The Fascinating History of Why Wedding Rings are Worn on the Left Hand

by Lauren Robinson – Writer & Editor

Why Wedding Rings Are Worn On Left Hand

Today, wedding rings are almost universally worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. This wasn’t always the case though. In fact, for centuries it was more common to see wedding bands worn on the right hand. This practice even extended to people who were left-handed! Wedding ring history is a murky and fascinating subject; although there are many theories as to why they’re worn where they are today, no one knows for sure why it changed so much over time. Perhaps we will never know why – but that just adds to the appeal of this topic!

Who Decides Which Finger the Ring Goes On?

The person who is getting married normally decides which finger the ring will go on, regardless of the tradition. This is because they want to wear the ring on the finger they feel most comfortable wearing it on. It is not uncommon for the bride and groom to wear their wedding ring on a different finger than what tradition dictates; this is perfectly fine, as long as they’re both comfortable with it. The only thing that really matters is that the couple decides what to do together. That said, there are a few reasons why people might want to wear their ring on a different finger than what is traditional. For instance, some people wear their wedding ring on their thumb instead of their ring finger to make it easier to take off. This can make things like playing an instrument or playing sports much easier.

The Ancient History of Wedding Rings

Wedding rings have been around for thousands of years, with the earliest examples dating back to the Bronze Age. They were primarily used as a symbol of tribal affiliation, as well as a way to show ownership. There are many different ways that rings have been used to represent marriage throughout history. For example, Roman and Celtic tribes would intertwine their fingers as a sign of their engagement. In the Roman Empire, couples would exchange woven bands made of flowers. Rings have been used for hundreds of years as a symbol of betrothal, or an agreement to get married. They were also used to show ownership and to signify that a person was taken. The earliest rings were made of things like wood and bark, and were not meant to be worn on any specific finger. As time went on, rings were made out of metals like gold and were worn on the left hand.

Why did it change from the right hand to the left?

This is a question that has been asked for centuries; and while there are many theories, no one knows for sure. While there aren’t many records from the Middle Ages, it’s believed that the left-hand ring wearing tradition began in about the 14th century. Rings were often worn on the right hand during Roman times, and it’s thought that wedding rings were worn on the left hand because people wore their rings on the hand that didn’t do manual labor. For example, a right-handed architect or artist who wore their wedding band on the right hand would likely smudge their work as they went about their day. So it only makes sense that they would want to wear it on the left instead.

Which finger should have the ring?

There are a few different theories as to why wedding rings are worn on the left hand, but the most common ones are that it’s easier to take off and that it’s located on a place where blood vessels aren’t near the surface. The first theory is that it is easier to take off because it is on the opposite hand of the engagement ring. The second is that it is on a place where blood vessels aren’t near the surface to avoid cutting yourself when taking off the ring. While it’s still common for people to wear their rings on the left hand, many individuals choose to wear their ring on their right hand. This is more common among people who do manual labor, such as a construction worker or carpenter.

Anthropological Theories for Left Hand Wearing of Rings

The most popular idea behind the left hand wearing of rings is that it is symbolic of the heart – which is on the left side of the body. That said, there are numerous other theories as well.The “Bending the Fibula” Theory: In this theory, it’s believed that the wearing of wedding rings on the left hand dates back to Roman times. During this time, it was customary for the groom to break the fibula of the bride – a bone in the heel of the foot. The groom would then take the broken bone and bend it into a ring shape to symbolize that he now owns her. After their wedding, the groom would give this bent fibula back to his bride as a wedding ring. The “Bloodline” Theory: This theory suggests that the tradition of wearing wedding rings on the left hand dates back to medieval times. During this period, it was common for nobles to marry their cousins. The reasoning behind this was that the nobles would want to keep their bloodline pure, so they would marry someone who was related to them. To signify that they were now married, the groom would wear a ring on the ring finger of his left hand.

Cultural Explanations for Left Hand Wearing of Rings

The following explanations don’t necessarily have any connection to the anatomical theories listed above, but they are interesting nonetheless! The “Left Hand is the Heart Hand” Theory: In this theory, it’s believed that the wearing of wedding rings on the left hand dates back to ancient Rome, where people believed that the left hand was where the heart was located. The ring finger is closest to the heart, and many people believe that wearing a ring there makes it easier for it to have negative effects on the heart, whereas on the right hand it would have no effect. The “Pinky Ring” Theory: During the Victorian era, it was common for people to wear a ring on their left ring finger. However, women who wore engagement and wedding rings on their left hand would often also wear a small ring on their pinky finger. Eventually, this small pinky ring became more popular than the larger left ring finger ring, and it became a symbol of engagement and marriage.


While there are many theories as to why wedding rings are worn on the left hand, no one knows for sure. The only thing that really matters is that the couple decides what to do together. And while there are many explanations as to where they should be worn, it’s up to the bride and groom to decide where they want their rings to be worn.

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