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Which hand for Wedding, Engagement and Eternity Rings - Left or Right?

  • 4 min read

Which hand for Wedding, Engagement and Eternity Rings - Left or Right?

Which finger are wedding rings, engagement rings and eternity rings worn on? 

Engagement rings and wedding rings are typically worn on the fourth finger of the left hand, which we call our ‘ring finger’. This is where, in the UK, the engagement and wedding band traditionally sits. Once married, it is custom for your wedding band to be nicely paired alongside your existing engagement ring. Recently, it has also become popular to wear an eternity ring on the ring finger, stacked alongside your existing rings. Eternity rings are a customary first anniversary gift that are often given as a reminder of a couple's everlasting love and commitment, as well as a celebration of the time that a couple has spent in marriage. Another common occasion in which an eternity ring is given is to commemorate the birth of a couple's first child.

A common question, though, is in what order are the rings supposed to be in? In the UK, brides normally wear their engagement ring above the wedding ring, meaning that the wedding band is placed on the finger first, with the engagement ring neatly sat ‘on top’. During the wedding ceremony, the bride can place her engagement ring temporarily on the right hand, leaving the left open for the wedding ring. Some people choose to wear their eternity ring on top of their wedding ring, with the engagement ring on last. However, it is a completely personal decision, and can ultimately come down to where the ring looks best, or where it is most comfortable.

For many, the reasoning behind this is an old superstition which states that a wedding ring should never be taken off. As mentioned, it is also a current trend to stack wedding, engagement and eternity rings, and placing the wedding band on first will help to create a beautiful, romantic, but also meaningful aesthetic. 

The history and tradition of the ring finger

The tradition of exchanging wedding rings dates back to the times of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, where people decided to wear their ‘marriage rings’ on their fourth finger, as they believed that this finger was connected to a vein that went directly to the heart. They considered the heart to be the emotional centre of the body, the ancient Greeks even calling this vein the, ‘vein of love’. 

Today, modern understanding proves that this ancient belief is not true. However, the ring finger still remains as one of the most popular choices of locations for wedding and engagement bands. Why? As this is always what has been done! Even though it is no longer a belief that our emotions literally come from our physical hearts, we still continue to symbolise, and refer to our heart as romantic, loving and emotional, creating a deep, sentimental meaning. Therefore, we display this when it comes to wearing rings on this particular finger. 

The engagement ring goes on the fourth finger of the left hand for the same reason as it originally was in ancient times, where it was customary in Rome for suitors to give their bride once they were betrothed, as a promise that they would marry them, showcasing their eternal love, loyalty and deep passion. 

What is the practical reason for wearing wedding, engagement and eternity rings on the left hand? 

Due to the fact that most people are right-handed, there is a practical sense as to why wedding, engagement and eternity rings are worn on the ring finger of the left hand. If a ring isn't worn on the dominant hand, then it will be less subject to wear and tear, avoiding unnecessary damage and harm. Even if someone is left-handed, the right hand is still known as the 'active hand', and will still receive more usage and therefore, the rings will be prone to interaction with more objects, liquids and surfaces that could cause them to become worn and tarnished more quickly.

Here at Sonny's Jewellers, we understand the sentimental value that comes along with wedding, engagement and eternity rings, as well as the importance of keeping them safe and well-looked-after. Learn more about how to clean and look after your jewellery, as well as what practical steps you can take to ensure that your jewellery is protected. 

Are wedding, engagement and eternity rings only worn on the left hand? 

Although wedding, engagement and eternity rings are worn on the left hand by people all over the world, married couples in countries such as Bulgaria, Germany, Norway, Austria, Latvia, Denmark, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and the Netherlands tend to wear their wedding and engagement rings on the fourth finger of their right hand.

There are many cultural reasons why certain places wear their rings on the right hand instead of the left. In some countries, such as India, the left hand was thought to be unclean and unlucky, which is why their wedding rings have always been worn on the right. Greek brides and grooms, as well as Orthodox Christians also traditionally wear them on the right hand due to a religious viewpoint or standing.

 

Rings at Sonny's Jewellers

 

Rings at Sonny's Jewellers

Here at Sonny's Jewellers, we offer a wide range of beautiful engagement, wedding and eternity rings. Browse our selection online today, or alternatively, please feel free to visit us in store, where we can discuss your options. However, if you would like something that is more personal to you and your partner, then we provide a bespoke jewellery service, where you can work closely alongside our experts to create the ring of your dreams. Book an appointment today, we look forward to hearing from you!