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Why Wear A Ring On The Ring Finger?

This is a question that we get asked a lot in our jewellery shop in Frome, Somerset. Everyone wants to know, what the significance is, and why they should wear a ring on the fourth finger of the left hand.

Past and Ancient Beliefs about wearing the ring on the left hand

According to belief, before modern medicine uncovered how a bodies circulatory system worked, people believed that a vein ran directly from the fourth finger to heart. This vein they called the “Vena Amoris” and they believed this to be the symbol for eternal love and everlasting companionship.

The fourth finger on the left hand has been used ever since that time and it has become known and recognised in many countries worldwide as the ring finger. A finger that declares symbolically a married couple’s eternal love and devotion to each other.

Ancient Western Culture

In Western cultures wearing a wedding ring dates back to the 11th century from the Roman times, when a man gave a ring at the betrothal ceremony while blessing it before putting it on the bride’s finger.

In medieval Europe, a Christian wedding ceremony placed the ring in sequence on the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers of the left hand. The ring was then left on the ring finger.

In a few European countries, the ring is worn on the left hand prior to marriage, then transferred to the right during the ceremony. In Greek Orthodox, for example, the bride will wear the ring on the left hand before the ceremony takes place, then it is moved the right hand after the ceremony is over.

“The wedding ring is generally worn on the ring finger of the left hand in the former British Empire, certain parts of Western Europe, certain parts of Catholic Central and Eastern Europe (and some not so), and Mexico. These include: Australia, Botswana, Canada, Egypt, Ireland, New Zealand,South Africa, the UK, and the USA; France, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, and Finland; Czech Republic,Slovakia, Switzerland, Romania, Croatia, and Slovenia.”  Src Wikipedia

Where are rings on the left hand not included in the world?

Wedding rings are not included in most Islamic countries and it’s not a traditional part of a Muslim wedding. If a wedding ring is to be worn it can, however, be worn on either the right or the left hand in most Muslim countries. The use of a ring, however, is still used significantly to symbolise betrothal in many Muslim countries in the West and South Asia.

It is also believed that the ring finger has a special significance as it’s protected by the little finger and the third finger symbolising its purity as it stems from the Vena Amoris running to heart.

In some countries like Russia, Denmark, Austria etc. the wedding ring is worn on the ring finger of the right hand.

In Jewish weddings, the ring is worn on the bride’s index finger and is transferred to the ring finger after the ceremony.

Wedding or engagement rings are not a traditional part of an Indian wedding. The right hand is considered to be powerful and auspicious to Indian people, and as such men would wear rings on this hand for engagement but not for the actual marriage due to religious beliefs. If a ring is to be worn it can be worn on the left-hand ring finger.

Finally, we must remember that wearing a wedding or engagement ring on the ring finger signifies pure matrimonial intentions to your betrothed, sharing unbreakable eternal love together and caring for your partner’s needs.  This is a big ask for many in today’s current climate. However, we live our lives to love and share with others and stunning engagement rings are certainly one way to any girl’s heart.  However, the symbolic nature surrounding the ring finger is enough for many who cannot afford to break the bank with a fabulous diamond cluster engagement ring. 

If you found this article useful please share and pass it on to others, and if you have any questions then please do get in touch by email or call us.

01373 462089 (Charles Hart, Jewellers)
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May 08, 2018 — CG Hart