Have you ever been curious as to the history of the wedding ring finger? Why that finger, when it started and what it symbolizes? Well, here are some things you should know about the ring finger.
The Meaning of the Ring Finger
The timeless tradition of wearing your wedding ring on the fourth finger of your left hand has been around for thousands of years. Long before modern medical science people believed that a vein ran directly from the fourth finger of the left hand to the heart. And because of this connection the vein was named vena amoris, literally meaning vein of love. It is because of this belief that couples wear rings on this finger to symbolize their love and devotion.
We know now that there is no such vein in that finger, but we still keep the tradition and belief alive. Customs differ depending on regions and cultures. Some cultures instead wear the ring finger on the right hand, and others will move the ring to the left hand after the ceremony to represent the new commitment. Different customs even come across depending on the ring, whether it’s a wedding ring, engagement ring, or promise ring.
The Wedding Ring
The iconic wedding ring is usually exchanged between the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony after they have said their vows. The ring is placed on the wedding ring finger, the fourth finger on the left hand. This tradition dates back thousands of years to Egypt, where the circle ring symbolizes eternity and unity. The space inside the ring represents a gateway or door leading to the new life together.
There are no rules for how your wedding ring should look. People often like to personalize the rings by choosing the metal used, whether or not to have stones or designs and personalized engravings to give it a special meaning. Or you can opt for a simple gold band. All up to you!
The Engagement Ring
The engagement ring is a trend far more recent than the wedding ring. One of the first records of a diamond engagement ring being used occurred in 1477 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria who presented Mary of Burgundy with a diamond ring and asked for her hand in marriage. His statement started the trend of diamond engagement rings. The diamond became a popular representation of a couple’s eternal love, since diamonds are the hardest and most durable natural substance on earth, it seemed only fitting.
When it comes to choosing the style of your engagement ring there are no set rules to follow by. Though tradition has seen diamonds being most in favor you can choose a variety of gemstones instead. We have seen all sorts of precious gemstones used in place of diamonds, such as sapphire, ruby, and others. The metals most commonly chosen are gold or platinum but titanium, silver and stainless steel have also been used for engagement rings. Many brides often opt to weld together the engagement and wedding ring to show the newly formed bond and commitment.
The Promise Ring
The exchanging of a Promise Ring is a custom that has been around since the 16th century but has evolved to mean many different things. In early times the ring signified a promise to eventually be engaged. Nowadays, it is most commonly used a symbol of love and exclusivity. For some people it can be seen as a pre-engagement ring, for others it is simply a statement that marriage is the plan when both members are ready. There is no right or wrong way to wear a promise ring though it is commonly worn on the ring finger or opt for a different finger since it may not mean an official engagement. Commonly, once married the promise ring is moved to the right hand ring finger.
Finally, the wedding ring finger has had a long and interesting history. Dating back thousands of years, couples have been showing their eternal love for each other through the display of these rings on their ring finger. The tradition has evolved, adapted and changed through modern times. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to wear your ring or to change up the style you want to go for. We hope this facts and ideas help you understand more about the origins and symbolism of the ring finger.