An engagement ring is an extremely important and symbolic tradition in the world of love and romance, but when should you actually wear one?
From the moment you’re engaged, you should wear the ring – but be careful to not wear it when working with your hands, cleaning, or cooking, among other things. When you’re married, it’s up to you if you wear the ring alongside your wedding band, on your opposite hand, or not at all.
Read on to learn more about wedding rings, where the tradition originated, and what to do with an engagement ring after you’re married.
An Age-Old Tradition
The giving of rings has been a symbol for partnership, or ownership, for thousands of years, stretching back to the ancient Romans. This innovative and revolutionary civilization gave rings to signify a ‘business contract’, or to officially declare love and obedience.
Reportedly, rings came in many shapes and sizes during that era, as well as a diverse range of materials. We’ve found evidence of rings being cut from ivory, copper, and iron, as well as gold, which was likely the most popular precious metal at the time.
However, the official purpose of an engagement ring wasn’t set in stone until around 850, when Pope Nicholas I decreed it as a necessary practice. It was said that the giving of an engagement ring fully represented the intent to marry in the eyes of God.
These practices remained the same for a while, until 1477 when the first-ever diamond engagement ring came onto the scene. It was the wealthy and opulent Archduke Maximilian of Austria who introduced it, proposing to his beloved with a diamond ring.
Unfortunately, Maximilian wasn’t the trendsetter he’d hoped he was, and diamond engagement rings didn’t really grow in popularity until the twentieth century. As diamond mining became a much easier and more profitable process, the popularity of diamond engagement rings grew exponentially.
Of course, this surge in popularity was helped along with the marketing of various diamond mining and cutting companies, particularly De Beers. They penned the infamous slogan, “A diamond is forever”, and history was made almost overnight.
Today, almost every single engagement ring carries with it a diamond – often a considerably large one. It’s the simplest tradition we know, and it means a massive amount to the two people who are getting engaged.
But when should you wear that all-important ring?
To Wear, Or Not To Wear?
When a proposal takes place, the engagement ring is almost always worn immediately after. However, there are many cases in which the engagement ring comes after the proposal, to allow the proposee to pick out their own ring.
In that case, the ring will simply be worn as soon as it has been purchased.
It’s a simple process – you just wear the ring up until the point you’re actually married, which point you can decide what happens next. If you want to continue wearing the engagement ring with the wedding band, tradition dictates that it should be on the outside of the band.
Although, you’re more than welcome to relocate the engagement ring to another finger, usually the ring finger on the opposite hand. Alternatively, you can drop the engagement ring entirely, storing it away and keeping it safe forevermore.
In many cases, an engagement ring will be passed down through generations, with the mother often gifting the ring to her daughter, and so on.
There are several occasions on which you shouldn’t wear your engagement ring, or you’ll run the risk of damaging it. For example, if you’re working with your hands, or if you’re cleaning, the malleable gold can be dented, or the diamond could eventually become tarnished.
While a diamond is extremely resistant to scratches, it can be chipped or dislodged entirely, so take the ring off before you work with your hands. If you’re going to the gym, cooking, or playing sports, you should follow basic advice, and remove the engagement ring.
Ultimately, times have changed, and while the superstitions of days gone by suggested that removing an engagement ring was bad luck, it isn’t much believed today. If you need to remove your engagement ring to protect it, then you should do so by all means.
If someone has spent thousands of dollars on an engagement ring, they’ll appreciate the constant care and consideration. And after all, taking off an engagement ring to keep it safe isn’t a reflection of your relationship.