Engagement Jewelry Customs Around the World
Here in the United States, engagement rings are an important symbol of a couple?s commitment to each other. Brides-to-be all over the country dream about the perfect ring, and as a result, it?s a major part of the marriage proposal. However, not everyone does things the same way we do! Here?s some interesting information about some of the engagement jewelry customs from around the world:
Engagement Rings Are Worn on Both Hands
In the United States, we wear our engagement ring on the ring finger on our left hands. After the wedding ceremony, the wedding ring is worn with the engagement ring on the same hand and same finger. The ring is also worn on the left hand in Mexico, Canada, France, Chile, Italy, UK, and throughout Asia. However, some people wear these rings on their right hands, including those who live in Germany, Northern Europe, Eastern European countries, and those who follow the Orthodox Christian tradition, like Greece and Russia. This traces back to Roman times, when the left hand was considered ?unclean.?
Not Everyone Wears Rings
Even though an engagement ring is worn in many countries throughout the world, not everyone follows this custom. For example, in West Bengal, people wear ornately decorated bangle bracelets instead of rings to show that they are engaged. In Kenya, people wear necklaces with beads that are decorated a certain way to show that they will be married. In China, no symbol (such as a ring, bracelet, or necklace) is traditionally given. Rather, a couple?s promise to each other is displayed by exchanging goods, which shows a couple?s economic stability.
Some People Wear a Toe Ring Instead
In the Hindu tradition, engagement rings aren?t worn on the hands. They?re worn on the toes instead! These toe rings are just as ornate and beautiful as the engagement rings that we have here in the United States. In fact, they typically wear one of these rings on each foot because it not only shows that they are married, but is also looked at as a symbol of fertility. However, more and more Indian couples have adopted the American tradition of wearing an engagement ring on the left hand. This is usually done in addition to the old Hindu custom.
Not Everyone Prefers Diamonds
Diamonds are certainly valued throughout the world, but not everyone prefers them for their engagement rings. In Ireland, for example, it?s fairly traditional to give a ?Claddagh? ring, which symbolizes love (the heart), friendship (the hands), and loyalty (the crown). However, even though it?s used during the ceremonies, you can give someone a Claddagh ring even if you don?t intend to marry them. Other countries, such as France, prefer to give rings that feature other stones instead of diamonds, such as sapphires. However, in both countries, couples do adopt other traditions and buy engagement rings similar to those found in the United States. Engagement jewelry customs do differ throughout the world. However, more and more people are adopting the traditional American custom of wearing a diamond engagement ring.