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Engagement rings in Hatton Garden at Regal Jewellers

How to Wear an Engagement Ring

| Daniel Brisk

While engagements and marriage all follow a long time and tested traditions, that doesn’t mean that you naturally know everything there is to know about it. Times also change, which means that old standards and rule-of-thumb recommendations no longer apply. The fact is that your engagement and wedding can look like whatever you want it to. You can get married by signing the papers in your local council town hall, and then have a big party in another country to celebrate. You can follow long-lasting traditions and go through the church.

The traditions and ideas you carry with you through your engagement are entirely up to you. You may want to cross the cultural divide and put together an engagement and wedding that brings together both of your backgrounds in a new way. You may want to do something entirely unique!

That being said, it’s hard to break away from tradition, follow it, or even revamp it to suit you without knowing what the tradition is in the first place. So, if you’ve been wondering how to wear an engagement ring and a few other longstanding traditions about the engagement ring, then this guide is for you:

What Hand Do You Wear an Engagement Ring?

Traditionally, you wear the engagement ring on your left hand. The same goes for your wedding ring when the time comes. This tradition dates back to the ancient Romans. This is because they believed that the finger on your left hand had a vein that traveled directly to the heart. This vein was known as the Vena Amoris, which means the “vein of love” in English.

What Finger Do You Wear an Engagement Ring On?

You should wear your ring on the fourth finger (or third if you don’t include your thumb as a finger). In other words, the one to the left of your middle finger and the right of your pinkie on your left hand. This finger is commonly referred to as your ring finger.

How Do You Wear An Engagement Ring And Wedding Band?

Traditionally, you should wear your wedding ring first and your engagement ring second after you get married. This is because the wedding ring will then sit closer to your heart. This, of course, isn’t essential. If your engagement ring is slightly larger and you want to wear your wedding ring second to keep that engagement band in place, then do it!

Does A Man Wear An Engagement Ring?

Men don’t traditionally wear engagement rings, but things are changing. In general, if you are going down the engagement route with your partner, the person asking should give their partner the engagement ring. This is more common in same-sex couples but is also becoming increasingly more popular amongst heterosexual couples as well, as more women are asking their partners for their hand in marriage.

Of course, if you are already going down the non-traditional route, know that you don’t need to use a ring at all. For instance, you can use a watch, bracelet, or a necklace so your partner can wear the ring, just not on their finger. So long as the promise feels right to both of you, then your engagement will go off without a hitch.

All Your Other Engagement Ring Questions Answered

It’s a huge step to ask someone to marry you, which is why there are so many common questions that crop up. Add in a shake of nerves, and looking for an engagement ring can feel daunting. Don’t worry, as these FAQs will help shine a light on all your engagement ring-related answers:

How much to spend on an engagement ring?

One of the biggest searches today is how much to spend on engagement ring? The answer is quite simple – whatever you and your partner are comfortable with. Some will want a ring that costs a quarter of your yearly salary, others three months of your salary, and some will be happier with a budget ring. That’s why you can’t look this answer up online; instead, you have to ask your partner or their friends for insight.

Often, the exact cost doesn’t matter – just the look and materials used. For example, you can save by shopping lab diamond engagement rings, which start at around £1,650. If you want to splurge, however, there are rings with diamonds dotted around the band alongside the main gem that easily cost over £10,000. If you want something totally unique, then you can even have your own ring crafted.

What does Carat mean?

Carat (ct) is a unit of mass used to measure the purity of gold and gems like diamonds. Higher carat counts in gold indicate how much percentage of pure gold is in the metal. For example, you won’t want to get 100% gold rings because the metal is so soft it would damage almost immediately. A good choice for rings is 18 to 24k, though if you are on a budget, then 12k is a good choice, too. In diamonds, a carat is the weight, so one carat equates to 0.2g. A higher carat means the diamond is larger. You will also need to look at cut and clarity to determine the diamond’s true worth and beauty.

How do you choose a good quality ring?

A good quality ring is one that looks beautiful, is cherished by the owner, and is also durable. Diamonds are one of the hardest materials on earth, making them a great choice for an engagement ring. However, you need to look beyond just the material when it comes to longevity. Thin bands almost always break or bend. There needs to be enough surface area to take wear and tear and to hold the diamond firmly for years to come.

Factoring in wear resistance when shopping for rings will be especially crucial if you shop for a non-traditional ring that uses a different gem than a diamond. Though beautiful, some gems are fragile and will break down quickly. Your engagement ring should last the length of your engagement and marriage, so choosing stunning, durable materials like diamonds or similar will be worth the price.