While all your ring fingers are attractive when you place rings on them (including the pinky finger), it might be helpful to know how the two hands differ, and what the different fingers mean when you put a ring on them.
Meanings of Each Finger
Putting a ring on the pinky finger expresses your traits and character. You want to make a statement when you put a ring on the pinky finger. Rings on this finger are considered expressive and flashy – they make some noise when you need to draw attention to yourself.
Rings worn on the pinky can either be big or slim; there are no hard and fast rules. There are no major cultural significations associated with wearing rings on the pinky finger.
The ring finger is believed to be the site of vena amoris, or the “vein of love”. Centuries of tradition states that the fourth finger possesses a direct connection with the heart, which is responsible for romantic love and relationships. The vena amoris is believed to be connected from the fourth finger of the left hand to the heart itself.
The middle finger has a strong association with male characteristics, profile, and power. Usually, rings with simple designs are placed on the middle finger. Putting a ring on the middle finger is rare in many cultures, but it does occur every now and then, depending on the social status and beliefs of the wearer.
The pointer finger or first finger is the most noticeable of all fingers when you put a ring on it. Symbolic rings that have nothing to do with romantic relations are placed on the pointer finger. Rings like fraternity rings and family crests are appropriately placed here.
Unlike the middle finger and the pinky finger, rings on the pointer finger are usually placed to identify oneself in public and social gatherings. The presence of seals and crests on a ring is enough to inform others of one’s lineage and association.
The thumb is associated with one’s personal wealth, confidence and power. People wear rings on this part of the hand to show it off. It can also symbolize friendship if a symbolic ring is placed on it. If you want to wear a ring that doesn’t fit anywhere else, you can place the ring on your thumb.
Left-Hand vs. Right Hand
Rings can be worn either on the right hand or left hand. Some cultures emphasize the right hand because of its higher visibility, leaving the left hand as a canvas for your other beliefs that you may want to represent with rings.
Generally speaking, important symbolic rings like an engagement ring or wedding right can be worn either hand – the symbolization doesn’t change. However, if you want to follow the usual convention, such rings should be worn on the left hand.
The reason for this is the right hand is used for working (mostly) and important rings should be protected from too much wear and tear. However, since the right hand is more visible, some people choose to wear their symbolic rings there to show people that they are engaged or already married.
Historically, people have been more dominantly right-handed than left-handed, so many cultures consider the right hand luckier than the left. However, in many cultures, the left hand leads the right (as in ancient Sumers when they pray).
The right hand can also symbolize the worship of a god or deity in different religions and cultures. In Jewish tradition, the left hand and right hand are equal – they are not opposite each other.
The right hand signifies blessings and the outflow of mercy, while the other hand represents justice. In some African countries, tribes associate the left hand to the earth while the right-hand points to the heaven as a means of communing with the ancients and the gods. This gesture is common in rites of passage such as circumcision.
Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring
Now that we have the fingers and hands out of the way, let’s talk about another issue that some people find confusing. What is the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring?
Our answer will always be: it has to do with the function or purpose of using the ring in the first place. Engagement rings can be simple or fancy, depending on the budget of the person giving it. A simple golden band can serve as an engagement ring. The important thing here is that you buy something that is at least minimally enjoyable to wear, so your fiancée will have no trouble wearing it to work or daily. You can buy a separate wedding band that has diamonds on it, for instance, but this isn’t always necessary. Some couples just use their engagement bands as their wedding bands. There is nothing wrong with that.
You can gift an engagement band to your significant other if you have plans of wedding each other at a later date. There has to be an understanding and planning between two people before they can give each other an engagement ring. However, if there are no plans to wed, a commitment ring is fine. A commitment ring is not a wedding band, nor is it an engagement ring. It signifies the growing commitment between two people, as well as the boundless friendship that two individuals enjoy.
Later on when wedding is in the air, the ring can be upgraded or replaced with a proper engagement ring. With engagement rings, there has to be a date for the wedding itself.
Can you buy an engagement ring and a wedding ring, too?
Of course. Many couples do this to save time and there’s nothing wrong with getting more than one ring at a time, especially if you are after discounts or a particular type of ring that is rare and you want to get it for your significant other fast.