Tag Archives: wedding rings

Ring Fingers: Who’s Right…What’s Left?

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In America, when we want to perform a perfunctory assessment of whether someone is married or not, we scope out the fourth finger on their left hand and check if there’s a ring situated there.  In essence, we are investigating if someone did indeed like it, and if they put a ring on it.  However, this tried and true method for seeing if you have a shot (romantically) with a particular individual may not play out so seamlessly in some other corners of the globe.  Why?  Because in some countries and cultures, the wedding/engagement ring is worn on the …wait for it… right finger.

Before delving into this , you may want to edify yourself on the general history of wedding rings, so you fully understand how far back and complicated the whole international betrothal ring routine is.

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Ok, let’s start with the basics.  In many Western cultures, the ring is worn on the left hand because (according to legend) there is an artery that runs the course of your left arm and channels right into your heart.  Hence, once the ring is placed on that prized left digit, an unbreakable, eternal bond is forged between your heart and the person who placed the ring on that spiritually connective finger.  It’s quite the cute explanation.  So why doesn’t every country adopt this adorable practice?  Well, if we can take a break from unbridled nationalism for a moment, we can see that there are several important factors at play in other global territories.  Up until fairly recently, all Indian women wore their wedding rings on the right hand for one immutable reason; the left hand is viewed as “unclean.”  The right hand is used for fun and positive things, such as eating and squeezing a baby’s cheek; the left hand is used for cleansing oneself after using the restroom… So not the best location for an esteemed and symbolic piece of jewelry.  Another group that adheres to the right-ring-hand principle (for a somewhat similar reason) is the Greek Orthodox clan.  They keep with Roman rituals in many respects, and the relevant one here is that the left hand is considered to be evil or “sinister.”  In the Latin tongue, ‘sinis’ means left, and ‘dexter’ means right.  Ergo, the left hand and left-handed people were thought to be not so great; therefore there was no way anybody was putting a lovely ring on that dastardly hand.

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Other lands that go along with the right hand wedding band motif are some of the Nordic ones, including Denmark and Norway.  Perhaps they are just chilly there and prefer to keep their left hands in their pockets a lot, while the right one conducts all necessary functions of life (just a theory).  Moving a few kilometers east, the nations of Bulgaria, Poland and mother Russia still contain entire populations with right-hand-ring bearing peoples.  The actual explanation here is rooted in religion.  There are a few biblical references to The Lord telling people to put rings on their right hands – and eat yummy fatted calves, rejoice, etc., etc.  It appears the devout people of these places aren’t about to break this tradition anytime soon.

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Finally, there are some wedding ring idiosyncracies that utilize a custom known as the ‘ole switcharoo.’  In sultry Brazil, both males and females wear engagement rings on their right hands.  Once they exchange vows – bam – they switch them over to the left.  In the opposite hemisphere, the Netherlands and Germany do the reverse; start with the left, switch to the right (keeping in accordance with the ‘cold left hand theory’…)  People of the Jewish faith perform a nifty switch too; the wedding ring is first placed on the index, or pointer finger,  because it is the most important.  Decorum has the wearer shift the ring over to the fourth finger, after the glass has been smashed and everyone has cheered ‘Mazal!’

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While some people are strictly traditional, rigidly adhering to past customs, there will always be a rebellious sect, carving out a unique niche for themselves.  As cultures continue to mix and mash, time will tell what wedding ring habits will stay the course and which ones will fall by the wayside.  As we collectively revel in the past and explore new and exciting options, only one thing is truly for certain; your grandma wants you to settle down and stick a ring on one of those fingers, darnit.

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-Joe Leone 

Famous Men’s Wedding Bands

Men don’t get much play when it comes to wedding rings in the media, but several style icons are worthy of mention for the expression of themselves and their marriages they wear on their left hands. Here’s a look at some inspiring male celebrity nuptial styles.

David Beckham

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Since Posh Spice’s 13 wedding rings get so much attention, it seems that Beckham’s flair for changing his own gets brushed under the rug. One of his most incredible rings is blazed with four rows of diamonds, and a simpler favorite of his is a simple platinum wedding band. When the Beckhams tied the knot in 1999, David wore a not-so-simple platinum piece that boasted square-cut diamonds. Maybe he gets a new one for himself each time he gets one for Victoria!

Chris Pratt

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Humorous duo Chris Pratt and Anna Faris have been married since 2009, and Pratt is a simple guy too. He wears the same plain gold wedding band he’s been wearing since before he became the adorably normal yet extraordinary Lego hero and an intergalactic thief-turned-superhero. While they’re not superheroes on the big screen, several pop music superheroes wear simple gold wedding bands too, including Justine Timberlake, who went for a thin design, and Kanye West, who got a thick and surprisingly simple band. When Jay-Z and Beyonce renewed their vows a few years ago, HOVA got a simple gold band too.

Johnny Depp

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Not known for following the rules of tradition, Johnny Depp surprised fans and Hollywood aficionados by wearing a delicate women’s ring on his ring finger—but it wasn’t just any girly ring. The ring belonged to his fiancé, Amber Heard. The media wasted no time speculating about its meaning, even though Depp himself said the meaning of it was obvious. The couple were wed in a small ceremony on an island in February 2015.

President Barack Obama

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The Commander-in-Chief’s wedding band became the subject of debate after an article in a right-wing newspaper pointed out that he wore it before his wedding and that it was from Indonesia. The newspaper essentially said the ring indicated he was a “closet Muslim” because they alleged it had an inscription on it, while many other sources simply marveled at its intricate design. The accusation seems to have been deemed ludacris, now having its own page under the “Urban Legend” category on about.com. The ring itself is a gold band with elegantly etched wavy patterns—not inscriptions—around its entirety that was made in an Indonesian town where he lived for three years while he was a boy.

Prince William

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In what Americans thought was a rebellious move, Prince William is going against tradition and joining the ranks of the Duke of Edinburgh, who shirked the wedding band idea altogether. While many people seemed slightly outraged by his choice, spokespeople for the British royals simply explained that it was simply because His Highness “isn’t one for jewelry.”

Jeremy Renner

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Hawkeye of Avengers: Age of Ultron had his eye on privacy when he married Sonni Pachecho last year in a marriage that sadly dissolved pretty quickly. Even though his marriage didn’t last, his style did, with Renner’s thick tungsten band fitting in with a very popular style for modern men.

It seems the market for men’s unusual and original wedding bands is picking up due to closer media attention to the cost of marriage and more advice on how to save big bucks on items that used to be deemed necessary. Necessity has borne originality as well, making room for more sparkle in men’s jewelry. If you have a diamond to sell, you can capitalize on the growing market for prettier men’s jewelry with Diamond Lighthouse.

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The Evolution of the American Wedding

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The romantic and whimsical tradition of the typical American wedding is embedded in the serious and very un-romantic world of finance, and many specific parts of the ceremony symbolize or mimic portions of that financial process. Let’s start with the word “wedding” itself, which comes from wedd, which literally means the purchase of a bride. “Purchase,” in this context, means exactly what it means in every other context: to buy, then own to do with it what you will, a particular piece of property. The property, in this case, was a person bought from another person for the express purpose of “sexual release, procreation, and household labor.”

We’ve moved on from that strange and creepy way of thinking, and the notion of a man owning a woman is clearly taboo in the United States at this point. In addition to altering those tired mindsets, American wedding traditions have helped enable the bride by feminizing the wedding ceremony itself, putting the women in charge of the flowery, lacey, satiny aesthetic.

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However, it took a long time for weddings to evolve to what they are today. Before the early 1800s, weddings were vastly more subdued affairs. An article in The Examiner explained that before there was a large middle class, many Americans couldn’t afford a lavish ceremony. Instead, to celebrate the union of a couple, they had intimate parties at their houses with their families, a far cry from the debt-inducing ceremonies and receptions we see today. Generally, the parties were held in the parents’ house and were held within the family’s means. To make the marriage more public, a Sunday church service was held in order to recognize them in holy matrimony.

In addition to having less extravagant ceremonies, brides wore less extravagant dresses. Many women simply wore their best dress, or bought a new dress for the occasion that was still wearable on a daily basis. Most women wore darker colors and floral patterns, partially in the name of practicality. Darker colors and floral patterns were not nearly as difficult to clean as white and ivory dresses, but they were also generally considered more stylish (Patches from the Past). The bridal veil, which was first used to hide the bride until the knot was tied should the groom not like the looks of his new wife, was added to wedding bonnets, which were often the only piece of bridal garb a bride could afford, so she wore it with a dark-colored dress.

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The bride’s emblematic white dress was popularized by Queen Victoria of Great Britain (and now has its own Wikipedia page), who chose a white satin gown for her big day. Ingenuity in an effort to mimic the stylish royalty made it possible for even middle class women to wear a white dress, and the style took off like wildfire.

After the Industrial Revolution, many Americans began to enjoy more luxuries as part of a burgeoning middle class, and the wedding ceremony was one of the main parts of life to get an upgrade. In the 1920s, just 80 years after Queen Victoria’s wedding, professional wedding planners came on the scene. By the 1950s, according to Random History, weddings were becoming uniform across the nation and brides began to rebel against those ideas. Some brides chose not to get married in churches, while others asked the whole bridal party to take a trip, giving rise to the concept of the destination wedding in the 1970s.

By the 1980s, British Royal family nuptials set a trend once again. Princess Diana and Prince Charles’s patently traditional wedding (which also has its own Wikipedia page) brought the cookie cutter marriage ceremony back into style, adding a few bucks to the average expenditure in order to mimic Di’s dream day, bringing the average cost of a wedding today up to $25,200.

The current wedding climate in the United States seems to be changing again, many wedding planners have reported. The coming of age of the kids who grew up on Harry Potter books (the first book came out in 1997, meaning the kids who were 11, Harry’s age, at the time are now nearing 30) has brought on many Harry Potter themed weddings, and the widespread embracement of nerddom has made the prospect of a high fantasy themed wedding more attractive than ever.

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One tradition that is just as prevalent as ever is the exchange of (diamond) wedding rings.  Typically the diamond wedding ring that the bride receives has a variety of smaller diamonds around the band, as opposed to the diamond engagement ring, which usually features one large diamond.  Of course, now more than ever, there are many, many variations to these ring styles that people have been exploring.  If you are in possession of a diamond ring of any sort and are looking to sell it, please check out Diamond Lighthouse.  Getting people the most money for their diamond jewelry is a tradition that we have started that is sure to last for a very long time.

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