Today's Bride

Engagement Ring Traditions Around the World


Have you ever thought about the origin of what we know today as engagement rings? Countries from all over follow heritage traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. As we talk about engagement ring tradition from around the world, try to think about if you’d ever like to incorporate them into your own engagement experience!

Engagement rings are believed to have originated in ancient Egypt, where circles were believed to be a symbol of eternity. Ancient Egyptian soon-to-be wedded couples would exchange “rings” made out of braided reeds. They would wear these reeds on the left hand. The left hand is said to have a vein called “vena amoris” that runs directly to the heart. As folklore and tradition goes, the heart represents love and fidelity, so the ring should be worn on the finger that has the vein running directly to it.

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Klodt Photography

Engagement ring traditions as we know them today in western culture, mimic this ancient Egyptian tradition. Women receive a ring from the man to show engagement, and men usually do not receive an engagement ring. However, in other parts of the world, things are done a little differently to show engagement. Here are some other countries and their engagement ring and jewelry traditions.

Western Europe

These countries wear their engagement rings on their right hands, instead of their left. This may also be seen in England, France, Germany, and Norway.  Many of these traditions get passed down from generation to generation, but the meanings of the rings symbolize the same ideas no matter what finger the ring is worn on: love and fidelity.


In Chile, both the men and women receive engagement rings, which we do not see in the United States. They also wear their engagement rings on the right hand, but then move them to the left hand when they get married. This represents the crossover from engagement to marriage. This tradition is very much like a graduate moving their tassel on their cap from the right to the left once they have received their diplomas.

engagement rings | As seen on


In the Western world, we normally wear diamonds on our engagement rings, however in France they wear other gemstones like rubies, emeralds, and sapphire! Kate Middleton has definitely started a trend in the U.S. with her sapphire ring, and more people are straying away from the diamond. You can learn more about alternatives to the traditional diamond engagement ring here!


Couples in Kenya exchange elaborate jewelry for their engagement instead of rings and gemstones. Decorative beading has been a part of African cultures for a long time. Each African group, region, and religion play a large role in the colors and types of adornment. Even the climate of the region plays a role in the materials that are used to make the jewelry.

engagement rings | As seen on

Hindu cultures

In some Hindu cultures, the women wear toe rings to signify engagement rather than finger rings. The toe rings are called “Bichiya.” However, in some Hindu cultures, women wear western-style engagement rings. Although the reasons for wearing toe rings vary, one belief is that toe rings press on nerves that are connected to the reproductive system that keeps it healthy.

Indian Cultures

In West Bengal, India and other Indian cultures, the women wear bangle bracelets made of glass, gold, iron, or other metals instead of engagement rings. The bangles symbolize good fortune and prosperity, both important to marriage in Indian culture. Indian women are also adorned in a lot of other jewelry on their wedding day like gold necklaces, rings, nose rings, belts, and headdresses! To learn more about Indian weddings, check out this blog post!

engagement rings | As seen on

Irish Claddagh ring

The Irish Claddagh ring is one that represents friendship, love, and loyalty. The hands on the ring stand for friendship, the heart stands for love, and the crown symbolizes loyalty. When wearing a Claddagh ring, there are steps to take that let others know your relationship status. You wear the ring on the right hand with the crown facing you to show you are single. Wear the ring on the right hand with the crown facing outward if you are in a relationship. Move the ring to the left hand with the crown facing you to indicate engagement. Wear it on the left hand with the crown facing away from you to indicate marriage.

How cool would it be to learn about your heritage and use these traditions for your own engagement experience? Cultural weddings are definitely in and ring traditions would make for a fabulous memory down the road!

For more ring ideas, check out our Pinterest Board.

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Hello! My name is Alexandra, and I am a senior in high school. I have to write a report on Marriage in medieval Western Europe vs. Marriage in Western Europe today in my English class. I discuss engagement rings in one section of my research paper, so I would like to know the first and last name of the person who wrote this article so that I may cite it as one of my quotes and references in my paper. Please let me know soon, as this paper is due next week. Thanks!

Taylor Jarvis says:

Hi Alexandra,
Sorry for the late response! If you use our website for research in the future, you can cite us simply as Today’s Bride. Please contact if you have any other content-related questions.

John Mike says:

Very useful information!!

Engagement rings are something we find in almost every culture around the world and each culture has its own tradition. And they are described in your post beautifully!

Extraordinary variety of jewellery collection. Keep launching more like this

London Jewellers says:

Great article! Thanks for sharing this informative article. I love to read jewellery articles and I really enjoyed reading this article and found very helpful. Thanks a lot for sharing and please keep sharing.

Lily Taylor says:

this article is well detailed!

PaulF says:

I like the article cause it’s simple yet very informative. I didn’t know that even engagement ring traditions, differ from one culture to another. I would recommend this to my friends. I’ve also bumped into this article on interesting traditions and cultures around the globe which can be helpful maybe for your next trip:

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