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 hand 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 which finger to wear the engagement ring on. In addition, the same questions gets asked for both wedding and eternity rings.
Please note that some sources suggest the engagement ring finger goes on the fourth finger. Keep in mind, 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 are worn on the left hand.
Some call the appropriate finger the ‘engagement ring finger’. Others refer to it as the ‘wedding ring finger’ or ‘marriage finger’. All terms point to the same third finger of the left hand.
Why is the engagement ring finger so important?
The traditional finger for an engagement ring to be worn is very important for most of us. As a result of tradition, we adhere to strict traditions. 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. An engagement ring is removed for day-to-day tasks. This is a more practical way to wear the rings. Removal of the engagement ring for day-to-day tasks ensures protection to ensure the continued shine and sparkle of the ring.
Worn together on the left hand, the wedding ring goes on the finger before the engagement ring.
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 traditional of wearing bridal rings on a specific finger. Commonly referred to as the ‘Vein of Love’ its name comes from Latin.
Does the Vena Amoris vein flow directly to the heart?
Many romantics quote a very old 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 ring 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 action 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 truly the first finger. Do we have ten fingers or eight fingers and two thumbs?
For this reason, a unified name exists for each finger of the hand. Namely, thumb, index, long, ring and little. 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, wearing a ring on the middle finger isn’t completely unheard of. It may be down to a health complication that an engagement ring or wedding ring is unable to be worn on the traditional finger, these may include a break to the ring finger, amputation, or arthritis.
Although the middle finger is at least 2 sizes larger than the ring finger another example would be if someone has lost weight. This could be down to the ring style, for example, if it is unable to be resized in any way, as a fully set eternity ring that is now too big for the traditional finger. This could then be worn on the middle finger as an alternative.
CanadaMark diamond in a modern 4 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 hand. Ultimately the wedding ring hand is a personal choice. However, many wearers consider tradition when making the 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 is worn 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. Wedding bands are rarely worn on the opposite hand to the 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 cannot be removed?
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. Worn for many years, without removal, your ring might be difficult to remove 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 a ring, so tight, that it cannot be removed.
Why do some photographs show engagement rings and wedding rings on the right hand?
Some bridal photos show the diamond engagement ring and wedding ring worn on the right hand. When photographs appear in reverse, the illusion of incorrect finger sometimes occurs. In contrast, the wedding ring finger viewed in the photograph is the left hand, appearing 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. Workers in health industries wear a plain wedding ring. Placed on the hand first, the ring remains in place during work.
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 the sequence of wedding ring, engagement ring and eternity ring worn in order on the hand. Engagement ring style ref. Eleanor.
Do people in other countries wear the engagement rings on the other hand?
One of our recent visitors to our Isle of Wight jewellery showroom was born in Russia. During conversation with my colleague, she made reference 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 divorce, it was common practice to remove rings from the right hand, replacing them on the left hand. It was funny to think that the Western convention would make her appear divorced in her home country.
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 are worn on the other hand.
Engagement ring styles
Our UK showroom and website collection boasts 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.
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 effect all 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 wonderful 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 some of the wedding ring widths of bands 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. Whether you post a photo of your left ring finger, or right-handed ring finger, we’ll gladly share the photo. If you wear your ring on a specific finger, or hand, tell us why.