Engagement and wedding rings have become an integral part of modern weddings. The exchange of the wedding ring is probably the climax of any wedding ceremony. The ring is usually placed on the fourth finger of the left hand and I have always wondered why. Well, it turns out this tradition is an ancient romantic one.
It came about in Egypt, about 4,800 years ago. The circle symbolizes eternity, with no beginning or end. The hole in the center of the ring also has significance—it’s not just space, but rather a gateway or door. When you give a woman a ring, it signifies immortal love.
It started with the the ancient Romans believed this finger had a vein that ran directly to the heart—the Vena Amoris, or “Vein of Love. Medical science has proved that no such vein exists buy this deeply romantic tradition has endured.
The engagement ring is a more recent development. The first recorded use of a diamond engagement ring occurred in 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a ring featuring hogback diamonds (modern-day baguette diamonds) arranged in the shape of the Gothic letter M. This sparked a trend that we still see today.
The engagement ring is usually worn on the ring finger, which is the fourth finger on the left hand. However, lately I see women wear their engagement rings on the third finger of their left hand and this confused me. After my research, (adjusts glasses) I have found out this is wrong. Both the engagement and wedding ring should be worn on the fourth finger of the left hand.
Some countries traditionally are exceptions to this rule. In countries like India, Spain, Peru, Norway and Denmark, the engagement rings are worn on the right hand. Also, personal preference comes into play. Some people might just want to be different.