Engagement Ring Vs Wedding Ring

Now, everyone will have heard about engagement rings and weddings rings. Some people think that both are one and the same. Which is not the case. Women tend to know the difference right away. But I remember myself not knowing the difference before working in a jewellery store. It is nothing to be ashamed about.

Engagement ring vs wedding ring is not a debate on which kind of ring is better or something because both rings are used in different situations. Rather, I want to explain the differences to you in terms of each ring’s meaning and its appearance.

Engagement rings

Simply put engagement rings are the rings you give to your girlfriend when you propose, i.e. you knee down in front of your girlfriend and say the words: “Will you marry me?”.

The proposal itself is supposed to be a surprise. There are various reasons for this. For a woman a proposal is like the ultimate victory: A guy kneeing down in front of her and offering his never-ending commitment to the relationship with her. This is a very special moment for a woman and this is why women very often ask each most excitedly about the details of a proposal.

This very special event becomes even more special and the emotions that result out of such an life changing event are even more heightened when the the proposal is not planned but a real surprise to the woman!

The nature of such an emotional heightening proposal has two consequences for the engagement ring: In order to keep the element of surprise the man will usually have to choose the engagement ring on his own. And he will have to choose a ring that underlines the uniqueness of the proposal.

Therefore, engagement rings nowadays are very often diamond engagement rings that provide a lot of sparkle, brilliance and scintillation:

    • Solitaire Engagement Ring Setting
    • Pavé Engagment Ring
    • Tension Engagement Ring

(Pictures are courtesy of James Allen)

Apart from diamonds an engagement ring can also contain a sapphire for instance. One commonality between most engagement rings is that one larger gemstone is situated at the centre of the engagement ring and attracts all the attention. This for instance can be the case for three stone ring settings:

    • Three Stone Ring Setting with Blue Sapphires
    • Three Stone Ring Setting with side stone trelis diamonds

On the picture above you can see differents kind of engagement rings. All of these engagement rings are set into different ring settings. Some of these ring settings have several diamonds in its ring setting but usually one diamond at the centre commands all the attention.

Most engagement rings are set into gold or platinum ring settings but some are also set into silver, titanium or stainless steel. The engagement ring is usually placed on the left ring finger. The Romans used to believe that the left ring finger contained the “vein of love”.

Unlike the wedding ring it is only women who get to wear an engagement ring. Which is a probably a good thing looking at the costs 🙂

By the way, go and check out James Allen for diamond engagment rings as they are currently the only company with 360° videos of all their diamonds and ring settings.

Wedding rings / wedding bands

On the other hand there are also wedding rings which are also referred to as wedding bands.

Wedding rings are the rings that are exchanged during the wedding ceremony after each partner has said their vows. As the wedding ceremony is something both of you will plan for way ahead in advance you will be choosing your wedding rings together.

Wedding rings are most commonly plain rings without any diamonds or gemstones. They usually consist of yellow or white gold:

    • 14 White Gold Flat Comfort Fit Wedding Ring
    • Eternity Wedding Ring
    • 18K Yellow Gold Alternating Bezel Eternity Wedding Ring

A wedding ring with its form consisting of a simple uninterrupted circle without a beginning or ending symbolizes eternity. It is not surprising that it has been found to be the perfect symbol for being married and for never-ending love. The wedding ring clearly also serves the purpose of demonstrating to the outer world that its carrier is married!

Quite often couples try to choose wedding rings in such a manner that they match each other. In fact, many couples take exactly the same wedding band in their own respective size. This serves the purpose of heightening a couple’s sense of unity.

However, there is no universal rule that it has to be like that. Wedding rings usually contain an engraving on the inside such as the date of marriage or some short phrase with a special meaning to the couple.

Engagement Ring Vs Wedding Ring
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Sebastian Naturski loves to write about diamonds and share his knowledge with his readers.
When he is not working on his website he is studying law at Humboldt University of Berlin.
He has taken part in several international law competitions and likes to broaden his horizons.
His other big passion are languages. He is fluent in German, English, Polish and Japanese and got basic skills in French and Spanish as well.


  1. Any input on “promise rings”? Talked with my gf about it and she INSISTS on getting a 2 carat solitaire! My plan was to start small and work my way up to her “dream ring” when got to the engagement-step! Her reply was, “that is redundant”! HELP

    • Hi Roy,

      Promise rings are usually subtler than engagement rings. The focus is more on the overall design rather than the diamond which is the usual focus when shopping for engagement rings. The meaning varies between couples, but promise rings are widely known to symbolize love, commitment, and devotion to each other. It could be a promise to someday get married. So a 2-carat diamond might be a little extravagant, but if you have the budget, why not?

  2. Thoughts on a 3 carat solitaire diamond ring paired with an engagement ring of a ring stack (2 small ones, maybe different shapes) or a large half eternity band (2 carats total diamond weight). Which looks classier/more trendy in your opinion?

    • Hi Lauren,

      The half eternity band is a classic, although the ring stack seems trendier. Both styles will greatly amplify the beauty of a 3-carat diamond on a solitaire setting. It’s all a matter of personal taste. 🙂

  3. You have done it sir. I am actually on my way to go and buy an engagement ring because I engaged her with a wedding ring. If I am given a chance to redefine life, I would say life is all about learning. Thanks, Cyrus

  4. You should point out that there are two types of wedding rings – a wedding ‘set’ where the engagement ring and wedding band go together (often they fit together to look like one big ring – or with some sets the wedding ring is very similar to the engagement ring – the engagement ring just has a bigger diamond in it) – or if you don’t choose a wedding set, you can instead to have a wedding band which doesn’t go with the engagement ring. With a ‘set’, the man is on his own to pick out any band he likes. When there is no set, often the bride and groom will pick out matching bands.
    In our case, my husband and I were in university and had no money. My husband bought me the wedding ring out of a wedding set (because it was much cheaper, he bought the ring that didn’t have the big diamond!), and we bought matching bands. After graduation he went back to the jewellery store and bought the big engagement ring – so now I have the entire wedding ‘set’ as well as a band that matches his. I had all three soldered together into one big ring, and next month I’ll have been wearing it 25 years!

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for your meaty suggestion! Although some brides like to be surprised, your right, in some cases, it makes sense to purchase a wedding set, especially for practical reasons. This will give the couple comfort, convenience, and uniformity. I will definitely incorporate this topic in my future posts. Thanks again! 🙂

  5. Hey, really great, I was not aware of the difference as think they both the same, it’s really great to know the difference and is amazing.I love the rings as well the bands,love to wear them.

    • Hi Elisagrace,
      Thanks for your feedback! Yes, they each have their own wonderful purpose. I’m glad to be of help. 🙂 Cheers!

  6. The funny thing is I was just like you when I first went looking at wedding rings “I thought an engagement ring and a wedding ring” was the same ring. Little did I know, think it may be a guy thing because you are right a female will school you very quick that they are very different. Lol.

    Engagement ring versus wedding ring is like that: Usually an Engagement ring is the one with the “ROCK” and the one you should spend 3 months salary on or whatever the monetary value should be these days, it was 3 months salary in my day anyway.

  7. Thanks for the post. When I was thinking about engagement ring vs wedding ring I actually thought both are the same thing. I guess you never stop learning.

  8. Hi. Just wanted to say thanks for this informative article. I have been married for 17 years now and am very much looking forward to our 20th anniversary when we will be renewing our vows. To be honest, I never really thought about having a separate ring for the wedding. We just used the engagement ring. After reading your article, I’m thinking about surprising her with a wedding ring. I know it’s 20 years too late, but just curious if you think it’s a good idea? If so, I would appreciate some ideas. Thanks again -Jeremy

    • Hi Jeremy,
      it seems as though you and your wife don’t have wedding bands. After 20 years of marriage it might be a nice symbol to get matching wedding bands through which you might be more connected. Such wedding bands are usually quite plain and don’t contain a large diamond. For wedding bands and anniversary wedding bands it is absolutely appropriate to choose the rings together with your wife. She will be able to assist you much better than I ever could in the choice of your perfect rings 🙂

  9. Hey, I think that the summary of engagement ring vs wedding ring is quite easy. The engagement ring does contain a diamond and the wedding ring does not!

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