceremony is over, you can then slide your engagement ring on top of the wedding ring to seal it in place.
If you don’t want to wear both your engagement ring and wedding ring on the same hand, there are a couple of things you can do.
You could move your engagement ring to the ring finger on your right hand, you could weld the rings together and create a bespoke ring or you could forgo wearing an engagement ring altogether.
Whatever you decide to do, the most important thing is that you wear your jewellery in a way that is comfortable for you.
READ MORE: Where to Buy a Bespoke Engagement Ring in London
Why Does Your Engagement Ring Go On Your Left Hand?
The engagement ring tradition goes back to ancient Rome, where it was customary for suitors to give their bride a ring prior to marriage as a promise that they’d marry them.
The left hand is the chosen hand for the same reason that the wedding ring goes on the left hand: Romans believed there was a vein which ran from your fourth finger directly to your heart.
In Colombia and Brazil, anyone who’s engaged wears their engagement ring on their right hand and then moves it over to their left hand after making their vows. Alternatively, in Germany and the Netherlands, they wear their engagement rings on the left hand and then their wedding rings on the right.
READ MORE: Temporary Engagement Rings to Pop the Question With
What Hand Should You Wear a Promise Ring On?
Image: Elijah & Susannah
Which finger and even which hand you wear a promise ring on are entirely up to you. They can be worn on any finger, and are sometimes even worn on a chain around your neck.
Promise rings are typically given as a token of commitment to your other half before getting engaged. By giving your partner a promise ring, you’re devoting yourself to them and often signifying future engagement. A pretty romantic sentiment, don’t you think?
READ MORE: How to Write Your Wedding Vows
Do You Have to Wear a Wedding Ring?
Rings are a lovely way to symbolise your union and the love you have for your partner, particularly because the circular shape has a connotation of “endless love” and “infinity”.
That said, you don’t have to wear a wedding ring or engagement ring.
You might want to wear an engagement ring only and give the wedding band a miss. Alternatively, you could select another piece of jewellery to stand in the place of a ring, a necklace or a bracelet.
READ MORE: Alternative Engagement Rings for Untraditional Couples
The traditions and options surrounding how to wear your engagement ring and wedding ring are exciting, and in an increasingly accepting society, there’s actually only one rule: wear your jewellery in the way that feels right for you!
Now you know how to wear your rings, you’ll want to consider buying them! Have you ever thought about designing your own bespoke engagement ring for yourself or your partner? Our guide tells you all there is to know.
Why are Engagement Rings Worn on the Fourth Finger of the Left Hand?
Engagement rings, as well as wedding rings, are most commonly worn on the ring finger, or the fourth finger, of the left hand.
Though rings can sometimes be found on the right hand ring finger, it is the choice of the individual couple after all; the fourth finger on the left hand remains prevalent as the chosen finger for engagement and wedding rings.
Why is this? Well, there are several existing theories that date back centuries. Here is a look at the history and enduring theories we choose to believe about the placement of our wedding rings.
Beliefs of the Ring Finger
The ring finger has been believed by many cultures to be magical throughout the history of man. In Chinese culture, the ring finger is referred to as the “unnamed finger.
” There is also an ancient Chinese theory about finger placement that essentially says that though you’ll leave your parents home, form lives separate from your siblings, and have your children leave your home for their own new families, you and your spouse are meant to be a bond much harder to break.
A mystical component of connection also comes into play in the traditions of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The tradition endures today, against the current knowledge we have to the contrary, in the form of what we’ve dubbed “The Ring Finger-Heart Connection”.
The Ring Finger-Heart Connection
As mentioned above, it was in the time of the Ancient Greeks and Romans that it was thought that a vein of blood ran from the fourth finger of the left hand, the ring finger, to the heart. Because of this connection, the vein was referred to as “the vein of love.
” From here it became only fitting for wedding rings, symbols of love and devotion, to be worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. Of course there were no detailed charts of the human circulatory system around then, irregardless of the great thinkers of the time.
The Ring Finger Amongst Cultures
Modern connections to today’s wedding ring wearing traditions may have existed in ancient Greek and Roman cultures, but it quickly spread to many others, and remains a prominent tradition in countless cultures today.
Though some orthodox Christian countries have a tradition of wearing wedding and engagement rings on the ring finger of the right hand, most Western countries have continued the age long tradition of wearing them on the left hand.
Jewish wedding ceremonies begin with placing the wedding ring on the index finger and switch it over to the ring finger after the ceremony.
Muslim culture rarely includes wedding rings altogether, but does have a culture of wearing engagement rings on the left hand’s ring finger, more often than not these rings are gold. If you're interested, check out these wedding bands from around the world.
The Ring Finger Tradition for Today’s Bride
Some people have just suggested that the reason is more practical, and when considered, the most practical reason does tend to make a lot of sense.
Most people are right handed, so wearing your wedding and engagement ring on the left hand means that it stands a chance of avoiding contact with anything that might damage it; keeping it in great condition. Think about it, we typically wear watches and bracelets on the left arm for the same reason.
Many of us do not give much thought as to why we wear our engagement rings on the ring finger, or why it is known as the ring finger altogether. It just seems so natural; it’s just what people do. Whether you have received a Simon G.
engagement ring, or have chosen a Tacori wedding band, it is up to you to decide which finger will be worthy of your ring, though the ring finger definitely has a lot going for it, including history, tradition, and practicality. Not to mention, when someone checks for a ring on a man or woman’s hand, there’s usually only one finger they focus on.
All About Your Engagement Ring Finger
An engagement ring is exciting.
Not just because that means you’ve committed to spending your life with someone (though that’s certainly good news too!), but because of all the history and tradition behind the ring — and the finger you’re wearing it on. From the ancient Egyptians to the Romans, to the royalty in France, pretty much everyone agrees that there’s a lot of meaning behind your engagement ring.
The earliest example of a wedding ring comes from Egypt, almost five thousand years ago. The circular form of the ring represents eternity, with space in between serving as a gateway. Essentially, the wedding ring represents an entry into immortal love.
Now, engagement rings are a little different. The first diamond engagement ring can be traced back to fifteenth-century France, when the Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave his fianceé, Mary of Burgundy, a ring with diamonds that spelled out the letter “M.
” Whether or not the M stood for Maximillian or Mary (or both?) the elaborate gift seems to have been received well.
At the very least, it was d among royalty in general, because the diamond engagement ring started to become a tradition — one that’s continued to this day!
Why diamonds? Well, although we don’t know Maximillian’s reasoning, it ly had to do with the rarity of the gem. Rumor has it that he spent quite a bit of his fortune on the ring.
That said, the meaning of a diamond ring has evolved over the centuries.
Diamonds are the strongest substance on Earth and each one is unique, which symbolizes the enduring strength of each individual love story.
It’s also worth noting that, though similar, engagement rings have always been different from promise rings — which originated in 2nd century Rome.
Roman law stipulated that couples had to be promised to each other for a certain amount of time before a wedding ceremony could occur, and thus promise rings were born.
Throughout the centuries, promise rings have stuck around, though their meaning has become somewhat varied (from simple romantic gestures to promises of chastity, and more).
The Wedding Ring Finger (and Hand)
If you’re looking for a definite answer on the correct wedding ring hand… there isn’t one. For instance, while much of Western society agrees the wedding ring hand is the left hand, that isn’t the case everywhere. Because the left hand is considered unlucky by some, many in countries India, Norway, and Russia place the rings on the right hand.
In Chile, the tradition is a bit different. For one thing, both the bride and groom receive engagement rings. For them, the engagement ring hand is their right hand, so rings are worn on the right during the engagement period. Once married, however, the couple switches the rings over to their left hands.
Still, for most, the engagement ring hand is also the wedding ring hand. The only time most cultures stray from this practice is during the wedding ceremony itself.
After all, it can be a bit tricky to slide a wedding ring onto a finger that already has an engagement ring on it.
In these cases, many brides (or grooms) will opt to wear their engagement ring on their right hand during the ceremony, leaving their wedding ring finger open. Once the wedding is over, they’ll usually transfer the engagement ring back to the left hand.
Of course, this is just part of the puzzle.
Have you ever wondered why people often call the fourth finger the ring finger? This, many of the other traditions that have gone into the engagement ring we know today, started hundreds of years ago with the ancient Romans.
They believed the fourth finger had a vein, known as the Vena Amoris (“vein of love”), which ran from the finger directly to the heart. Wearing a ring on this finger, then, would symbolize keeping the love close to one’s heart.
Cute, right? Unfortunately, this vein as the Romans imagined it doesn’t really exist. If you really want the ring close to your heart, you’d have to wear it on a necklace.
Still, it’s the thought that counts — or rather, it’s the thought and years of tradition.
Which is why, if you’re from the United States or a similar Western country, you’ll probably still designate the fourth finger on your left hand to be the engagement ring finger.
Engagement Ring Fingers Today
For some people, these traditions that makeup engagement rings are exciting and sweet. It can be comforting to know there’s a history behind the finger you wear your ring on, for instance. But not everyone is super keen on following the crowd, and that’s okay! After all, even though Archduke Maximillian’s diamond ring idea took off, the lettering definitely did not.
Maybe you and your partner are caught between two cultures with very different ideas of how the wedding ceremony should work. Or maybe you just enjoy going off the beaten path and marching to the beat of your own drum. And that’s great. The most important part of a ring isn’t where you wear it, or even what it looks , but what it means to you and your partner.
Whether it’s a declaration of love, a promise to stay true, or something else entirely, ultimately you decide what your ring means. At Clean Origin, we want to help you choose that meaningful symbol for your loved one.
With ethically sourced diamonds and high-quality rings, your engagement ring is sure to please… no matter which finger it’s worn on.
Want more information on diamonds? Contact us today; we love talking about diamonds, and we’re always up for a chat.
Band For Life: The History of Wedding Rings
Micer Marsilio Cassotti and his wife Faustina, by Lorenzo Lotto
Art Collection 2 / Alamy Stock Photo
The ancient Egyptians believed in the vena amoris, literally the “vein of love” that runs directly from the heart to the fourth finger on the left hand. Since then, wedding rings have been worn as a sign of the binding pledge between spouses. The endless circle shows the eternal nature of the union, with the open centre a portal to the unexplored life ahead as a couple.
This sentimental theory is recognized in western cultures and is the main reason the engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger, now referred to as the “ring finger”. In other cultures, however, the ring is worn on the right hand, since that is the hand used for oaths and vows.
The Greeks and Romans carried on the tradition but, during these eras, betrothal rings were made leather, bone or ivory. In early Rome, the use of metal rings began to surpass other materials, but the metal primarily used was iron. Gold and silver rings were given on rare occasions, and only by the extremely wealthy.
By the time of the Byzantine Empire, most rings began to be personalized and engraved with figures of the betrothed couple. Once Christianity became the empire’s official religion, the couple were often depicted with Jesus or a cross between them, blessing their union.
Significantly, when someone is symbolically married to god, the ring is worn on the right hand.
The Coronation Ring, known as the “Wedding Ring of England”, created for the coronation of William IV in 1831, was last worn by Elizabeth II in her marriage to the nation in 1953 on the fourth finger of her right hand. It takes the form of a sapphire surmounted by a cross of rubies and diamonds.
The fede or gimmel ring is an inspiration for many wedding bands today.
According to John Benjamin, an independent jewellery buyer and historian, “a fede ring is a design of ring in which two hands meet and are clasped in friendship, love or betrothal, usually with an engraved motif ‘Love me and leave me not.
’” This style of ring became prominent in the medieval period, from the 13th century onwards. The name “fede” is from the Italian phrase mani in fede meaning “hands clasped in faith”, and the specific moment when the ring is placed on the finger in a marital service is often depicted in paintings throughout the ages.
This is the particular moment that signifies the couple’s union; the ring seals the deal, as it were. The portrait Micer Marsilio Cassotti and his wife Faustina, painted by Lorenzo Lotto in 1523, shows an angel watching over the couple as he places the ring on her finger.
For centuries, wedding rings were the centrepiece of a marriage but they have been somewhat eclipsed by engagement rings.
From Elizabeth Taylor’s iconic rock, Jacqueline Kennedy’s emerald by Van Cleef & Arpels, and Kate Middleton’s sapphire, reconfigured from Princess Diana’s engagement ring—all these pieces have bedazzled us and overwhelmingly influenced brides’ expectations.
It was not until 1947, when copywriter Francis Gerety created de Beers’s iconic “A Diamond is Forever” campaign, that diamonds soared as the most popular choice of stone for an engagement setting.
Today, a diamond engagement ring is still the most common choice, although people are beginning to move towards unique styles, vintage pieces, rough diamonds and other non-traditional stones.
Other couples are persuaded by more eco-friendly and fair-mined options, and even recycled diamonds.
The ultimate engagement ring in many a bride’s mind now is entirely bespoke: a unique piece designed in collaboration with a jeweller whereby everything from the gemstone, the gold, the setting and endless decorative elements are chosen by the bride—or a very confident groom.
Why Is The Wedding Ring Worn On The Left Hand?
If someone asked you, even at a young age, “What finger does the wedding ring go on?” you probably knew the answer. In the United States, it is very common for most people to wear their wedding ring on the left ring finger. But have you ever wondered why the wedding ring is worn on the left hand in the first place? Do brides and grooms have to do this?
Read on for a little history behind the traditions in engagement and promise rings and the story behind left hand ring placement and whether or not your have to follow this custom.
The Wedding Ring
The story of why the wedding ring is worn on the left hand can be traced way back to ancient times. In ancient times, the Romans believed that the vein in the ring finger (which is the fourth finger on your left hand) ran directly to one’s heart. Due to this belief, this that vein adopted a name “vena amoris” or vein of love.
To solidify they their love or a union between two people, they would place the ring on that finger that housed the vein of love to signify the romance that the newly married couple shared. Really, when you think about how symbolism plays a role in much of our life as human beings, this is the most adorable physical representation of two hearts being connected that there is.
No wonder it has existed in tradition all these years.
Unfortunately, modern-day science suggests that all your fingers have vein connections to the heart. However, the ring finger continues to symbolize love and commitment in matrimony. Why is the ring finger sometimes referred to as the “third finger”? Some people don’t include the thumb when they are counting.
To clear, however, the ring finger is the digit next to the pinkie. In some countries the ring finger is on the left hand. In others it is on the right. And in some wedding traditions, the engagement ring is transferred from the left hand to the right. Some women remove their engagement ring after they get married.
Others wear it with their wedding band. Many couples remove their wedding rings altogether even though they are still married. They may do this due to discomfort or fear of losing the expensive jewelry.
Sometimes, in marriages that have challenges the rings may come on and off regularly symbolizing a couples state of mind.
You are welcome to wear your wedding ring on the right hand. In doing so, you’d be following the example of many central and northern European couples. The real point of any of these concepts is that the age-old tradition of offering an engagement ring and eventually sealing the deal with a wedding ring, is an honor and important symbolic gesture in every walk of life in mankind.
In India, the left hand was once considered both unclean and unlucky, so wedding rings were worn on the right. But nowadays, either hand can be a home for wedding baubles.
Image by Lace Hanky Photography. Bridal Hair styling and image provided by WarPaint International Beauty Agency.
The Engagement Ring
Since Western cultures have accepted the above-mentioned wives tale to be true, the newly-engaged have also taken to wearing the engagement ring on that left ring finger.
And interestingly, many of the people in Europe who choose to wear their wedding rings on the right hand, still wear their engagement ring on the left and then transfer it over.
This symbolizing the transition from engagement to union.
In Latin American countries such as Colombia and Brazil, couples often wear bands as engagement rings on their right hands, and after completing their vows, move rings to the left hand. In Germany and the Netherlands, they may do the opposite—positioning engagement rings on the left hand and then wedding rings on the right.
Today, especially within same-sex marriages, men have begun wearing engagement rings.
“Same-sex couples sometimes choose to use the ring finger on the right hand for engagement and wedding bands since it’s similar, but not identical to the heterosexual practice, according to GayWeddings.com.
“Others, however, embrace the traditional practice of using the ring finger of the left hand. We have also known of folks who have used other fingers; some have chosen the same finger and other couples have each picked a finger and not matched.”
If you’ve decided to wear both (or all three) rings on the same finger, you might be wondering about stacking. Married couples conventionally wear their wedding bands closest to their hearts. This means they’re the bottom stack, below the engagement ring, pushed towards the base of you knuckle.
On your wedding day, the the most popular strategy is to switch over your engagement ring to your right hand right before you walk down the aisle. Now your spouse-to-be can slide the band right up your left finger, and can then top it off with the engagement ring during the ceremony, or later on.
Today, it is common for many brides, either in an an attempt to save themselves some trouble or enact another “marital bond” metaphor, to have the wedding and engagement rings soldered together into one jewelry piece. At Gittelson Jewelers, we offer this service all the time.
Below is a quick and fun video from Bride-to-be magazine in Australia, showing a different graphic visualization of why the wedding ring is worn on the 4th finger.
So how should I wear my wedding rings?
The answer, fortunately, is that it’s up to you! Stackable wedding bands are definitely trending, and you can wear multiple rings in any way that you . Traditionalists may opt to keep all bands on the left ring finger, but there is no set rule on needing to have all of the set on one hand. Ultimately, it’s up to the bride to decide how many bands she’d to wear and on which fingers.
Today, comfort has a lot to do with the way brides choose to wear their rings over tradition or even fashion. Some brides the symmetry of having their engagement ring in between two bands. A ring jacket, which is made to keep multiple rings in place comfortably, can be a great addition for these brides.
How will you wear your wedding ring ensemble? At Gittelson Jewelers we have 35 years of experience making recommendations and today, designing custom rings your own vision of the perfect symbol of love.