Your professional guide to shopping for wedding rings

Your professional guide to shopping for wedding rings

If you are shopping for wedding rings you probably have a lot of questions. I have created a series of blogs to help you navigate successfully the task of selecting your wedding rings.

diamond set wedding rings made in the UK

One of the first questions I am often asked is what finger the wedding ring is worn on. In many countries, including the UK and America, the wedding ring goes on the fourth finger of the left hand. This finger is called the ring finger and there are some fascinating stories from history associated with it. In China there was an ancient belief that this finger was magical and in Japan it isn’t called the ring finger, but the medicine finger. It was considered to be the cleanest of all fingers and was therefore used by Japanese people when taking medicine.

The tradition of wearing a ring on the fourth finger dates back to ancient Egyptian times because they believed that a vein ran directly from this finger to the heart, making it the choice for rings with romantic symbolism. The ancient Romans carried on this belief but they wore rings on the right hand, not the left, because they believed that the left was associated with untrustworthiness. Some countries, such as Germany and Russia still wear wedding rings today on the right hand, not the left.

In the UK, the tradition of wearing a wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand was started in 16th century by King Edward VI. Before he decreed that this was the right and proper finger for a wedding ring, wedding rings were worn on the thumb. Interestingly, until the 20th century, only women wore weddings rings and after the World Wars, male soldiers started to wear wedding rings to remind them of their partner.

happy bride wearing christine sadler wedding ring

You could in theory wear a wedding ring on any finger but wearing it on the fourth finger of the left hand signals to others that you are married.


The second most common question I am asked is does the wedding ring go on before or after the engagement ring. Although the wedding ring is bought after the engagement ring, it is traditionally worn first with the engagement ring put on after it. The reasoning behind this is that wedding rings were traditionally a plain band of gold and they were never taken off but a gemstone set engagement ring should be taken off when doing baking, gardening or any other tasks that might damage the stone or setting. When a woman was given an eternity ring, a band of diamonds given after many years of marriage, she would wear her wedding ring, then her eternity ring and then her engagement ring. Today it is common for wedding rings to have gemstones in them and for the engagement ring to sit between two diamond set bands. You can play about with these guidelines and wear your wedding ring on whichever side of your engagement ring you want.

Brides have asked me what they should do with their engagement ring on their wedding day before the ceremony. I wore my engagement ring on my right hand until after the ceremony but you could wear it as normal and reverse the sequence later, if you want to.

This covers the questions about what finger the wedding ring is worn on and in my next blog, I will explain what the differences are between the precious metals that wedding rings are made of and help you to work out which one is best for you.

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