Which Hand Should Wear an Engagement Ring?

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left hand diamond engagement ring

Traditionally, we place the engagement ring on the intended’s left ring finger.

However, there are also many exceptions to this, therefore undoubtedly making it more a custom rather than a hard-and-fast rule.

Today, few stop to consider the origin of wearing an engagement ring as well as a wedding band on the fourth finger of the left hand.

Romantic Traditions

One may laugh today to learn the origins of this custom comes from a belief in Tudor Days, that a blood vessel coursed from the fourth (or ring) finger of the left hand directly to the intended’s heart. Due to this left side and heart connection, scholars at the time, writing as usual in Latin, blessed this custom with the name vena amoris, or in today’s English, the vein of love.

man & woman heart shape arms

Once this connection came into extensive use, the custom stayed on, long after its origins had been wholly forgotten.

But today, with ease of international travel, so many ethnic groups and tourists, as well as others, are always on the move and with them, like the luggage they bring, are many of their local customs.

Western-European Customs

While in the United States, the United Kingdom, and many other countries, the left finger is the norm, many European countries have a different idea of where to wear an engagement ring. In Germany, it is more common for the intended, the bride, and even the groom to wear the rings on the fourth finger of their right hand.

When it comes to same-sex marriages, customs haven’t yet been well-established. Some couples prefer a small ring in an eyebrow!

western european marriage car

Middle-Eastern & Asian Customs

In some Muslim countries, the majority of women also wear the engagement ring on the fourth finger of the left hand.

It is also well known that some religious groups such as the Protestants and Calvinists prefer to wear their engagement/wedding bands on the right hand, while Catholics of course always wear these on the left.

asia middle east marriage

Article Summary

Most people interviewed felt that the point of wearing a wedding or engagement band on the left hand’s ring finger is a readily visible sign that tells others that this person is already seriously involved in a relationship.

They felt that to do otherwise defeats any reason for the future partner to spend a great deal of money for a ring that has no more meaning than a pair of earrings.

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