Which Hand Does the Engagement Ring Go On?
Ring Finger Significance
Although the notion of wearing an engagement ring on the fourth finger of the left hand has its origins in a Roman era belief that this finger was connected by a long vein to the human heart, other traditions such as diamonds being the preferred gemstone for engagement rings and the idea that the price of the ring should be equivalent to two months' of the giver's salary are all elements that have been buttressed by the North American retail jewelry industry.
Once the concept of wearing an expensive betrothal ring had firmly taken hold in North America, De Beers and its advertising partners focused their efforts on international markets, with equally remarkable results. When a carefully crafted campaign was launched in Japan in 1967, less than 5% of Japanese women wore diamond engagement rings. By 1981, the proportion had risen to 60%.
More recently, the trend among North American women has been to both get more involved in the purchase of engagement rings and to seek to personalize them with a different choice of design or gemstone. In fact, as a testament to just how much the mores of couples have changed, an interview of 10,000 U.S. couples for a new De Beers study showed that in a number of cases, women are now simply handing their husbands-to-be the wrapped left-hand, third finger engagement ring of their choice, along with the purchase receipt.