Prayer For Engagement Ring
How to Purchase the Perfect Diamond Engagement Ring
November 24, 2015
Diamond engagement ring shopping should be a joyous occasion. Our tips will help you make sure she loves her ring.
It should be one of the most memorable moments in your life. You pull an engagement ring your pocket and ask the love of your life to be your wife. You desperately want her to say yes and fall in love with her ring too, right?
You can make sure that happens if you follow these tips to pick out the perfect engagement ring:
Decide How Much You Want To Spend
You will be confronted with a dizzying array of choices when it comes to engagement rings. Have a price range in mind before you start to shop. Going in with fairly specific parameters will help your jeweler find the right engagement ring to fit your budget.
Do Your Homework
There’s a lot you can learn about diamonds before you even set foot in a jewelry store. Start with the 4Cs – Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight – so you understand how each influences the value of the diamond and adds to the overall appearance of the stone. You’ll learn what is most important to you and where you might want to compromise to fit your price range.
Understand her taste in jewelry
Pay attention to the kind of jewelry she already wears. Is she more classic or modern? Does she wear more white metals or yellow gold? Do her pieces tend to be more delicate or chunky? Sleek or ornate? Have these preferences in mind when you set out to shop. If you buy something similar to what she already s, you can't go wrong.
Know her ring size
If she wears rings, borrow one she already owns. Trace the inner circle on a piece of paper, or press the ring into a bar of soap for an impression. You can also slide it down one of your own fingers and draw a line where it stops. A jeweler can use these measurements to identify her approximate ring size.
If she doesn't wear rings, estimate in the following manner: The average ring size in the U.S. is 6 ( the 'average' U.S. female being 5'4″ tall and weighing 140 lbs.
) If she's more slender, or fine-boned, her ring size is probably in the 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 range. If she is heavier, larger-boned or taller, her ring size is probably in the 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 range.
It's always better to buy a ring a bit bigger than you think she'll need, because sizing a ring down is much easier than increasing its size.
Know her favorite shape and cutting style
If she hasn't made it easy for you by already voicing an opinion on the subject (or admiring someone else's engagement ring), keep these thoughts in mind when considering shape: She will be wearing this ring every day of your married life.
It will need to go with everything from jeans to evening wear. If you're uncertain about her diamond shape preference, it's sensible to stick to the classics, such as a round or square shape.
They became classics because they appeal to most people most of the time.
Certain shapes pair more successfully with other shapes in multi-stone rings. Round, oval and marquise shapes work well sitting side-by-side. Pear and heart shapes are more challenging.
These diamonds feature a range of shapes and cutting styles. From left: cushion cut, Ascher cut, emerald cut, princess cut, oval shape, marquise shape, pear shape. Courtesy of Lazare Kaplan Diamonds. Preference in shape may be reflected in other aspects. If she prefers clean, modern lines in furniture, for example, it's ly she'll react well to the same aesthetic in rectangular or square shapes. If she tends towards the traditional, a round shape rarely misses. Are her tastes eclectic or bohemian? She may favor more unusual shapes, a triangular or marquise shape.
A diamond’s cutting style refers to its facet arrangement, rather than its shape.
Round-shaped diamonds, for example, are cut in the brilliant style − an arrangement of 57 or 58 facets designed to maximize the diamond’s sparkle and minimize the appearance of inclusions.
The fewer the facets, the more visible any inclusions will be, so a cutting style such as a step cut (a.k.a. emerald cut), for example, requires higher clarity in the diamond.
Decide on a setting
Consider her lifestyle and how well a certain setting design will fit into it. If she's more active or outdoorsy, look for lower profile, less ornate or more secure mountings, which are less ly to get knocked against or caught on things. If she's more of a glamour girl, look for statement settings, with a higher stone profile, more intricate ring detailing or a unique motif.
While there are endless design choices you can make for her ring, there are some basic setting types you are ly to encounter:
A single stone and still the most popular style choice in engagement rings. If prong set, the head secures the diamond and the prongs allow the diamond to catch the most light. A six-prong setting is more secure than four prongs. A bezel setting is even more secure and protects the girdle of the stone, but allows the diamond to catch less light than a prong setting.
Smaller diamonds or other gemstones that flank the larger center stone for additional sparkle or color. Popular sidestone settings include prong, channel (which protects stones by keeping them flush), and bar-channel (which allows more light to enter the sidestones).
Typically, the diamonds are the same shape with the center diamond larger than the two sidestones.
Designed by Michael Russo.
The center stone is surrounded by tiny gemstones in a pave (pah-vey) setting, usually diamonds, to add sparkle and to give the appearance of a larger center stone.
Decide on a metal
A diamond engagement ring is meant to last a lifetime so it is often made of gold or platinum — highly durable metals that can withstand many decades of daily wear.
Metal color is a matter of personal preference with gold providing more color options: white, yellow or rose. Metal color is also a consideration since the appearance of a diamond’s color is affected by its surroundings.
Once you’ve selected your diamond, ask your jeweler to show you how it would look with different colored metals.
Find a jeweler
You don’t have to go it alone. A good jeweler will ensure that your engagement ring buying process is stress-free. He or she will educate you about the 4Cs of diamond quality, answer your questions in detail, and help you narrow your choices to those that fit your intended’s tastes and your budget.
Look for a jeweler with professional training and a good reputation – asking friends or relatives for recommendations or seeking a referral from a jewelry association is a good place to start. Learn about the store’s return policy.
And be sure to ask for an independent grading report, those provided by GIA, prior to purchasing a diamond to validate the quality of your purchase. GIA’s Retailer Lookup can help locate a jeweler in your area who carries GIA graded diamonds and has GIA trained associates on staff.
Buying an engagement ring can be easier than you think, if you educate yourself about diamonds and the 4Cs, know her tastes and find a good jeweler to work with. Enjoy the process and imagine the look of awe, surprise and love you’ll get when you put that perfect ring on her finger!
If you’re wondering why you’re buying a ring in the first place, check out our timeline that charts the long history of the engagement ring.
Choosing the Right Metal for Your Engagement Ring
It’s time to buy an engagement ring — and there are so many factors to consider. Choosing the metal alone is a more complex decision than it used to be. Where it once was a simple choice between yellow and white, now you have a whole range of possibilities to consider, including:
- What's the difference between white gold and platinum?
- What exactly is rose gold?
- How do newer, alternative metals popular in men’s wedding rings, titanium and tungsten carbide, complement gold and platinum in engagement rings?
Take it one step at a time — starting with the type of metal — and you’ll end up with a ring that suits her style and that she’ll cherish forever. Use this as your guide to the different types of metals available for ring settings.
What's her style?
Focus first on determining your fiancée's style, and then finding the right metal and color to complement that style. One of the first things you need to think about when choosing a metal for a setting is the type of jewelry your future bride typically wears:
- If she’s drawn to cooler hues and silver-toned jewelry, then platinum or white gold is the way to go.
- Yellow gold or rose gold are good choices if she tends to gravitate toward warmer tones.
- Mixing metals white gold and yellow gold is a smart option, because it will allow her to complement any piece in her existing jewelry wardrobe.
- Even if you decide on a warmer metal yellow gold, setting the diamond in a white metal head (which holds the diamond in place) platinum or white gold will accentuate the diamond, showing off its brilliance to sparkling effect.
Platinum is a naturally white metal with a cool luster that showcases the brilliance and sparkle of diamonds beautifully. It’s a popular choice for engagement rings and wedding bands, and is considered the most precious of all jewelry metals.
Compared to gold, platinum is five times as rare and purer when used in jewelry. Platinum is durable, making it a good option if your fiancée leads an active lifestyle — its density provides a secure setting for diamonds or gemstones. Platinum is also naturally hypoallergenic, so it’s a great choice for those with sensitive skin.
Its elegant sheen will not fade or change color over time, making re-plating your platinum ring unnecessary. Because of its strength, it’s a popular choice for setting diamonds.
Gold is an extremely versatile metal, and the most common choice for jewelry. The standard measurement of gold is a karat, which is divided into 24 parts. Pure gold is 24 karats, meaning 24 24 parts are gold.
Pure gold is too soft to be used for jewelry, so it’s combined with other metal alloys to increase its strength. You’ll find 22K gold, but most often gold comes in 18K (75% gold), 14K (58% gold) and 10K (about 42% gold).
The remainder is made up of other metals — silver, copper, nickel and zinc — to lend strength and durability. The type and percentage of metal alloys used determine the shade and color of gold.For example, 22K gold tends to be a rich, saturated gold color, while 14K gold may appear as a slightly paler yellow.
Gold jewelry usually comes in these colors:
Classic yet fashionable, yellow gold achieves its warm patina from the red of copper and the green hue of silver. Yellow gold lost favor to white gold for a while, but has recently regained popularity.
More contemporary than yellow gold, white gold gets its silvery white character from combining yellow gold with copper, zinc and nickel (or palladium).
It’s plated with a hard element called rhodium (a platinum group metal), which costs about four times as much as platinum, resists scratches and tarnishing, and gives white gold a reflective appearance.
However, it may wear away over time, requiring a quick trip to your jeweler for re-plating.
Unique and romantic, rose gold has a warm, pink hue created by combining yellow gold with a copper alloy. The overall percentages of metal alloys are the same for rose gold as they are for yellow or white; it’s just a different mixture of alloys used.
While not all that common, green gold is unusual and nature-inspired; it has a soft, pale green color created by mixing yellow gold with silver, copper and zinc. Use green gold together with rose and white gold for an interesting, different tri-color look.
The perfect setting
Now that you understand the differences between metals, it’s time to put the pieces together. Choose your metal, pick your style and complete the look with a brilliant diamond or gorgeous gemstone.
In the process, you’ll discover things about your future wife that you may not have known about her before — and that’s part of the fun.
In the end, you’ll create an engagement ring that’s just as unique and beautiful as the woman who will be wearing it.
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5 Alternatives to the Diamond Engagement Ring
So you’ve found the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with and you’re ready to make it official by getting down on one knee and proposing. The next step is to figure out what kind of engagement ring you’ll be proffering at that singular moment. The choice seems obvious: a diamond, of course. The bigger and blingier the better.
It wasn’t always so, though.
The idea that engagement rings = diamond rings is a modern one that grew a shrewd marketing ploy by the De Beers company. Despite the aura that surrounds them, diamonds are in truth neither rare nor special. They are expensive simply because the De Beers cartel has succeeded in controlling both supply and demand.
In the early 1900s, diamonds were a common choice for engagement rings, but were considered just one option amongst many, and people were choosing diamonds less and less often.
When folks did go the diamond route, they bought small, inexpensive ones, preferring to spend their money on other things.
Needing to get people to buy the heaps of diamonds they were sitting on, in 1938 De Beers launched a decades-long, multi-million dollar press and advertising campaign that sought to imbue the jewels with romantic meaning and social status.
Their stated goal was “constant publicity to show that only the diamond is everywhere accepted and recognized as the symbol of betrothal,” and to turn the jewel into “a psychological necessity capable of competing successfully at the retail level with utility goods and services.”To this end, the agency got celebrities to be photographed wearing the glittery rings, placed them in movies, had radio programs talk about the new “trend” towards diamonds, and even sent lecturers to high schools to talk to young women about the importance of choosing the diamond for their engagement rings.
The tagline “A Diamond Is Forever” was formulated not simply to evoke eternal love, but to intentionally dissuade folks from ever re-selling their jewels; with the public sitting on more than 500 million carats of diamonds, were people to regularly unload them for cash, the market for new diamonds would crater.
Lest you forget, De Beers is here to remind you that “a diamond is a mark of your achievement.” And the most valued symbol of your devotion…is an overpriced, cartel-controlled rock.
De Beers also expressly worked to increase demand by tapping into the population’s desire for conspicuous consumption, and transforming the diamond into a status symbol both for the man giving it and the woman receiving it.
Their ad agency’s report specifically recommended “promoting the diamond as one material object which can reflect, in a very personal way, a man’s … success in life.
” To target men who aspired to join the upper classes, they suggested the ads “have the aroma of tweed, old leather and polished wood which is characteristic of a good club.”
The blitz was of course one of the most successful ad campaigns of all time: the vast majority of people now consider diamond rings, and only diamond rings, when it comes time to get engaged.
But some ladies today aren’t into the status quo.
Whether it’s a rejection of the diamond’s crass commercial history, a discomfort with the way they’re mined (though “conflict-free” diamonds are an option), a desire to have something more unique or meaningful, or a belief that spending 3-months’ salary on a rock is ridiculous (read: keeper), your gal may wish to think outside the box when it comes to the engagement ring you’ll get her.
If that describes your soon-to-be fiancée, below are several types of engagement rings without diamonds to consider.
First: Be Sure
Before we get into some of the options, it’s important to emphasize that you shouldn’t propose with a non-diamond ring unless you’re 100% sure that your gal is cool with it. Though it began as a marketing campaign, the expectation of a diamond engagement ring is now thoroughly ingrained in our culture.
Even if your girlfriend is the non-traditional type in many matters, she may surprise you (and even herself) with her desire for a diamond.This is a ring she’ll be showing off to her friends after your proposal and ly wearing for the rest of her life, so you want her to be proud of it, and for it to elicit fond feelings, rather than disappointment, whenever she looks at her hand.
So be sure to discuss your girlfriend’s desires and expectations before you decide on a ring.
1. Man-Made Diamonds
For the woman who doesn’t want a natural diamond, but doesn’t want to stray too far from modern tradition, man-made diamonds are an option.
While most people think of cubic zirconia when they think of synthetic diamonds, there are actually a couple different categories under this umbrella.
Cubic zirconia and similar materials moissanite are considered diamond “simulants.” They look virtually identical to real diamonds to the naked eye, but are composed of a different substance.
The advantage of “CZ” (and other simulants) is that it’s significantly cheaper than real diamonds. But unless your lady is wholly on board with this option, I’d say it’s best to steer clear of it. Whenever people admire her “diamond,” she’ll be thinking to herself, “it’s fake,” which is a real romance killer.
Now the second choice in this category is much different – a more recently developed option I didn’t even know existed until I researched this article. These are “laboratory-created” or “cultured” diamonds.
It’s not really accurate to call them “synthetic” because they’re created through an atom-by-atom crystal growth process that exactly duplicates the physical, chemical, and optical properties of naturally-mined diamonds.It’s impossible to tell the two apart unless one uses advanced spectroscopy. For all intents and purposes, a lab-created diamond is a diamond.
Because lab-created diamonds can be produced ad infinitum, their price is lower than natural, mined diamonds, though not by as much as you’d think; because De Beers has sensed that these lab-created diamonds may represent the wave of the future, they’ve already made moves to control the market and boost the price! They’re a good choice for a woman for whom “responsibly sourced” doesn’t go far enough, and who would to further decrease her ecological footprint.
2. A Knot
Ring by Indulgent Designs. This kind of knot works well for an engagement (or wedding) ring, as it forms the symbol for infinity — eternal love.
A perfect option for a woman with simple tastes. What better way to show a lady you’re looking forward to tying the knot with her?
Here’s another kind of knot that’s quite appropriate for an engagement ring. The maker of this ring describes its meaning: “This particular type, often called the ‘true lover’s knot’, was a popular ring style for sailors separated from their beloved.
It’s made by interlocking two overhand knots in two parallel wires, so each one is flexible to move about the other, yet they’re inseparable forever. (Aw!) Another fact about this type of knot: in Victorian times, to show if a young couple’s love would last, each would take a small limb of a tree and tie a lover’s knot.
If the knot held and grew for approximately a year, their love would stay true.”
A knot ring made with two different colors of gold works particularly well for an engagement ring, as it symbolizes the entwining of your lives. Ring by TND Creations
3. A Meaningful Gemstone
Antique, opal and pearl engagement ring from the Victorian era. Available from Trumpet & Horn.
There is a world of beautiful gemstones out there beyond the diamond, and they each have a traditional meaning as well. So choosing a gemstone with a special significance to you and your girlfriend creates a unique ring with a built-in layer of meaning.
Here are the meanings of a few gemstones that may tie in particularly well with your unique relationship and the sentiment you wish to convey when you propose:
- Agate: truth, protection, strength
- Apatite: communication, and the blending of the old and the new
- Aquamarine: courage to overcome fears, protection on journeys
- Blue topaz: courage to overcome fears and obstacles — associated with fidelity, friendship, gentleness, and integrity
- Garnet: passionate commitment and devotion
- Onyx: thought to deflect the negativity of others — associated with determination and perseverance
- Opal: love, passion, lightness, inspiration, creativity, and spontaneity
- Pearl (pearls are organic rather than a gemstone): harmony, humility, purity, worth
- Rose quartz: gentle love, peace, and calm — associated with the removal of negativity and the healing of emotional wounds
- Ruby: friendship, fire, love, royalty, happiness, the opening of the heart
- Turquoise: friendship — associated with nature (the blue sky and green earth)
Gemstones can of course be put in a variety of settings, and can be featured as a solitary stone or grouped with other gems. Here are two unique ideas we both especially :
His and hers birthstones: A ring that features yours and your girlfriend’s birthstones is a romantic way to express the feeling that you were born to be together. Ring by Peridot Mountain.
Two peas in a pod: A perfect ring for those who feel they’ve found their other half. From Peapod Jewelry.
4. The Claddagh Ring
The distinctive Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring that is rich in history and symbolism. Dated to Roman times, it is rooted in European “fede rings,” which took their name from the Italian phrase mani in fede (“hands [joined] in faith” or “hands [joined] in loyalty”). The ring features two hands, a heart, and a crown — symbolizing friendship, love, and loyalty, respectively.
The clasped hands represent the pledging of vows, and Claddagh rings were used as engagement and wedding rings during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. They continue to be an appropriate choice for this purpose today – particularly for a lass with Irish heritage.
You can combine the Claddagh with a gemstone, a ruby. Ring by nellyvansee.Traditionally, the ring is worn on the woman’s left hand with the point of the heart facing out when she is engaged, and then turned around to be facing her once she is married.
It’s also traditional for the expressions “This is my heart which I give to you crowned with my love,” and “Let love and friendship reign,” to be associated with the ring, so feel free to bust those out with gusto when you propose with a Claddagh.
5. Family Heirloom
Who knows…maybe Grammie’s got an antique 5-carat sapphire ring stashed in her jewelry box. She’d be happy to give it to you since you’re finally ready to “Stop waiting and ask that nice Jennie to marry you already!”
Before you plunk down some serious cash for a diamond ring or any of these other alternatives, check with your relatives to see if there are any heirlooms waiting to be passed down. Not only does this option save you some serious cash, but pieces with history are much more meaningful and significant.
Even a diamond ring that’s been in the family for generations becomes a lot more special than one purchased at Jared. My mother-in-law gave me a diamond ring that had belonged to her grandmother to give to Kate when I proposed. It fit perfectly, and she loved it and wouldn’t have wanted anything else.
If the size or style of an heirloom ring isn’t right for your girlfriend, you can get it re-sized, or you can remove the gemstone and put it into a new setting.
If you’re really suave, you don’t need a diamond or even any of these alternatives. Just a stogie. “Here’s a smoke ring, dollface. How about’s we get hitched?”
WEDDING AND ENGAGEMENT RING ORDER?
Does the order in which you Wear your Wedding Band and Engagement Ring on your Wedding Ring Finger really matter?
Are there any real reasons why the Wedding Rings have a particular stacking order to them?
Let’s Find Out…
It’s a really crazy thing, because the order of the Wedding Rings doesn’t make any sense at all… But we’ll get to this in a minute. First, we’ll get the answer: The Correct Order that the Rings go on your Finger is this…
The Wedding Ring goes on the Finger FIRST!
Wedding Ring First on the Ring Finger…
Then the Engagement Ring second.
But the whole order of things doesn’t hold water.
Why? Because of what happens at the Altar! That’s right! The Altar.
Let me Explain!
You wear an Engagement Ring the entire time you’re Engaged. It could be days, it could be years. You wear it by itself on the Wedding Ring Finger. (Which is the 4th finger on the Left hand!) Then comes the Wedding Day! Your Wedding Ring is placed on your Ring Finger during the Ceremony at the Altar.
But there’s a Problem to doing this…
Because the Engagement Ring is already there! This adds confusion.
Do you Remove the Engagement Ring, put the Wedding Ring on, then Replace the Engagement Ring with hundreds of people watching? Lots of couples don’t know. Or, do you slip the Wedding Band on, leaving the Engagement Ring where it’s at, and have her switch the order later, after the Wedding?
I’ll tell you the best two things to do, so you don’t make the transition any more confusing than it really is!
Here are your Choices:
1) Have her start the Wedding without Rings on her finger, and slip them BOTH on at the same time during the Ceremony. Or…
2) I already said, just Slide the Wedding Ring on behind the Engagement Ring and have her swap their places later.
You may have problems with the latter if the Wedding Ring is an Insert. (An Insert or Jacket, is where the Engagement Ring slips inside of two Rings…
That’s why they call it an “Insert!”)
Those will have to be done in Advance!
If the Rings don’t fit well, or easy. If they Interlock or Hook, or are just Soldered together, then by all means, have the two Rings already together, then put the two Rings on at the same time during the Wedding.
If the Wedding Band is just a Channel Set Diamond Band, or a Plain Gold Band, then it’s fine to have her wear her Engagement Ring during the Ceremony and slip the Band on at the Altar.It all depends on the Style of Rings you have. They will either fit flush and easy, or they’ll be Difficult and a Pain to get right. If it’s a pain, do it ahead of time!
What’s interesting about this whole Tradition of putting a Wedding Ring on next to the Engagement Ring, is that times are changing rapidly!
Change is Good?
A lot of Rings that you find in the Jewelry Stores Today are sold as a One-Piece Ring.
That means it stands for everything!
It’s both the Engagement Ring AND the Wedding Band! It’s the Entire Package. This way, she has one Ring to begin with, she gets that Ring put on her during the Wedding, and that’s all she gets! One ring to rule them all! (Most of the time, these Rings are a little bit wider than a normal Ring!)
One-Piece Wedding Rings makes the crazy time at the Altar, Smooth, Effortless, and a Piece of Cake. (Mmmmm, I Love Wedding Cake!)
That’s a Wrap…
Some couples have the ever popular Classic Engagement Ring, which is a standard Tiffany-Style Solitaire Ring. ( the Pear-Shaped Diamond in the Picture)
One of the choices you can use as a Wedding Ring with Solitaires are what they call Wraps! Wraps are Rings that “Wrap” around the center Diamond. (See Picture for a Wrap!)
Sometimes they go all the way around the Solitaire, other times they just fit on either side of the Diamond.
What’s funny about these, is that people don’t know which side is the Wedding Band side, since it’s wrapped around your Engagement Ring, it’s hard to tell. Each Wrap is different, so you’ll have to look good to see which Band is actually the Wedding Band.
The Side that has the Wedding Band goes on the Finger First!
But that still leaves one Big Question…
Why DOES the Wedding Ring go on the Finger First?
We know HOW, but what about the WHY?
People always want to know who made up this madness and why? Here we go… The Wedding Ring is put on the Ring Finger First, because myth says, that the Wedding Ring is always worn CLOSEST to the Heart! Aww! How Special!
Why the 4th Finger?
And why are the Wedding Rings put on the 4th Finger of the Left Hand? You’re going to love this one as well…
Myth states that the Wedding Ring Finger was the Finger used, because that was the Finger that had a vein in it, that ran directly to the Heart! WOW! You see, it’s all about Love and Romance. (And Gold and Diamonds… and Veins!) This wonderful myth or legend may not be correct, but somehow, the tradition still lives on Today!
Last Word on the Wedding Rings…
Make sure the rings fit together properly, and make sure they fit together on Her!
People don’t know this, but normally when you add the Wedding Ring to the Engagement Ring, you’ll have to get them sized up at least 1/4 size larger to fit.
That’s correct! At least a 1/4 size, if not more! (Don’t wait until the big day to realize this!) But it’s the truth, 2 Rings take up more space on your finger than one Ring. Taking up more space means, they’ll fit snugger! Make sure you have it checked out ahead of time. (It could be embarrassing at the altar trying to force the Rings on!)
Speaking of Weddings…
Don’t Forget This:
Get both Rings Polished and Cleaned BEFORE your Wedding Day!
You don’t want Wedding Photos taken of a Dirty Ring!
Get them Professionally Cleaned and Polished. (And Soldered together if necessary!) (Read my blog about: Should you get your Rings Soldered Together Before the Wedding?) And remember… Make sure you wear the Wedding Band closest to your Heart!
Tradition or not… You can’t Fool the Heart!
On which finger should you wear an engagement and wedding ring?
Which finger should you wear an engagement and wedding ring on? You might be surprised to find out that there are at least 7 different variations to this custom in Britain and around the world.
- A look at the British ring-wearing tradition
- Customs in other countries and religions
- The growing trend of men’s engagement rings
- How to decide which tradition is for you
Traditionally in the UK and in Ireland, the man proposes to the woman with an engagement ring. He puts it on to the fourth finger of her left hand, known as ‘the ring finger’.
Some couples buy a promise ring previous to an engagement ring.
A promise ring may symbolise the couple’s commitment to each other. Or it can act as a substitute ring until the couple chooses an official engagement ring.
Promise rings are worn on the left ring finger in the same way as engagement rings.
After marrying, British women usually wear both the engagement ring and the wedding ring.
It’s acceptable to wear the wedding ring alone, although this is less common.
Either way, both are always worn on the left ring finger.
The rings worn by Queen Elizabeth II
Which ring goes on first in the UK?
In the UK women normally wear their engagement ring ‘on top’ of the wedding ring.
Meaning that the wedding ring is placed on the finger first. The reason is an old British superstition which states that a wedding ring must never be taken off.
During the wedding ceremony the bride puts her engagement ring temporarily on their right hand. This leaves the left hand free for the wedding ring.
When the ceremony is over the bride slides the engagement ring ‘on top’ of the new wedding band to ‘seal it’ in place.
The history of the British ring-wearing tradition
The UK wedding ring tradition is thought to have come from the ancient Romans. They had inherited it from the Egyptians.
In Old Egypt, people held a belief that the fourth finger of the left hand was where the vena amoris, or the ‘vein of love’, began.
This vein was supposed to lead all the way to the heart, therefore making the fourth finger of the left hand the ideal place to wear a ring as a symbol of lasting love and commitment.However, the Egyptians only wore wedding rings and not engagement rings. So while the British wedding ring tradition goes back to Egypt, the engagement ring tradition is actually attributed to Rome.
In Rome, it was customary for suitors to give a pre-marriage promise ring to their brides-to-be, in order to seal the commitment to marry them.
A newly engaged woman wears her ring on the left
Currently among the English-speaking countries USA, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand follow the same engagement ring custom as people in the UK.
Elsewhere in the world, Turkey, Jordan, Mexico, Sweden, Finland, Croatia, Slovenia and Romania also share it.
The same tradition also continues in Egypt and Italy, the two countries where this custom was originally forged.
A couple wearing their rings on the left
3. Elsewhere in the world & different religions
In some countries, it’s customary for the woman to wear the engagement ring on the fourth finger of the right hand.
The right-handed ring finger is a prevalent custom in many countries, including: Russia, India, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Lithuania, Greece, Poland, Austria, Hungary and Venezuela.
In these countries the right hand seems to be the established custom regardless of religion. The engagement ring is usually put on first, followed by the wedding ring. This is for practical reasons because of the order the rings were given in. However, this custom can vary according to what feels most comfortable to the bride.
German bride wears engagement ring on right
In Germany the fourth fingers of both the right and left hand can be used. As a general rule, the left hand is more prevalent among Protestants, and the right preferred by Catholics.
Modern Jewish couples often place the wedding ring on the right hand’s ring finger during the marriage ceremony and then wear it on the left hand’s ring finger post-ceremony. However, according to the old tradition, and also seen today in some of the more conservative Jewish ceremonies, the index finger or the thumb are used.
Curiously, although not for any religious reasons, in Brazil the ring is also first placed on the right hand’s ring finger then changed to the left hand during the wedding ceremony.
Engagement rings are worn in several Islāmic countries in South Asia and West Asia, and men usually wear them on the right and women on the left hand.
Wedding ring are not used in traditional Muslim wedding ceremonies, but if one is worn, it can go either on the left or the right ring finger. In Iran, the wedding band is more common and goes on the right.
Indian culture never traditionally included rings. But now with western influence, diamond engagement rings have become much more common.
Thai wedding ceremony, bride wears western style engagement ring on left hand
Men’s engagement rings
According to a 2018 Huffington Post survey, there has been a 280% increase for saved Pinterest images of men’s engagement rings. In 2015, an XO group survey found that 17% of men would to wear a “man-gagement” ring.
A sign of the times?
This small but growing trend is partly a sign of growing gender and sexual equality, with the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the UK making men’s engagement rings more sought after.
For the other part, the trend it is celebrity-driven, and therefore most prevalent among the fashion conscious. Celebrities have generally made it more acceptable, or even desirable, for men to wear jewellery, such as diamond earrings.
Ed Sheeran’s engagement ring
The most recent UK celebrity male to wear an engagement ring is Ed Sheeran, who announced his engagement on 19th January 2018. After he was photographed at the Brit Awards wearing a ring on the fourth finger of his left hand, the media questioned whether it was a wedding ring. However, he stated he was wearing an engagement ring.
Subsequently, on the ITV show ‘Lorraine’, he said, “I never saw why men didn’t wear commitment rings, because it’s the same commitment either way.”
Other male celebs who wear diamond rings
Ed Sheeran is not by any means the first celebrity male to wear an engagement ring. For example, Scarlett Johansson’s first husband, Ryan Reynolds, wore an engagement ring. Singer Michael Bubble also wears one.
Some women also say the reason they want their fiancé to wear a ring is to show he is ‘off limits’ – they believe the ring tradition should not only apply to women.
The ‘mangagement’ ring trend in the UK
It will probably be a while before the average British man is seen wearing a diamond engagement ring.
Men’s engagement rings tend to be either plain bands, diamond studded bands, Claddagh rings or signet rings.
But not solitaire rings – women still have the monopoly on the single diamond.
A man wearing his engagement ring and wedding rings on the right ring finger
In conclusion: How should you wear YOUR engagement and wedding ring?
There’s something very exciting about all these different traditions we’ve outlined above. In an increasingly multicultural and gender-accepting society it has become acceptable, and even fashionable, to borrow exotic wedding and engagement customs from other countries, cultures and lifestyles. So you don’t need to follow any particular rule. Simply do what feels right for you.
Visit TheDiamondStore.co.uk to view women’s diamond engagement rings now.
Also see wedding rings & eternity rings that can be worn as wedding rings.
Also see men’s diamond rings.
READ NEXT: Meaning of Eternity Rings
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