What Does A Right Hand Ring Mean?
There are many traditions around the world that involve wearing your wedding ring or engagement ring on a specific hand, on a specific finger. What are the different meanings behind wearing a ring on different fingers?
While choosing a finger to wear any ring on is a matter of preference, wearing your wedding ring on your ring finger on your left hand is a common and popular tradition in the U.S. This can cause confusion: why do women sometimes wear their wedding ring on their right hand?
Can a woman wear a wedding ring on her right hand? What is the ring on right hand meaning? Different symbolic meanings, cultures, and lifestyle factors can determine on which finger you choose to wear your ring. Let’s get into it.
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Left Hand vs. Right Hand Ring
Why do Americans wear wedding rings on their left hand? On which finger do most people wear their wedding ring? What does wedding ring on right hand mean in women? Historically, people have worn wedding rings on every finger, even their thumbs.
History of the Wedding Ring Finger
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The origin of wearing a wedding ring on the ring finger dates back to the ancient Egyptians. They believed that a vein in this specific finger was connected directly to the heart. This belief was then adopted by the ancient Greeks and Romans, the latter of whom called the vein “vena amoris.”
This tradition remained popular for centuries in many Western cultures. Before the 1700s, however, people frequently wore their wedding ring on the ring finger of the right hand. This shifted to the ring finger on the left hand in the West in the beginning of the 18th century.
Why did people start wearing their wedding ring on the left hand instead of the right? There are several theories. One reason may be because most people are right-handed, and moving it to the left keeps it from getting in the way of right-handed work. Another reason may be that the left hand is closer to the heart.
In Central and Northern Europe, many couples still wear their wedding rings on their right hand ring fingers. This is common in Russia and Greece, as well as with people who are Orthodox Christians.
In India, the left hand was traditionally seen as unclean, but this belief has died out with many in recent years. Many couples in India consider both the right hand and the left hand to be appropriate for wedding rings.
Today, people take other reasons into consideration when deciding which finger to wear their ring on. Left-handedness, practicality, and other symbolic meanings can play a role in which finger you choose to wear your ring.
Left Hand vs. Right Hand Ring Meaning and Symbolism
If you’ve ever wondered why women sometimes wear wedding ring on right hand, your best bet to know why is to ask her. This is because there are many different cultural reasons and lifestyle reasons for choosing this ring location.
In modern times, people recognize that the many cultural traditions and historical changes have created a situation where there is no single standard. Some people like to continue the tradition of their parents and grandparents, while others may choose for themselves which finger they prefer to wear their ring.
Here are some of the reasons why someone may wear a wedding ring on the right hand:
- Cultural tradition, nationality, or religious heritage
- It’s a family heirloom
- Can symbolize independence
- Intentional rejection of tradition
- Left-handed people may prefer it on their non-dominant hand
- Comfort reasons–arthritis or joint swelling on the other hand
- Honoring a spouse who has passed away
If you see someone wearing their wedding ring or engagement ring on their right hand, or a different finger than the ring finger, there could be countless reasons why. Some people choose to do this for practicality and comfort, others may wear it intentionally to pay tribute to their culture, a loved one, and some may wish to make a bold statement and intentionally steer away from tradition.
As a Symbol of Women’s Independence
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Although there are many reasons why people may wear their wedding ring on their right hand, it’s becoming a new tradition amongst some women today to wear a wedding ring on the right hand for feminist reasons or female independence.
In the past, women commonly chose to wear a right-hand ring if they were not yet married or engaged. Today’s women see marriage as a choice; it’s no longer an expectation or a necessity for financial stability.
Today, women still often choose to buy similar rings as a status of not being married, but a new tradition is to wear flashy or glamorous diamond or gemstone rings to signify their personal achievement, independence, and financial status. These rings carry the symbolism of strength and empowerment; right-hand rings today can be as extravagant as engagement rings, featuring diamonds, gold, and finely crafted designs.
Buying a right-hand ring is a meaningful way to reward yourself for working hard and following your ambition. It symbolizes your independence and your good fortune in life. A diamond right-hand ring isn't a diamond ring that you have to wait for or use to make a major commitment.
In other words, why wait to be engaged to wear a stunning piece of bling? Right-hand rings are the perfect accessory to personalize and match your personality.
In fact, these right-hand rings are a great keepsake to be passed down from generation to generation. Mothers have given diamond rings to their daughters as keepsakes once they’ve reached a certain milestone or life-changing event in their life. The right-hand ring serves as a memory of a mother or grandmother’s ambition and achievements.
Rings that have been passed down for generations become vintage rings. These rings are an investment that shows a concern for the future. These rings are to be cherished forever.
Right Index Finger
What does it mean if you wear a ring on your right index finger?
In some cultures, wearing a ring on this finger is symbolic of marriage. People wear a ring on the right index finger during a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony. This is typically a plain gold band. During the ceremony, some brides will move the ring from the right hand to the left ring finger after the ceremony, but others keep it on the right hand.
If it’s not a plain gold band, there’s not really any meaning that people will take away if you wear a ring on the right index finger.
Many people like to wear class rings, fraternal or sorority rings, high school graduation rings, and fashion rings.
Right Middle Finger
The right middle finger doesn’t have any particular meanings attributed to it. You can wear any ring on your right middle finger for whatever reasons you want. You can choose your own symbolism for the middle finger on your right hand.
What does it mean if someone is wearing a wedding ring on their middle finger? This is not very common, but people who do this tend to find the middle finger a more comfortable place to wear a wedding ring than the ring finger.
Some people wear rings on the middle finger to symbolize balance and order. Others will wear a bold ring on that finger to make a statement about confidence and ambition.
Right Pinky Finger
The meaning of a ring on the right pinky finger is often to symbolize professional status. A pinky ring is usually a status symbol.
In some professions, such as engineering, science, and other college majors, a pinky ring is a symbol of graduating with a degree. This can work for any major. College grads sometimes wear a college graduation ring on that finger, but they may also wear a different ring that they like. It’s popular to customize pinky rings to signify the specific meaning you have for it.
Professional rings worn on the right pinky finger are typically made of gold, stainless steel, sterling silver, or other durable metals. They’re meant to last years and are often worn daily.
Left Pinky Finger
In some Western countries such as the United Kingdom, men sometimes wear a signet ring as a sign of family and tradition. Signet rings often have a coat of arms or another personal symbol, and they’re often passed down for generations.
Other men often wear a statement ring on their left pinky finger, often encrusted in diamonds or other gems.
A ring on the right thumb doesn’t have any specific connotations, so people often wear statement thumb rings to reflect their personality.
Men often choose to wear thumb rings to symbolize two things:
- Power: The thumb is the broadest and bulkiest finger, and wearing a chunky ring can show confidence and stability.
- Friendship: A “thumbs up” gesture relates to rings men will often wear on their thumbs if they’ve been given a ring as a gift from a friend or loved one.
Women also like to wear thumb rings, especially if it’s a gift or something that’s been passed down. If a woman wants to wear her significant other’s ring or a ring from her grandfather, the only place it might fit on her hand is her thumb. Fortunately, it’s usually easy to resize gold and silver rings.
Which Finger Should You Wear a Ring on?
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Obviously, we didn’t go through every finger on each hand. If you’re interested in making a cultural connection to your heritage, it’s a good idea to research it and discover the traditions that way. Otherwise, it’s a matter of personal preference.
Here are some tips for figuring out which finger to wear a ring on:
- Do you want to show any cultural significance, personal meaning, family tributes, status symbol, or allegiance?
- Where is it most comfortable for you to wear a ring?
- Are you wearing your ring as a symbol or for style?
- Which finger makes the ring stand out best as a statement ring?
- Where does the ring look best with your other rings?
Whether you’re following tradition or becoming a trendsetter in your own right, there are no rules about where to wear a ring. There are some style tips for wearing rings–such as don’t wear more than four rings per hand–but if it fits your personality, you can pull it off.
What matters most is finding rings that are high-quality, expertly crafted, and suitable for your self-expression.
Founder of ItsHot.com
Denis Stepansky is a founder of ItsHot, a diamond jewelry and watches store based in NYC. He has been in the jewelry business for about 20 years and owns such high-end jewelry brands as Luccello and Luxurman. As a jewelry expert, he has citations on well-known magazines and newspapers like Insider and Daily Mail.
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