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Why Does The Engagement Ring go on the Left Hand?

The tradition of wearing the engagement ring on the left hand was conceived of by the Ancient Romans. Their reasoning? The fourth finger of the left hand contains the Vena Amoris. Romans believed the Vena Amoris connected directly to the heart, symbolizing the direct connection between the love symbolized by the ring, and the heart of its wearer.

Like all things Italian, it sounds very nice. However, it’s not quite correct. The Vena Amoris does eventually make it to the heart. Unfortunately, so does every other vein in your body, after passing through several other larger veins along the way. So, you can wear your ring on your toe and enjoy the same physical connection to your heart.

custom 2 carat rose cut yellow gold engagement ring on left hand
Frank Darling custom
engagement ring
Woman wearing a custom engagement ring on her right hand
Frank Darling custom
engagement ring

Serious Security

As society evolved, the ring became a contract between the two families. A kind of security deposit.

If the suitor disappeared, a jilted nearly-wed woman could at least walk away with a sparkly consolation prize. Similarly, if your marriage ended in divorce, an engagement ring would at least partly compensate for your loss of status (and possibly virginity).

Fortunately, things have evolved. The practical role of the engagement ring is less of a priority than the romantic one. But, more often than not, it’s still worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. If you’re wondering where that tradition comes from, it was born in the same place as our calendar months, the architectural arch, and concrete — ancient Rome.

Breaking the Rules

If you do decide to wear your engagement ring on your left hand, there’s one day that you’re likely to switch it up. Before your wedding ceremony, you’re supposed to remove your engagement ring from your left hand and place on the third finger of your right hand. This tradition is mostly practical. It makes it easy for your spouse to place your wedding ring on your ring finger and say, “I do.”

After the wedding, most women move their engagement ring back to their left hand.

While there’s nothing objectionable about the tradition, there’s no reason you can’t switch it up. Here are some ways real women are mixing it up.

Switch it Up

If you’re left-handed, you may prefer to wear your engagement ring on your non-dominant hand. If you’re ambidextrous, your left hand might be the safer choice. It’s a right handed world out there. Most spaces we find ourselves in were designed for use by primarily right-handed people.

If you fell in love with an unconventional engagement ring it may not stack as gracefully as a solitaire. This can be another reason to wear your engagement ring and wedding band on different hands. While we love a good stack, not all rings were made to pair. 

One and Done

Last time we checked, there’s no rule in the court of love that says your engagement ring cannot ALSO be your wedding band. Why, you ask? Some might have a more active lifestyle or prefer a more minimal look. Wedding bands aren’t inexpensive, and this approach is also a way to focus your budget. If this appeals to you, consider an eternity band. Eternity bands often have a lot more carat than a traditional solitaire, so you might end up ahead after all.

custom oval solitaire engagement ring
Frank Darling custom
engagement ring

Take it Off

It might sound absurd. But, for some, it makes perfect sense. An engagement ring (as we learned earlier) is a symbol of your intent to marry. Guess what? You’re married! Depending on your job, it’s entirely possible your engagement ring isn’t practical to wear at work. Especially true in the saving the world type of professions such as doctors and police officers.

It’s also possible you might feel uncomfortable walking around with such an expensive object every day. Again, this is especially true if you live in the city, or prefer to make a less flashy first impression.

Or perhaps you were gifted a ring from your great grandmother Myrtle, and while Myrtle was tres chic at the time, the times have changed. Whatever the reason, there’s no law out there that says you must wear your engagement ring every day. Just try to find a way to explain it to your partner before they notice on their own. You don’t want them to read into it.

A Seamless Stack

If you selected a wedding set, or a had a band custom made, it’s likely your engagement ring and wedding band fit together like Bonnie and Clyde. In this case, many newlyweds opt to actually weld them together permanently. Welding the two rings gets you a seamless look that really seals the deal.

custom harper no. 1 round solitaire wtih 6mm band and 1/2 carat pave band
Harper No. 1 shown with our
1/2 carat band, and 6mm band

A More Modern Point of View

Marriage today looks completely different than it did a century ago and a lot of our traditions don’t have any practical benefit to them, or might be outweighed by other considerations. Whichever hand you decide to wear your engagement ring and wedding band on, all that matters is that it’s right for you. There’s no rule book, and modern couples are making it up as they go along. 

Try it Out

Want to try on wedding bands in the comfort of your home? Order Frank Darling’s free try at home kit with any four rings. You’ll receive replica rings crafted from sterling silver and cubic zirconia along with a ring sizer, everything you need to find the perfect ring and make it yours.

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