The engagement ring is considered a symbol of love and commitment. It signals that the person wearing it is engaged to be married, and that is how the engagement ring was named. It typically appears on the ring finger of the left hand along with the wedding ring. This is why it is common to have a matching engagement and wedding ring as they are worn stacked one over the other on the same finger following the wedding. Before the wedding, in what is commonly identified as the engagement period, the engagement ring is worn by itself.
WHY ON THE LEFT HAND?
The tradition of proposing marriage with an engagement ring dates back to ancient Rome. The custom at the time was to present the bride-to-be with a ring that served as a promise of marriage at a later date. The choice of the ring finger on the left hand to wear the engagement (and add to it the wedding) ring came from a belief the Romans had. They believed that a vein in the ring finger ran directly to the heart.
THE WEDDING RING FINGER
We have already identified the ring finger on the left hand as to where you would wear your engagement ring, and stack your wedding ring with it when married. It is at this point where many people begin to refer to the ring finger on the left hand as the wedding ring finger. However, not all cultures follow these traditions opting to wear wedding rings on a different finger.
WEDDING RINGS ON THE RIGHT HAND
Yes, it is not uncommon in many parts of the world to see wedding rings worn on the right-hand ring finger. There happen to be several countries that use this as their traditional ring finger. They include Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, and Spain. As for why the choice to wear engagement and wedding rings on the ring finger of the right hand is used, we can look to India for an answer that relates to their culture. In India, the left hand is considered unclean and impure. However, the right hand is not.
DO YOU HAVE TO WEAR ENGAGEMENT AND WEDDING RINGS?
This comes down to your personal preference and what you and your future bride (or husband) are comfortable with doing. If rings are not your “thing,” you can choose to display your undying love for your partner with a different type of jewelry such as a necklace or bracelet. It doesn’t matter which way you choose, but it is still an important act to show in some way the promise of commitment you have made to each other.
The engagement ring is commonly worn on the left-hand ring finger simply because of tradition that dates back several centuries. It is a tradition that is normally followed in Western cultures while other parts of the world use the right-hand ring finger. Both the wedding ring and engagement ring are meant to be worn together on the ring finger however if you prefer, you don’t have to use rings to symbolize your commitment. Any other type of jewelry is fine as long as it meets your personal preference.