How Do Different Cultures View Engagement Rings?


Whilst the idea of marriage, and the promise that two people will spend the rest of their lives together, is a popular dynamic across the world, the way in which this is expressed differs from culture to culture.

Many different areas of the globe will have their own meaningful traditions surrounding marriage, some using symbolic engagement and wedding rings to declare their love and commitment, whilst many use other types of jewellery to signify this lifelong partnership.

So, how exactly do other cultures view the engagement ring, and the practices surrounding getting married? Here are just a few different regions that celebrate love in their own unique ways.


The Western World

One of the traditions you might be more familiar with in the Western world is the classic diamond engagement ring, worn on the ring finger of the left hand. This is a popular tradition throughout such countries as the UK, the US, France and Canada, originating from an ancient Roman belief that the left ring finger had a vein that led directly to the heart (otherwise known as the “vein amoris” or the “vein of love”).

It is for this reason that the wedding band is also worn on the exact same finger, typically placed on both partners’ left hand during the wedding ceremony.

Diamond Halo Rings
The western culture has a traditional diamond ring, worn on the ring finger of the left hand



In Ireland, there is a unique ring that has multiple different meanings, being used not only as an engagement or wedding ring, but also as a symbol of friendship. This ring is called the Claddagh ring, and can be worn on whatever hand preferred.

The Claddagh ring is designed to look like hands clasped around a heart with a crown on top, symbolising love, loyalty and friendship. If used as a symbol of marriage, the way the ring faces should be different depending on whether you are engaged or married.

The Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring representing love, loyalty and friendship



Nordic Regions

In Nordic regions of the world, such as Iceland, Finland, Norway and Denmark, it’s tradition for both partners to wear an engagement ring rather than just one. This ring is usually a simple, yet elegant gold/silver band.



Instead of an engagement ring for the hand, the Hindu tradition dictates that women are to be given a bichiya (a toe ring) to symbolise the promise of marriage. Additionally, many in West Bengal are given iron bangle bracelets plated gold and silver to signify the engagement.

Similar to the more Westernised engagement ring, these items of jewellery are lavished with beautiful decorations. With the idea of the Western engagement ring being popular around the globe, many subscribing to the Hindu tradition of the bichiya will also propose with a more Westernised engagement ring for the wedding ring finger too.

It is customary for Indian cultures to have a toe ring at the ceremony



In Chile, as is the same in Nordic regions of the world, engagement rings are received and worn by both partners. These rings are worn on the right hand, however, are switched over to the left hand once married.

The movement of the rings from the right to the left hand symbolises the change in status from an engaged to a married couple.


Native America

Whilst the more Westernised American tradition is to propose with a diamond ring, the style of the engagement ring differs slightly with Native American culture. The tradition for native tribes is instead to propose with a silver ring adorned with beautiful semi-precious stones and more, creating a beautiful, and often colourful design to this symbolic item.



What Type of Engagement Ring Should I Get?

Whilst there are a range of different cultures all with their own established traditions surrounding engagement and marriage, it’s really up to you how you celebrate your love.

As explored throughout this article, there are a whole host of different ways to symbolise your commitment and promise of love to your partner, meaning there’s no wrong or right way of doing this.




Any symbol of marriage should be as unique and special as your relationship. For those wanting something tailored to their partner, you might want to consider investing in a bespoke piece, adding even more of a personal touch to the proposal.

We specialise in Hatton Garden engagement rings, building on 40 years of experience in the Hatton Garden diamond trade, we can find you the perfect ring for your loved one or help you build one completely bespoke and tailored to your individual tastes.

To speak to one of our friendly advisors today, simply email as at harmony@hattongardendiamond.com or call us today on 020 7404 9202.