Your Engagement Ring Finger: Which One is It?
by Madeline Findlay
November 29, 2021 / Jewellery Buying Guide
So you’re engaged – congratulations! There are probably a million things running through your mind, from engagement party planning to planning your big day, but there is one thing some brides-to-be add to their list.
How should I wear my engagement ring?
For some, this is a simple and easy answer. For others, not so much.
Your Engagement Ring Finger
Traditionally, the finger where the engagement ring has been worn has been the fourth finger on the left hand.
Confused? Isn’t that the index finger?
Fingers are counted from the thumbs outward, therefore the fourth finger is in fact the finger next to the pinky finger on the left hand.
This has become the traditional finger to wear an engagement ring on, thanks to Ancient Greek mythology.
Your Wedding Ring Finger
Brides often wear their wedding ring on the same finger as their engagement ring – i.e. the fourth finger on the left hand.
The wedding ring is normally worn underneath the engagement ring, with the engagement ring being removed during the wedding ceremony, the wedding ring is placed on the finger, and the engagement ring replaced on top after the commitment has been finalised.
However, not all engagement rings are designed to be worn with their wedding set – some engagement rings shine best alone on the finger. This leaves the wedding band to be worn on any other finger, however, it is normally on the fourth finger on the right hand, next to the pinky finger, being symmetrical with the engagement ring.
Why is the Engagement Ring Commonly Worn On the Left Hand?
In Ancient Roman times, the Ancient Romans believed in the Vena amoris. This translates to ‘vein of love’, which the Ancient Romans believed ran from the fourth finger on the left hand, connecting directly to the heart.
Because of this mythology, the tradition began for women to wear their engagement ring on the fourth finger on the left hand.
There is a network of veins from the hands to the heart, therefore a singular Vena amoris does not exist. This does not mean the Vena amoris is a myth, it does have a connection to the heart, though it is a component of a larger intertwined vein structure.
The ring on this finger therefore not only symbolised the couple’s commitment to one another, but also the connection of their hearts.
Wedding Ring Set Symbolism
The wedding ring set symbolises various components of the relationship:
The engagement ring symbolises the acceptance of an offer of marriage, and further is a physical display of the couple’s promise and intent to marry.
By wearing an engagement ring, it is publicly known that the couple intends to marry – or are at least committed to each other.
These days, engagement rings are commonly diamond engagement rings. However, brides-to-be do not have to stick with this norm! The diamond engagement ring tradition only became popular after the famous Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with a diamond engagement ring in 1477.
Since proposing with a diamond ring or solitaire ring has become so common that other types of rings have been considered less so. Despite this, there are far more options available to suit every woman’s tastes. Bespoke engagement rings are becoming increasingly popular as brides-to-be start shifting away from diamond rings.
The wedding ring is a solidification of commitment of the couple towards one another. The wedding ring is a symbol of their everlasting love and marks this new stage of their relationship.
The wedding ring, or wedding band, is often a plain and simple design in comparison to the engagement ring.
Not only a symbol of commitment to one another, but the wedding ring is also a memory of the couple’s happy day – a reminder of their celebration of love.
Engagement Ring Finger Guide
Frequently Asked Questions About Ring Fingers
Here are some frequently asked questions about engagement rings, wedding rings, and how to wear them.
What is the Ring Finger?
While rings can be worn on any finger, when people speak of the ring finger they are referring to the finger engagement and wedding rings are traditionally worn on.
Engagement Rings and Wedding Rings: What is the Difference?
There are a few differences between engagement rings and wedding rings:
- Engagement rings are given usually when the couple becomes engaged, and are worn from the engagement onwards
Wedding rings are presented at the wedding ceremony and worn afterward
- Engagement rings are commonly more extravagant, with a large stone – traditionally diamond
Wedding rings are also known as wedding bands because they are typically a standard jewellery band unlike a statement engagement ring
In What Order Should I Place Rings on My Ring Finger?
Traditionally, there are two or three rings stacked on the ring finger.
Base: Wedding ring
Middle: Engagement ring
Top: Eternity ring
Eternity rings have gained popularity over the past few years, so while it is not a traditional component of the wedding ring set many brides have added this extra piece to their collection.
For those without an eternity ring, the engagement ring often sits on top of the wedding band.
Can I Wear My Wedding Ring and Engagement Ring on Different Hands?
Yes, you can! In some cultures, it is customary to wear them on different hands, for example, your wedding ring on the right hand ring finger.
Some ring designs are best suited in complementary styling, with the engagement ring on one hand and the wedding ring on the other.
Are Engagement Ring Fingers different in other countries?
Yes, they are. Different cultural traditions and societal norms have created normalcy in different parts of the world. For example, the engagement and wedding ring finger is most commonly the right hand in countries including India, Spain, Russia, Norway, and Germany.
Is the Engagement Ring Finger different between females and males?
Males typically do not wear an engagement ring, therefore there is no difference here. Traditionally, males have only worn a wedding band ring, and this is worn on the same left hand ring finger as a female’s engagement ring.
Can I wear rings on my ring finger if I am not engaged or married?
You can, nothing is stopping you from wearing a ring on your ring finger! Women will typically wear a ring on their ring finger when it cannot fit on any other finger, or if they are not engaged.