Wedding rings are a marital tradition that has survived for hundreds of years in many cultures around the world. They’re a symbol of the unending devotion and everlasting love between partners. But, why are engagement rings worn on the left ring finger?
To answer that, we have to look back to the origins of wedding rings, engagement rings, and ceremonies.
Ancient Egyptian pharaohs were the first to use the wedding ring as a symbol of eternity. The Egyptians worshipped both the sun and the moon, and the wedding ring — with its circular shape — was a physical representation of both. The endless circle of the ring also represented that the bond between the two people was eternal, and the open center of the ring represented an entrance into the unknown.
The Egyptians believed that thevena amoris — the vein of love — was positioned on the fourth finger (the ring finger) on the left hand; the belief was that this was a vein that led directly to the heart. Today, we know this is anatomically incorrect, but the tradition continues.
When Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, the concept of wedding rings were exported back to Greece. However, the god Eros took the place of the sun and moon in the symbolism. Eventually, the Romans would go on to conquer the Greeks, and the tradition and symbolism of the rings carried on.
For most of history, a bride would only receive a wedding band and not an engagement ring. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that the idea of a second ring — a promise to wed — was added to tradition. Engagement rings would follow much of the same traditions as wedding bands.
Not all cultures treat the tradition the same way. In the United States the tradition is to wear a wedding ring on the left-hand ring finger.
However, the tradition varies across Europe and the rest of the west — the ring may be placed on the left-hand ring finger, the right-hand ring finger, or a different finger altogether!
In other parts of the world, wedding rings aren’t even a part of the ceremony.
Today, brides and grooms in the U.S. will traditionally place a matching wedding ring on the left ring finger, but even that is a recent change. Up until the 20th century, it was uncommon for men to wear wedding bands. As American and European soldiers marched off to battle during World War II, they began to wear rings to remind themselves of the wives and sweethearts they’d left behind.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose on which finger you wear your engagement ring and wedding band. If you’re a traditionalist, choose the ring finger that’s in line with your culture. If you want to break the trend, go for it!
Regardless of which finger you’ll wear your engagement ring or wedding band on, you want to make sure you find one that’s meaningful and gorgeous.
At our three locations in New Haven, Fort Wayne and Angola, and on our website, you can browse our selection of engagement rings and bridal sets. We have a wide array of diamond cuts, settings, and metal, including platinum, rose gold, yellow gold, and white gold. We carry rings from some of the industry’s leading designers, includingGabriel & Co.,Simon G andBellissima.
Engagement and marriage are two of the biggest life events, and they should be commemorated and celebrated.There’s no better way to mark these occasions than with beautiful rings from Peter Franklin Jewelers. Visit our stores or contact us online via our chat and see how we can help create jewelry that you’ll both admire and enjoy for a lifetime.