In many Western cultures – from the UK to the USA, Canada and a variety of European countries - engagement rings and wedding bands are traditionally worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. Whether somebody who enjoys playing by the rules or an individual who doesn’t tend to follow suit, it’s feasible that this is a custom you’ll have embraced without a second thought.
But what’s the story behind the rule? Why is this digit the chosen vehicle for jewels so precious?
The immediate answer to this question is one that’s rather endearing. The tradition of wearing romantic jewellery on the ring finger dates back to Ancient Egypt, when it was believed that a vein called the vena amoris (quite literally ‘vein of love’ in Latin) ran directly from the tip of that finger to the heart.
The endless circular form of the engagement ring and wedding band is largely thought to symbolise the eternal nature of romantic union, with the open centre a portal to the yet unexplored life ahead as a couple. With these theories in mind, what could be a more meaningful way of communicating lifelong love and commitment than with a band of precious metal on the fourth finger of the left hand? Throw a unique inner-band engraving or a bespoke design into the mix and the sentimental value is off the chart.
Of course, in western culture, many traditional rules surrounding betrothals, weddings and marriages have since taken a leaf out of the dodo bird’s book. For example, your sentimental rings no longer need mirror your partner’s in metal or design, nor do they need to be worn on your left ring finger. In fact, many European nations – including Norway, Germany, Denmark, Latvia, Poland and Spain (the motherland of our Founder, Arabel!) - have looked to the right hand as the ideal spot for the engagement ring and wedding band. This is because it’s used for oaths and vows, inherently symbolising honour and trust.
Though many people enjoy wearing their engagement rings and wedding bands together on the same finger in a unique stack, there’s no rule that states this is a must. Your engagement ring is an incredibly precious piece of jewellery, and if you don’t fancy making it share space then the freedom is yours to wear it however and whenever you like! For practical reasons, some opt only to wear their engagement ring on special occasions. Others might wish to secure it a special everyday spot over on the right ring finger once the wedding band comes along. Some might not wear their rings on their fingers at all, but instead hang them with pride on a necklace.
All in all, just like your unique love story, the choice is all yours.