Did You Know This About The Engagement Ring Finger?

We’ve compiled a list of interesting and quirky “did you knows” about the engagement ring finger, but first let’s just get a little bit into the promise of love and togetherness that are engagement rings themselves. Is there anything more romantic than a magical story of how your partner proposed to you; the setting, the time, the music in the background – one can never forget the details of the most overwhelming moment of one’s life! In Western cultures, engagement rings are worn by women, while some cultures have men and women wearing matching engagement rings. There are promise rings which are given to the intended before the engagement, as the name suggests, promising the marriage between the two in future. Some cultures feature the women wearing a ring called the wedding band not to be worn before the wedding day, along with the engagement and a wedding ring, making a trinity of rings.

Varying Characteristics Of Engagement Rings

engagement ring

Image: Amour Affairs Photography

We see engagement rings most popularly characterised by diamonds – ah, the solitaire! But interesting trends in wedding and engagement ring designs display an array of other gemstones such as sapphires, rubies, emeralds, or even synthetic stones and diamond substitutes like cubic zirconias and moissanites which are equally good for the occasion while reducing the cost by a good deal. The bands are most commonly in gold or platinum, but silver, stainless steel and titanium are also proving to be popular. They are also available from categories like Antique, Art Deco, Vintage and so on, based on eras, and different ways of setting the stones using their different cuts like the cushion cut, or the box-cut, Old Mine, Transitional cut – shall I stop while you sip on some water? There are so many things you have to consider before buying an engagement ring, as amply elucidated to you just now. So don’t you want to know your engagement ring etiquette for the perfect execution on a day you will never forget?

Right Or Left?

wedding couple

Image: Anup J Kattukaran Photography

One of the frequently asked questions is about which hand should one wear an engagement ring. For most part of the Christian culture, the practices show the couple wearing the ring on the left hand. The engagement ring may not be a part of religious and traditional Muslim wedding, and is absent in most Islamic countries. But the use of engagement ring is not new, mostly considered a betrothal or promise ring worn by men on the right hand and women on the left, and found in the members of the community living in the West and South Asia too. Engagement rings may not be a part of Hindu wedding culture, but the trends seem to indicate a strong inclination for the exchange of rings during the pre-wedding ritual for engagement. And in such occasions it is observed that, much like the rules of engagement in Muslim betrothal, the bride wears the ring on the left hand and the groom usually wears it on the right hand.

Ancient Origins

Any object is somehow a part of some history, one way or another. If we take a look at some of the most oldest evidence available regarding the practices of imbibing jewellery in the rituals that were held to signify and establish bonding, predominantly through bracelets and chains among others. Thus came the turn of the ring, to be used as a symbol of bonding between two individuals. Ancient Egypt where the Ra and Khonsu (the sun and the moon gods respectively) are dreaded and revered, were worshiped through the use of the ring for the coming together of two individuals – a symbolic union of the spirits of the sun and the moon god, represented by an endless circle reflecting the eternal bond of love and a hollow inside as a pathway to the unknown. After Alexander the Great invaded and occupied Egypt the Greeks absorbed this tradition. It was during the age of Enlightenment, the era of gimbals and posies that the offering of an engagement ring to the beloved was done as a part of a sentimental gesture, than just being indicative of a formal engagement with the promise of marriage. But what led to the transition of a formal pledge of matrimony into the most amazing expression of love? What is the real fuss about the engagement ring? The answer may just be in the engagement ring finger!

The Legend Of Vena Amoris

Ring Finger

Image: Dream Weavers Photography

For a long time now in many countries and cultures, the engagement rings are placed on the finger nearest the little finger on the left hand. This may be attributed to the popular story which has its roots in an ancient Roman work which refers to a certain “nervus” or nerve that went through the finger to the heart. But the legend that is popular today, dictates the ring finger has a vein running through it that leads directly to your beloved’s heart, an idea popularised by Henry Swinburne, an ecclesiastical law writer and first of the kind to write in English. The vein is called the vena amoris or “the vein of love”.

The Myth From The Orient

There are many other strange and interesting interpretations for why the ring finger is the ring finger, one of which is offered by the Chinese legends, which as always is one that inspires deep and profound introspection for those committing to a marriage. The explanation offered by the Chinese theory involves personification of each of the fingers of the hand.

Image

Via: Source

So here’s how the myth of the five fingers goes. The biggest gift of mankind is, as Simon is clearly showing to us, opposable thumbs! The thumb (which makes our lives much easier by helping us hold things!) is considered to be the parents. The index finger, associated with direction, is thought of as representing the sibling. The middle finger, the longest of the fingers of a hand, represents yourself – you being the only person who can decide your own fate. As you see each successive finger assigned the next generation, the small finger is the little emissary of a little (or a couple of) you! The smallest finger stands for your children and the generations that come after you. The ring finger therefore stands for your partner, with whom you will carry the legacy of the generations that came before you, and with whom you will make the legacy for generations that succeed you in your family.
engagement-ring

Image: Shutterstock

But be it left or right hand, be it any of the five fingers – hell! Even ring or no ring, remember that it is not a promise of marriage, it is a promise of love!

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