The Reason for Wearing a Wedding Ring on the Left Ring Finger

Wedding rings, symbols of the commitment between two people who have decided to marry, are traditionally worn on the ring finger of the left hand. But why is it the "left hand" and specifically the "ring finger"?





The Origin of Wedding Rings



Among various theories, the most renowned suggests that wedding rings are worn on the left ring finger because of a vein that directly connects to the heart.


In ancient Greece, the heart, located at the center of the body and believed to govern emotions, was linked to the ring finger, considered a special location. Wearing the ring on the left ring finger became a practice to symbolize "eternal love pledged with life."


Moreover, wearing a "circle," a symbol of eternity and reincarnation, signifies "forever connecting with your partner's heart."



In the 9th century, Pope Nicholas I deemed the ring as a "symbol of marriage," laying the groundwork for the tradition of couples exchanging wedding rings.


By the 13th century, engagement and wedding rings were differentiated, and the custom of exchanging rings became popular among European nobility.


This tradition reached Japan in the late Edo period, about 500 years later, introduced by Dutch residents in Nagasaki. With the end of Japan's isolationist policy in the Meiji era, the practice spread, and by the Taisho era, wearing wedding rings as a symbol of marriage had become established.




Chinese Tradition



In China, fingers represent "relationships with oneself."


Thumb: Parents
Index Finger: Siblings
Middle Finger: Self
Ring Finger: Lover
Pinky: Children

Even as family members may eventually leave home due to growth or independence, lovers/partners are meant to be bound eternally.


This is another reason attributed to wearing the wedding ring on the ring finger.


There's a beautiful tradition to verify this belief with your own hands.


First, join the tips of the same fingers together from both hands.



Then, fold the middle fingers inward and try to separate your other fingers.


You'll find that while the thumbs, index fingers, and pinkies can be separated easily, the ring fingers cannot, symbolizing the lifelong bond with your partner.



Practical Reasons



Globally, about 90% of people are right-handed.


For right-handed individuals, the left ring finger is among the least used, making it less susceptible to impact, damage, or interference in daily tasks.



However, there's no strict rule that wedding rings must be worn on the left ring finger. Depending on the country or culture, the preferred finger for wearing a wedding ring can vary.


Ultimately, the best place is where it feels most comfortable for the wearer.




Infusing Rings with Meaning and Preference



Unlike fashion jewellery, which can be changed according to outfit or mood, engagement and wedding rings are special items worn for a long time.


Selecting a ring suitable for such a significant life event is crucial.


At ith, our concierges in the atelier will support you in choosing the perfect ring, crafting a piece filled with your sentiments and preferences, creating a unique symbol of your union.


Sakurai, Concierge


For reference:

ith's wedding ring designs
ith's engagement ring designs
ith's custom-made services
ith's atelier
About ring sizes


The Reason for Wearing a Wedding Ring on the Left Ring Finger