If you’ve ever seen someone wearing a ring on their right hand, you may be curious as to what it means. Like many fashion trends, the meaning of wearing an engagement ring on your right hand depends on personal preference. While some may wear it as a sign of fortune, others might wear it as a sign of their commitment.
To determine the meaning behind a right hand ring or decide whether to wear one or not, you’ll also need to know the meaning behind different types of rings. Once you understand each of those aspects, you’ll be a pro at spotting the meaning behind one. Keep reading as we explain the ins and outs of wearing an engagement ring on your right hand and its meaning.
What Does It Mean to Wear a Ring on Your Right Hand?
Right hand rings can carry a multitude of meanings, and it often depends on the type of right hand ring being worn—although cultural differences also play a large part in the derivative meaning. To begin, let’s look at the different types of right hand rings and the meaning behind each.
Birthstone ring: As a popular gifting ring, birthstone rings are commonly worn on the right hand or even as a pendant on a necklace chain and are not to be confused with engagement rings. Instead of a large center stone, birthstone rings may feature smaller gemstone accents that match the wearer’s birthstone, or a dainty center gemstone to differentiate from wedding rings. They can be worn for a personal nod to your fashion, or as a promise ring that symbolizes a committed relationship or large milestone. The meaning behind a birthstone ring depends on the type and color of the stone. While emeralds symbolize growth and longevity, opals symbolize love and passion. It can be fun to research the meaning behind your particular birth month and choose a ring to bring symbolism with you wherever you go, or to gift to a loved one.
Eternity ring: As one of the most versatile ring styles, eternity rings—sometimes confused with infinity rings—can be worn for numerous reasons. While many wear it for a wedding ring, others wear it for everyday style as a right hand ring. Since they feature an abundance of sparkle, they are loved by those with glam-slam fashion. Along with their diverse purpose, eternity rings are also steeped in wedding tradition and symbolism. Their continuous line of stones around the band symbolizes eternal love and commitment, which is why they are so popular when finishing off the perfect wedding set to represent a new marriage. But they can also be worn to symbolize something specific in your personal life and worn for that reason. Whether someone is gifting one to you or you feel like giving it to yourself, an eternity ring can be worn on either the right hand as a statement piece or left hand as a wedding ring.
Three stone ring: Similar to the multipurpose function of eternity bands, three stone rings are also commonly seen as both a right hand and left hand ring. Whether they feature all colorless stones, colored stones or a mixture of both, they can make a stunning and eclectic right hand ring. More modern styles—and those that are more suited for right hand ring styles—feature smaller side stones, almost comparable to accent stone size. This creates a sleek look that can be easily differentiated from an engagement ring.
Cocktail ring: Although they can look fairly similar in style to birthstone rings, cocktails rings may feature colorless or colored stones for a playful look. They are worn usually for personal style tastes and to finish off a stunning look. Styles such as cluster rings or settings with dainty side stones are great for wearing as a right hand cocktail ring and they are different from engagement ring style but still feature an abundance of sparkle. Some also choose to wear a cocktail ring a sign of status, making the purchase a relatively expensive one. Although, choosing a simulated diamond right hand ring can allow you to choose the look you want without spending a fortune.
Ring stack: With this style, a person typically stacks multiple rings on the same finger. Similar to the wedding band trend that is growing in popularity, creating a right hand ring stack can be a fun and dazzling style to portray. The best part about this look with multiple rings is that each stack is unique to your personal style. Whether you mix metal types, separate your stack by finger or mix sparkle with metalwork, your look is up to you. While stacked right hand rings most commonly have a more relaxed vibe, they can also be styled to pair with sleek, black-tie outfits. It’s your decision how you want to design this look and the finished outcome.
Which Hand Do You Wear an Engagement Ring On?
Now that you know some of the different types of right hand rings you can choose from, how do you differentiate them between engagement rings? That brings us to which hand you wear engagement rings on and why.
Traditionally, engagement rings are worn on the left hand. This dates back to ancient times when it was thought that there was a vein from your ring finger all the way to your heart. While this has been debunked, it’s still a tradition that’s carried on by most cultures. Women—and more recently men—wear their engagement ring on their left hand until the day of matrimony. Once the vows are said, a wedding ring is placed on the ring finger closest to the heart, and the engagement ring follows the wedding ring to finish off the wedding set. The wedding set is then worn every day after that. So, while some styles of right hand rings and engagement rings may look similar to one another, you can often tell the difference between the two by the hand it’s worn on. If it is worn on the wearer’s left hand, then it’s most likely an engagement ring. If the ring is worn on the right hand, it is most commonly an everyday ring for style.
Though these two types of rings are differentiated by which hand they are worn on, there are still some instances where that is not the case. For instance, engagement rings are sometimes worn on the right ring finger before the wedding day to make room for the exchanging of wedding rings, then moved back to the left ring finger after the ceremony. Another reason someone may wear an engagement ring on the right ring finger might be that they are not sure the wedding ceremony will still be happening. But an increasingly common reason is that it’s a man wearing an engagement ring alongside his fiance. With modern wedding tradition, this is a very prevalent style for both heterosexual and homosexual couples—it depends on the wearer’s style and how they want to signify their commitment. More and more men are opting to flaunt their engagement ring just as females do, which brings us to our next topic.
What Does It Mean When a Man Wears a Wedding Band on the Right Hand?
Just as females enjoy flaunting their love with a stunning ring, men enjoy this engagement ring tradition just as much. The difference between the two is that men often choose a wedding band that doubles as their engagement ring, so they most commonly only flaunt one ring before and after the wedding ceremony. The meaning behind men’s and women’s rings differ slightly, too. While engagement ring styles are usually easily spotted and known to be a pre-wedding symbol, it’s different for men. When a man wears a wedding ring on their left ring finger, it means they are already married. So, without a different style of ring, how do men symbolize their engagement? By wearing their wedding ring on their right hand! This differentiates it from meaning they are already married, while giving them a way to flaunt their love with a symbolic ring. While the reason people wear engagement rings differs couple to couple, it’s usually for both the purpose of enjoyment and letting others know they are in a committed relationship.
Should You Wear Your Engagement Ring on Your Right Hand?
The answer to that question will vary among different people. If you have a unique situation where you are not married yet but want to show off your commitment, then by all means, wear your ring on your right hand with pride! What others think of you wearing your ring on your right hand doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re comfortable with the placement and it has a specific meaning to you. You may even choose to wear it on your right hand purely for style as a right hand ring on occasion. Whatever the reason, feel free to rock your adornment whichever way fits your style best!
*Here at Diamond Nexus, we strive to provide valuable information while being clear and honest about our products. The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a patented lab created diamond simulate that, among all simulants, most closely imitates the look, weight and wear of a diamond, with two exceptions - it is absolutely perfect in every way, and it costs significantly less. Price points and environmental facts expressed in this blog were taken from popular online retailers and may vary. Learn more about the environmental impact of mining by visiting our blog.