Wedding rings are an integral part of wedding traditions, and where they are placed matters. With so many varied traditions around the world, keeping track of which hand the wedding ring goes on and why can be confusing. In this article, you’ll learn about traditional ring placements and the stories behind them.
Women who continue wearing their engagement rings after the ceremony stack them on top of their wedding bands. The engagement ring is positioned on top rather than the bottom so that the wedding band is closest to the heart.
We need to take a look back in history to grasp the significance of wedding ring placements. The ancient Romans, for example, had a profound influence on modern ring customs. The vena amoris, or “vein of love,” was understood by the Romans to connect the ring finger to the heart. Since the heart represented emotions, it was customary to wear engagement and wedding rings on this finger. Their tradition was to wear wedding rings on the finger most connected to the heart to symbolize commitment and love.
In ancient Rome, like today, the engagement ring was only worn by the bride-to-be. It represented a woman being transferred from her father’s care to her new spouse. The engagement ring also symbolized the legal contract between the couple and their families.
The ring finger is the finger next to the pinky. This finger is known scientifically as digitus medicinalis. Other scientific terms for this body part include digitus IV, digitus quartus, and digitus annularis.
GOLD: Wedding rings are traditionally constructed of yellow gold combined with alloys such as copper. Gold is not utilized in its purest form and is instead mixed with other elements because it is too soft on its own to be used in jewelry. While gold is a popular option for wedding rings, it is not the only one.
PLATINUM: Wedding bands made of platinum are also a common choice. Platinum is a natural element found predominantly in South Africa. This chemical element has a dazzling silver appearance and is produced from platinum sulfide minerals.
STERLING SILVER: Sterling silver is another alternative to gold due to its gleaming appearance and lower cost. This shiny alloy contains a mixture of pure silver and other metals, such as copper. It is more lightweight than gold and platinum, making it ideal for wedding bands. However, many consumers are hesitant to choose this material because of its low scratch resistance.
Engagement and wedding bands are traditionally constructed from the same materials. This implies that if the engagement ring is gold, the wedding band must be gold, too. You can see this tradition carried on by jewelers who offer engagement and wedding band sets crafted from the same elements.
Diamonds created in a lab are becoming increasingly popular. This is due to their affordability and their stark resemblance to the real thing. Lab grown diamonds are made by using intricate technology to simulate a diamond’s natural environment and growth conditions.
Cubic zirconia is an example of a man-made diamond, which is a common alternative in engagement rings. This lab diamond does not have the same imperfections typically found in natural diamonds. While cubic zirconia does not last as long as natural diamonds, it has an immaculate appearance that makes it a good substitute.
WOOD: The plethora of non-traditional wedding bands available demonstrates that not all couples want to adhere to tradition. It is not uncommon nowadays to come across wedding rings made of wood, such as walnut or rosewood. This style can also be combined with traditional elements like gold or platinum.
WHITE/ROSE GOLD: Another unique spin on traditional ring styles is to use white or rose gold instead of customary yellow gold. For those that prefer a silver ring that is more durable than actual silver, white gold is an ideal choice. Rose gold is also more durable than both silver and yellow gold.
It’s customary to wear wedding rings on the left hand in many Western countries. In North and South America, both the bride and groom wear their wedding bands on their left hands. This custom is also followed in the United Kingdom, France, and Italy.
In China, the fingers on the left hand all have symbolic meanings. Your spouse is represented by the fourth finger (your ring finger). Thus, spouses wear their wedding bands on the left hand in this country.
In India, wedding rings were traditionally worn on the right hand by couples. The reason behind this was that the left hand was seen as unholy. However, this custom has changed over time. Recent generations have embraced the Western ring-wearing style and don their bands on the left hand. As a result, it is common to see wedding rings on the left ring finger of younger couples.
Many cultures have customs that are the opposite of Western societies. Wedding bands are traditionally worn on the right hand in nations such as Russia, Denmark, Poland, and Greece. Other countries where married couples wear their rings on the right hand include Spain, Bulgaria, and Portugal.
While wedding ring placement is based on customs and traditions, it is still a personal decision. Some couples may not marry in a usual manner, and others do not wear their wedding rings in a traditional manner. Regardless of how you wear your wedding rings, it is sure to be the ideal fit for you and your significant other.