The Facts Behind the "Ring Finger"

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There's a good chance you have at least one ring on one of your "ring fingers" right now. But have you ever wondered why you wear your engagement ring on your left hand "ring finger" and how that came to be?

Today's couples tend to make their own way rather than lean on tradition. Brides are wearing colored wedding gowns, couples are serving donut at the reception, and women are popping the question to their partners more than ever.

Still, the tradition of wearing an engagement ring on the left hand ring finger has stuck.

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Why the ring finger?

While the answer varies depending on where you are in the world, those in the United States consider the ring finger to be the finger between your pinkie and middle finger (aka your fourth finger). Wearing a ring on your ring finger on your left hand is known to represent your relationship status.

Many credit this custom to the Romans, who believed that the ring finger had a vein running directly to the heart. This vein was called this the Vena Amoris, or the “Vein of Love,” although modern science has shown there is actually no such vein.

Inspired by concept of the Vena Amoris, wearing a ring on the fourth finger represents a connection to the heart and is tied into affection, love and creativity.

Women typically wear an engagement ring after they've accepted their partner's proposal, and both partners will gain a band once married. There is an upcoming trend for men to also wear engagement rings before saying, "I do."

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Does everyone wear their engagement ring on the left hand ring finger? 

Not all countries or groups of people relate the ring finger on the left hand to represent their commitment.

Many same-sex couples will wear a ring on the right hand to represent that they are in a monogamous relationship, whether that’s a long-term partnership or marriage.

Couples in India and Spain typically wear their engagement and wedding rings on the right hand.

 

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