It Was Chosen For a Good Reason!

There is something intriguing about the ring finger of our left hand.  It is the finger that you are most likely to glance at when meeting a woman for the first time.  It’s really quite convenient, that traditionally most cultures have chosen the same finger on which to wear their engagement rings and wedding rings, thereby providing others with immediate knowledge of their marital status.

Choosing the Ring Finger

So when did this finger take on this prominent role and why?

There is a well publicized historical legend dating back to the Romans that claimed that there was a vital blood vessel called vena amoris (the vein of love) that ran from the fourth finger of the left hand straight to the heart. Definitely an appropriate finger for a wedding ring then, don’t you think?  Medical science has since discredited this ancient assumption, however ancient beliefs in the mystical properties of the ring finger and our fascination with historical legends has ensured the ring finger continues to enjoy well deserved prominence.

It was actually only in the 12th Century, that Pope Innocent III declared that marriages would take place in the church and that wedding bands should be exchanged during the service.  It was about 350 later, that King Edward VI declared which finger the wedding ring finger should be worn on.  He decreed that the third finger of the left hand be designated as the “official” ring finger.

Edward VI may been the one to made it official but the Romans appear to have got there first when they designated the third finger of the left hand as the ring finger.  Interestingly enough despite this, it was not unusual for women in England to wear their wedding rings on their thumbs until as late as the 17th century.

The Chinese have their own fascinating explanation for the use of the index finger.  They believe that each finger represents one of your closest relationships.  The thumb represents your parents, the index finger represents your siblings, the middle finger yourself, the little finger represents your children and lastly the ring finger represents your life partner.

For those among you, who prefer a more pragmatic reason for the ring finger.  Consider that since the majority of people are right handed, and the ring finger is more protected then other fingers, less damage is likely to occur to rings worn on the left ring finger.  See: Taking Care of Your Diamonds & Jewelry.

The Left Hand

A ring worn on the ring finger of the left hand is a clear way of asserting the rings matrimonial implications.  Therefore wearing at least one of your rings on this finger is probably a good idea.  But, does everybody use the left hand?  Actually no, they don’t.  There are many European countries where brides wear their rings on their right hand.  In the Indian tradition, the left hand is considered unfavorable thus it is usual to wear both rings on the right hand.  However, some Indians prefer to conform to Western Cultural practices.

The wedding ring usually sits under the engagement ring on the ring finger of the left hand.  As a result of this tradition it is common to find engagement rings and wedding rings that match.  However, if your rings don’t match or if you prefer not to wear them on the same finger, it is perfectly acceptable to change the engagement ring to your right hand after the ceremony.

Check out what can happen if a celebrity chooses to wear a diamond ring on their ring finger: Justin Bieber’s Engagement

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