Wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand due to tradition. This custom can be traced back to ancient Roman times, when it was believed that the ring finger of the left hand contained the vena amoris or ‘vein of love’ that leads directly to the heart. So naturally to solidify a union based on love, they’d place the ring on the left hand to signify the romance the couple shares.
Many countries have their own traditions with some Catholic and some Orthodox countries wearing the ring on the right finger.
In most cultures, the engagement & wedding ring is worn on the left hand, 4th finger from the thumb/ second from the pinky.
There are also theories about certain Christian traditions making the left ring finger popular or it could be that people just found that had to be the most practical as most people are right-handed, so their ring is less likely to be worn if it’s on the left hand.
The idea of an engagement ring as we know it today, however, is a fairly new idea. In earlier history, an engagement or betrothal ring was really just a promise of commitment during the waiting period before the wedding. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century when De Beers came out with the wildly popular campaign, “A Diamond Is Forever.” From that moment on, engagement rings started to have connotations of needing to be very expensive and use diamonds. Recently, “alternative” engagement rings have started gaining more popularity – emerald, sapphire, morganite, etc.
It was thought that the “vena amoris” (Latin for “vein of love”) ran directly from the heart to the 4th finger of the left hand, establishing the tradition of wearing engagement & wedding rings on the “ring finger.” While factually inaccurate (all fingers have a similar vein structure) it is a super cute reason for why we do what we do.
That tradition was kept also during the barbaric period and it symbolized a man’s promise, power and his “conquest” of a woman. Later the tradition was transferred into Christianity as well. A priest touches the left ring finger after the first three which symbolize the Saint Trinity (Father – Son – Holy Son).