Engagement Ring Traditions from Around the World

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Here in the UK, it’s easy to imagine that the whole diamond engagement ring worn on the left hand by the woman in mixed sex couples is a universal tradition for people getting engaged.  It isn’t though.  Engagement jewellery traditions in other cultures are vastly different.  Even in Europe we see things being done slightly differently from wearing the ring on the other hand to wearing completely different rings to the traditional diamond and gold ones.  Check out some of these interestingly different ways of doing things.

Both Wear a Ring

In Chile, they have a slight variation on our British tradition by both the engaged parties wearing a ring on their right hands which they then transfer to their left hands once they’re married.

Different Stones

A tradition which is particularly noticeable in France but is creeping in all over Europe and other countries, is the engagement ring with precious stones other than diamonds.  We are increasingly seeing engagement rings with diamonds plus rubies, sapphires or emeralds and even our very own Kate Middleton famously wears an engagement ring with a lovely big sapphire in the middle surrounded by twinkling diamonds.

Beautiful Beads

Rings and diamonds are nowhere in the engagement traditions of Kenya.  That would be far too plain for their vibrant colourful culture.  Instead, engaged couples exchange jewellery and adornments of all kinds, many with brightly coloured and patterned beads.

Hand to Foot

Because in some Hindu beliefs they believe there are pressure points in the foot that link to the reproductive system (think reflexology), some Hindu women wear their engagement ring on their toe rather than their finger.  These toe rings are called Bichiya.


More colourful cultures that like bright colours and assorted jewellery on these sorts of occasions are many Indian cultures.  Instead of a single wedding ring, they give brides to be a variety of different bangles made of various materials such as gold, iron, glass and other metals to symbolise good fortune and prosperity.  If you have ever seen an Indian wedding, you will know that on the day itself, the bride gets veritably covered from head to foot in jewellery with headdresses, necklaces, earrings, nose rings, more bangles, belts and toe rings.

A Ring for All Relationship Statuses

The Irish Claddagh ring is a ring for every occasion as you can wear it to symbolise being single, in a relationship, engaged or married.  It all depends on how and where you wear it.  These rings consist of two hands holding a heart with crown on top.  They stand for friendship, love and loyalty respectively.  Wear it on your right hand with the heart facing away from you to show ‘your heart is open’ (you’re single, in other words) or wear it with the heart facing you to show your heart is taken (you’re in a relationship).  If you wear it on your left hand with heart facing away from you to show you are engaged or with it towards you if you are married.  We aren’t sure what the left hand configurations say about your heart though!

Whether you want a traditional British type diamond engagement ring, one with a different stone or something completely different and unusual, we can help you.  Not only do we have access to all kinds of rings and jewellery, we can also make items to your exact specifications in our very own workshop.  We have a huge amount of experience in selling engagement rings so we’d be very happy to discuss any ideas you have or come up with some ideas for you if you’re stuck.  Just give us a call on 01273 239763 or email info@jamesrossjewellers.co.uk.

Engagement Ring Traditions from Around the World was last modified: September 11th, 2019 by Admin