Do you know why engagement and wedding rings are worn on the ring finger of your left hand? Historically, they have been worn on the left ring finger since ancient civilization. However, there has also been variety throughout history of wedding rings being worn on different fingers (even the thumb!) and on the right hand. So why has this one stuck, and why do we wear our wedding rings on the designated ring finger? Here are a few reasons:
Vena Amoris. It was believed that a vein ran straight from our third finger to the heart, therefore dubbed the Vena Amoris, the vein of love. While this story is beautiful, it isn’t physiologically accurate. Our hearts are offset to the left side of our body, so to a degree, the symbolism of the left hand being closer to our hearts is true.
The ring fingers “stay together”: we read and tried this fun experiment about how the ring fingers are made to be inseparable. Try it: place the fingertips of both hands against each other. Fold your middle finger down so that the knuckles are touching. Now, lift your thumbs away from each other, then the index fingers, then your pinkies. When you try to lift your ring fingers apart, you’ll find they are noticeable harder to separate.
Practicality. For you couples who are more realists than romantics, you may be fans of the straight up practical reasons it is better to wear rings on our left hand. Since most people are right handed, wearing rings on the left helps protect them from damage of being on the dominant hand. Our ring finger is also used less functionally, which again helps protect the material and stones from scratches.
North American culture. Our current custom for wearing our engagement rings and wedding bands on our left hand is also largely cultural. Many couples in India, Spain, Norway and other countries wear them on the right hand, which just goes to show us how “normal” is all relative.
If you are a jewelry lover and love rings, you likely have fingers on which you prefer to wear rings. This could be because that is the way you like rings to look on your hand, or for personal preference. If this is the case, would you consider wearing your wedding band on a finger other than your left ring finger?