Why is the Wedding Ring Finger the One it Is?

Posted February 09 2017

Why is the Wedding Ring Finger the One it Is?

Why is the Wedding Ring Finger the One it Is?

Ever wonder why the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand? Look no further - you'll find your answer here.


Have you ever wondered why the wedding ring finger has stood the test of time to prove one's love to a partner?

Why doesn't the pinky get the same love?

Why aren't beautiful wedding rings lovingly placed on index fingers instead?

Many cultures throughout history have unanimously embraced the wedding ring finger as the centerpiece to place a band on.

But where did it all begin?

Who started the fad?

Read on and take a little trip into history to discover the source of this traditional symbol of marriage.

Lovers in Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians, as early as 3,000 B.C., are said to have started using wedding rings as a symbol of marital unity.

To the Egyptians, a wedding ring was evidence of a husband's ownership of his wife. More than that, a wedding ring showed that a husband trusted his wife to care for the household.

At first, rings were made of braided reeds. The reed material, however, didn't last. So, a more enduring material was needed. 

Leather, bone, and ivory would eventually become the hallmarks of Egyptian marital vows.

The Golden Standard

Over time, the quality of the ring would come to reflect the quality of the giver's love, and would eventually become the ultimate expression of it.

Durable, golden rings, then, eclipsed all ring types for the betrothed Egyptian, similar to the rings today.

You may still be wondering, why did the Egyptians place a band on the fourth finger?

Keep reading ...

The Romans, the Greeks, and the Wedding Ring Finger

Historians generally believe that it was the Egyptians who passed down to later cultures the idea that there was a vein that ran from the fourth finger to the heart.

The Roman-Greco world would later coin the term "Vena amoris,' or the "vein of love."

As the Romans and Greeks believed, a lover symbolically connected to their partner's heart by placing a band on the wedding ring finger, which was responsible for the literal vein connection to the heart.

Science, of course, has long settled this myth, as all fingers have various veins that run to the heart. 

The Chinese may have had the best explanation of all

The Chinese believed that each finger represented each member of one's family.

According to the Chinese, the thumb represented the parents. The index finger ... the siblings.

The middle finger represented you.

The pinky represented your children. A band on the wedding ring finger represented your life partner. 

The wedding ring finger experiment

The Chinese wonderfully demonstrated why the fourth finger symbolized eternal unity between married partners.

By clasping one's hands together and bending the middle knuckle inward, a person would find it impossible to pull the ring finger back from the other.

Given this evidence, the Chinese understood that marriage was inseparable.

Try it yourself!

  • Clasp your hands together, palm touching palm
  • Bend your middle fingers (not the ring finger) inward so that the outer surface of your "mid-knuckles" touches.
  • Now, pull back your pinkies.
  • Then, pull back your index fingers.
  • Now, pull back your thumbs.
  • Finally, try pulling back your wedding ring finger.


What's the matter there?

Come on, try harder!

They're locked in like two magnets, right?

According to the Chinese, this phenomenon proves the reasoning behind placing a band on the fourth finger.


In conclusion

Placing a band on the fourth finger has long been accepted as the consummate love expression between married couples.

The Romans may have started it all, with husbands claiming their wives through the use of braided reeds, which over time became more durable with the use of materials like ivory and leather.

The Romans and Greeks endorsed the idea that because a vein ran from the ring finger to the heart, it was only natural to place a band on this finger to express one's love to one's partner. 

The Chinese believed each finger represented a different family member, and may have even had the evidence to prove it!

What do you think?

Were the Chinese on to something?

Leave your comments below!