In North America, when you’re asked: “What finger does the wedding ring go on?” the kneejerk answer is typically “left!”. It’s the most common practice for couples in Canada and the US to don their wedding ring on the left ring finger. But why? And do lovebirds absolutely have to? Let’s dig a little deeper into the left-hand placement and whether or not it’s an ironclad rule.
Why do we wear wedding ring on left hand?
Way back when, the Romans believed that the vein that runs along the fourth finger on the left hand ran directly to one’s heart. They called this vein the vena amoris; the vein of love. Because a marriage represents the ultimate union of love, the Romans decided to place the wedding ring on this finger to signify the romance shared by the newly married couple. As sweet as that is, modern biology has revealed that each finger quite likely has the same vein connection to the heart. Staying true to the cute Roman tradition is an option, but so is breaking free from the norm. There are a number of countries (think central and northern Europe) who do the complete opposite. Countries who use the right hand for wedding rings include:
- Belgium (some areas)
Traditions about ring finger in different countries
Greek couples living in Western cultures wear on the left, but Greek brides and grooms have historically worn right-handed wedding rings. In Brazil, Turkey, Lebanon and Syria, women wear their engagement ring on the right hand until the wedding. After the ceremony, they switch it over to the left. The German tradition is the reverse, with the engagement ring migrating from the left hand to the right after the wedding.
There can also be elements of gender roles built into different ring finger protocol. In China, the bride wears her wedding ring on her right hand, known as the ‘working hand’, to signify her central role within the household. In contrast the groom wears his on the left.
Right-hand wedding ring trend
While diamonds are most centrally associated with engagement and wedding rings, there is a trend of ring wearing that intentionally breaks tradition in the world of diamonds. The right-hand ring trend is redefining what we traditionally think of insofar as ring significance. Right-hand rings are any rings that are worn on the right hand. This term is usually awarded to cocktail rings; statement rings set with bold, colorful gemstones. This style of ring is one that a woman has purchased for herself. This ring can be representative of an event—think a milestone birthday, a professional achievement or even a divorce. Wearing them on the right hand is a way of ensuring that they are not confused with an engagement ring or wedding band. Whichever way you choose to wear it, a trendy right-hand ring can be the perfect excuse to indulge in a spectacular diamond (or another gemstone) just for you. And if you’re in need of inspiration, visit the DiamondNet website to see the selection of diamond rings without rules.
So. The first step is to decide what you want in a ring (and in a partner!). Choose what makes you happy. And then, put it on any finger you please. You could even change it daily depending on your mood or outfit.