Swept by Disney fairytales at a young age, girls all over the world have somehow dreamt of a Prince Charming, a magical proposal, and a happy ending at least once in their life. So, they know what these rings are and the life-changing significance it comes with!
As for men, not everyone starts off as an aspiring Prince Charming. As crazy as it sounds, some men think that the engagement ring and the wedding ring are the same, while some don’t even bother.
To tell you the truth, I remember myself not knowing the difference between the two before working at a jewelry store. But it’s nothing to be ashamed about! The important thing is you’re here to learn. So, cut yourself some slack. 🙂
When Do We Buy Engagement Rings?
Simply put, the engagement ring is mainly the reason you’re reading this right now. You want to spend the rest of your life with someone and ask the iconic question “Will you marry me?”. These days, more couple are buying the engagement ring together for a practical approach on the design and budget.
But if we’re going traditional, the proposal is supposed to be a surprise, and you should be the one to pick the ring that only women (in the relationship) get to wear. Which is probably a good thing looking at the costs!
What About Wedding Rings?
These are the rings that are exchanged during the wedding ceremony after each partner has said their vows. As the nuptial is something both of you will plan far ahead, you will be choosing your wedding rings together. It serves the purpose of making it known to the world that its carrier is married!
The bands usually contain an engraving on the inside such as the date of marriage or a phrase/quote with a special meaning. Quite often, couples try to choose matching wedding rings. In fact, many couples take exactly the same wedding band in their respective sizes. This heightens their sense of oneness. However, there is no universal rule that it has to be like that. So, go wild!
How Did This Age-Old Tradition Begin?
The concept of such rings is seen in every race, color, religion, and walk of life. Whether it be for legal matters, ownership, or true love – one thing’s most prevalent, the rings signify union.
It was the ancient Egyptians, 5000 years ago, that first exchanged the “rings of love.” Made of reeds or leather from plants growing along the Nile River, the first ones were woven like a ring because Egyptians see the circle as a powerful symbol. The infinite band connotes love and immortality while its opening is said to be the gateway to the afterlife.
Rings and signets were highly regarded, and it was passed on to the Greeks and Romans, inspiring some of the first ever betrothal rings in Rome. The ancient Romans were also the ones who placed the engagement ring on the left ring finger as they believe it’s directly connected to the heart.
At around 860, the Christians used embellished rings in marriage ceremonies. But during the 13th century, the Church saw them as irreligious and encouraged simplified rings from then on.
The first recorded diamond engagement ring was given by Archduke Maximillian to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. The trend took Europe by storm and has become a worldwide tradition up until today.
Classic and Modern Engagement Rings
Traditional ones consist of a diamond or gemstone in the center, while the setting is often gold or platinum. These days, new ring setting designs are put on the spotlight, but one major factor remains the same – diamonds that provide a lot of sparkle, brilliance, and scintillation:
(Pictures are courtesy of James Allen)
One commonality between most engagement rings is that one larger gemstone is situated at the center of the engagement ring and attracts all the attention. This, for instance, can be the case for three stone ring settings:
Engagement rings are usually more extravagant than wedding rings. Some types house colorful diamonds, mystical gemstones, or avant-garde settings. A pricing norm was also established by DeBeers decades ago, making men spend at least 2 months of salary for an engagement ring. But remember that the design, size, and price are subjective, so you have the final say.
So, What’s a Promise Ring?
It also represents love and commitment but doesn’t necessarily mean marriage. Coined by millennials, it doesn’t really have a label. It could be a promise to be engaged someday or to move to a different country at a certain time.
Some younger couples exchange promise rings instead as it gives them the freedom to just be. There’s no pressure to get married anytime soon. And the design is simpler and not as expensive as usual engagement rings. Sounds tempting, but don’t get side-tracked with a promise ring if your goal is to marry the one you’re with eventually!
Are Wedding Rings and Wedding Bands the Same?
Yes! They’re usually plain without any diamonds or gemstones and are commonly white gold or yellow gold. However, many brides may select a flashier or more intricate band depending on their style:
I would advise picking your rings at least 2 months before the wedding. This way, you’ll have a decent time allowance if something comes up during the wedding planning. There’s always last-minute fixes!
Which is More Important and Should Women Wear Both?
Well, most married women wear both rings on the left hand's ring finger with the wedding ring – the ultimate symbol of eternal love – being closer to the heart. Because of this tradition, the engagement ring is taken off during the ceremony, so that the wedding ring can be worn beneath it.
Some women opt for a bridal set where you don’t have to match the engagement ring and the wedding ring. While some only wear one of the two! Still, it’s up to your liking, budget, and time-honored belief.
Now that you know which is which and probably have a gist of a style your partner will love, it’s time to hunt for the ring. It’s another journey on its own that will need further reading just like how you went about this one. Don't worry, we have all the guides laid out for you!
Check out my post on “How to Design an Engagement Ring Online.” And read about “Diamond Store Reviews” to learn how digital giants like James Allen has become the #1 go-to for diamond engagement rings and wedding rings.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to write to me. Or comment down below!
I’m always here to help. 🙂