Which Hand for Engagement Rings, Wedding Rings and Eternity Rings?

Engagement ring worn on the correct hand and finger

Which hand does the engagement ring go on?

In this article, we answer a few key questions, which hand for engagement rings; which hand for wedding rings and finally, which finger for eternity rings.

By tradition, the engagement ring goes on the third finger of the left hand. Or, the fourth digit of the hand.

Engagement rings never go on the index finger, although some people choose to wear their rings on very different fingers. Many of our clients ask on which finger to wear the engagement ring. Also, the same questions get asked for both wedding and eternity rings.

Please note that some sources suggest the engagement ring goes on the fourth finger. Remember, many such articles strangely count the thumb when quoting the fourth finger. But all sources agree on the left hand, second-from-smallest finger. 

For men and women, the engagement ring and wedding ring go on the left hand.

Some call the appropriate finger the ‘engagement ring finger’ or refer to it as the ‘wedding ring finger’ or ‘marriage finger’. All terms point to the same third finger of the left hand.

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Why is the third finger so important?

Most couples place importance on the tradition of the correct finger. Culture means we adhere to strict customs. When it comes to engagement rings, the engagement ring finger always dictates where an engagement ring sits on the hand.

Which goes on first, the wedding ring or engagement ring?

Once married, the engagement ring goes on the finger after the wedding ring with the removal of the engagement ring for day-to-day tasks. 

Such actions come from practical considerations. Removal of the engagement ring for day-to-day tasks ensures protection to ensure the continued shine and sparkle of the ring.

Both the wedding ring and engagement ring go onto the same finger of the left hand. 

Why is the engagement ring worn on the left hand?

Some ancient cultures believed in a vein flowing from the left hand to the heart. This belief resulted in the tradition of wearing bridal rings on a specific finger. Commonly referred to as the ‘Vein of Love’, its name comes from Latin.

View examples of bespoke jewellery

Does the Vena Amoris vein flow directly to the heart?

Many romantics quote an ancient myth. The ring finger has a vein of love flowing directly to the heart—aka the Vena Amoris. This legend comes from the Ancient Romans. Although very romantic, this simply is not true. There is no specific vein in the finger directly connected to the heart.

A practical explanation for wearing an engagement ring on the left hand

Since most people are right-handed, there is a certain practical sense to wearing an engagement ring on the left hand. An engagement ring and wedding band receive less wear than if worn on the dominant hand. Some refer to the right hand as the active hand. The opposing hand causes less wear for wedding bands and engagement rings.

The engagement ring finger

Our photograph below shows a close-up view of the engagement ring on the finger. Shown with a simple, classically styled diamond solitaire engagement ring on the third finger of the left hand.

Names used for fingers on the hand

Doctors rarely number fingers owing to the confusion over which finger is genuinely the first finger. Do we have ten fingers or eight fingers and two thumbs?

For this reason, a familiar name exists for each finger of the hand; thumb, index, long, ring and little finger. These terms are used today instead of more technical terms.

 

Names applied to fingers of the hand

Wearing a ring on your middle finger

Although this may be unorthodox, some brides and grooms wear their ring on the middle finger. It may be down to a health complication that an engagement ring or wedding ring is unable to be worn on the usual finger, these may include a break to the finger, amputation, or arthritis.

Some suggest the middle finger represents balance. Although we rarely see rings worn on the mid finger, we advise simple, comfortable designs for wear on the middle finger.

Although the middle finger is at least two sizes larger than the ring finger, another example would be if someone has lost weight. 

For rings unsuitable for size adjustments, it might be practical to change which finger on which the ring is worn.  

 

CanadaMark diamond in a modern four claw setting, shown on the correct finger.

What hand does your wedding ring go on?

Your wedding ring goes on your left hand. And, what finger does the wedding ring go on? Wedding rings go on the same finger as an engagement ring. So if you’ve ever wondered which hand does the wedding ring go on, you now have the answer! And who doesn’t wear wedding rings after marriage?

Which hand for the wedding ring in other countries

In Russia, wedding rings go on the third finger of the right hand. In a similar fashion, countries including Germany, Spain, Austria, India, Greece, Ukraine and Poland wear the wedding ring on the right hand.

When are wedding rings worn on the right hand?

Some people wear wedding rings on the right hand. For medical reasons including swollen knuckles, a person might decide on wearing a wedding ring on the opposite side. Ultimately the wedding ring hand is a personal choice. However, many wearers consider tradition when making a decision.

What finger does the engagement ring go on before marriage?

What to do with your engagement ring on your wedding day

Before marriage, the engagement ring goes on the third finger of the left hand. There are many opinions about how to wear your engagement ring on the big day. Most brides place their engagement ring on the right hand before the ceremony. After the wedding ceremony, the engagement ring goes back onto the ring finger of the left hand. Few people wear their wedding ring on the right hand. 

Daisy 7 stone diamond cluster engagement ring

The beautiful ‘Daisy’ engagement ring, available in many carat weight options

What if your engagement ring won’t fit onto your right hand? Or what if your engagement ring gets stuck?

There are two suggestions in this instance. Either leave your engagement ring on the existing finger. If you can remove your engagement ring, you could leave it in trust with a relative during the ceremony. Your ring might be challenging to take off due to swollen fingers, or even due to enlarged knuckles. If you really cannot remove the ring, our advice would be to seek professional help. It simply is not healthy to wear jewellery so tight that it becomes unremovable. 

Why do some photographs show engagement rings and wedding rings on the right hand?

Some bridal photos show the diamond engagement ring and a wedding ring worn on the right hand. When photographs appear in reverse, the illusion of an incorrect finger sometimes occurs in reverse.

How to wear a wedding ring

Some clients ask how to wear wedding rings. More specifically, the sequence of rings on the finger. Firstly the wedding ring goes onto the finger. Next, the engagement ring. Finally, the eternity ring. 

Which order do you wear an engagement, wedding and eternity ring? How to stack your rings

The question of what order to wear your engagement ring, wedding ring and eternity ring frequently arises. After confirming which hand and finger, let’s turn our attention to the order rings are worn.

Firstly the wedding ring goes onto the finger. People rarely remove the wedding ring unless a risk of damage arises. Secondly, the engagement ring goes onto the finger. Finally, the eternity ring sits on the outside. People remove both rings on a more frequent basis. Typically the engagement ring sits between the wedding and eternity ring.

The Ring Order

Showing an engagement ring, wedding ring and eternity ring in order on the hand

Showing the sequence of the wedding ring, engagement ring and eternity ring worn in order on the hand. Engagement ring style ref. Eleanor. 

Do people in other countries wear engagement rings on the other hand?

One of our recent visitors to our Isle of Wight jewellery showroom was born in Russia. During a conversation with my colleague, she referred to the Russian convention for wearing engagement rings and wedding rings. When she lived in Russia, ladies wore their engagement ring and wedding ring on their right hand.

In the event of a divorce, it was common practice to remove rings from the right hand, replacing them on the left side. It was funny to think that the Western convention gave the impression of a divorced status in her country of origin. 

Do you have another convention to comment on? If so, leave a comment on this post. We would love to hear of any other countries where rings go on the other hand.

Engagement ring styles

Our UK showroom and website collection boast a fabulous range of different diamond engagement ring styles. From simple solitaire diamond engagement rings to elaborate bespoke designs. We craft each ring individually, working with a varied choice of precious metals and diamonds. View just some of our many engagement ring styles online within our website range.

Are you stacking rings on the same finger?

At this time, stacking rings are very fashionable. Likewise, stacking matching engagement, wedding ring and eternity rings give a fabulous effect. Some triple stacking rings give a three-ring impact all on the same finger.

Stacking rings worn on the same finger

Stacking rings, wearable on the same finger (Clover design – Serendipity Diamonds)

Do you need additional help?

After reading our post, contact us for any additional help needed. Whether you require assistance on the wedding ring, engagement ring or specific jewellery styles, we’re there to help. Furthermore, our small and friendly team of jewellery experts give lovely advice. We work daily from our luxury showroom in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, advising clients Worldwide.

Wedding Bands and Widths for Hands

Don’t forget to take a look at our post on wedding bands and widths for hands. We included a useful video to show popular wedding ring widths as they appear on the finger.

Send us a photograph of your wedding finger or engagement ring finger

Why not photograph your wedding finger complete with your ring, or rings. Then, email us your photo, and we’ll add it to our blog. Finally, include your name and we’ll add it to a gallery on this post. We’ll gladly share your photographs. If you wear your ring on a specific finger or hand, tell us why.

Mark Johnson

About Mark Johnson

Mark attended Liverpool University and went on to pursue a career in the diamond industry. After more than a decade working in polished diamonds, Mark moved to the Isle of Wight where he launched Serendipity Diamonds. He works most days from their busy Ryde showroom, photographing jewellery and writing for the Serendipity Diamonds website.

Mark Johnson

About Mark Johnson

Mark attended Liverpool University and went on to pursue a career in the diamond industry. After more than a decade working in polished diamonds, Mark moved to the Isle of Wight where he launched Serendipity Diamonds. He works most days from their busy Ryde showroom, photographing jewellery and writing for the Serendipity Diamonds website.