Wedding Ring Finger Blog

The Ring Finger Through the Ages

Which finger is the ring finger? Which hand does the engagement ring and wedding band go on? At first glance these questions seem to have a very simple answer – wedding and engagement rings go on the fourth finger of the left hand. Easy right?!

Not so fast. Here in Canada as well as the US, Britain, France, Italy and many other countries, that is the traditional hand to wear your wedding rings, but this is by no means universal. The hand that you wear your engagement ring and wedding band on can be determined by culture, religion and geography. Let’s take a look at what has influenced current traditions.

The Vein of Love

Long before the engagement ring was the wedding ring, which has been traced back to Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians considered the circle to be a symbol of eternity, and the ring to symbolize eternal love. Various Roman sources claim that Ancient Egyptians wore their wedding rings on the fourth finger of their left hand, as they believed that finger has a vein that is directly connected to the heart. This vein is called the Vena Amoris (Vein of Love in Latin), and while it’s a lovely idea, it is not anatomically correct.

The Un-ROMAN-tics

The Romans continued the tradition of wearing their wedding rings on their left hand as they followed the Egyptian way. The Roman marriage was more of a business contract than a romance, with the ring signifying the transaction of the woman being passed from her father to her husband. This meant that the wedding ring was only worn by the woman and not the man. This pattern of only women wearing a ring continued for most of history, until around WWII when men also began to wear a ring.

The Right Side

As Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and beyond, the wedding ring began to be worn by those of the Christian faith. There is evidence that Catholics wore their wedding rings on the right hand during the early middle ages. This came from the belief that the right hand was spiritually more significant, as God blesses with his right hand and it is also used to make the sign of the cross. In 1054 AD the Greek Orthodox Church broke away from the Roman Catholic Church, and to this day Orthodox Christians still wear their engagement rings and wedding bands on their right hand. The influence of the Orthodox Church in Russia and most Eastern European countries means they also wear their rings on the right hand. Jewish wedding ceremonies began including rings in the middle ages and they also wore them on the right hand, however during the ceremony the ring was placed on the index finger where it was easier for witnesses to see.

The Left Side

In the 16th century the Protestant Reformation saw the Church of England break away from the Catholic Church. King Edward VI declared that the wedding ring must be worn on the left hand and the new church wrote a prayer book laying out the placement of the ring during the ceremony. The Protestant church chose the left hand because it wanted to distinguish itself from the Catholic practise of wearing the ring on the right hand. Since then the majority, but not all, of Western European countries have worn their rings on the left hand. England’s vast colonization spread this tradition to many parts of the globe.

Rules of Engagement

The concept of the engagement ring didn’t occur until 1215 AD when Pope Innocent III declared that there must be a waiting period between the engagement and the wedding to test the devotion of the couple to each other. However, it was only the nobility who were able to afford both an engagement ring and a wedding band. When wearing an engagement ring and wedding band on the same hand, the wedding band traditionally goes on first and the engagement ring second. This originally stemmed from an old superstition that once the wedding band was put on it must never be taken off. These days the wedding band is put on first so that it is closer to the heart.

Rings for All

While the Western part of the world has a long tradition with the wedding ring, many other parts of the world didn’t wear one at all. Traditionally, in Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism there was no ring included in the wedding ceremonies, although they had other symbols and/or jewellery they would wear. Today most cultures have added engagement and wedding rings to their rituals due to the influence of globalization. The hand these countries choose to wear their rings on often ties in to their traditional beliefs. In India they wear them on the right hand because that hand is considered auspicious and the left hand unclean. In China the woman wears her rings on her right hand and the man on his left, because the woman is the one who runs the household and the right hand exerts more influence.

And the Answer Is…

So to the question of which hand does your wedding ring go on, the answer is it depends on where in the world you live. As I live in Canada, everyone I know wears them on their left hand. But if I lived in Russia then they would most likely wear them on their right hand. Also, in most societies, both men and women wear a wedding ring, while engagement rings are still mainly worn by women. Despite these traditions, in today’s society there are no longer strict rules and if someone wants to wear their engagement ring or wedding ring on a different finger or hand, then they should do what feels right for them.

Photo credit: Jeremie Dupont

Engagement Ring Resizing

Engagement Ring Size and Resizing: What You Need to Know

You have found the one with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, and are getting ready to pop the question. You research diamonds and ring designs and choose an engagement ring that will be just perfect for them. But wait, there is one thing you don’t know – their ring size! Unlike a necklace or earrings, rings are one piece of jewelry where size really does matter. But don’t let the fact that you don’t know the correct ring size derail your engagement plans – we are here to give you all the information you need to know about assessing ring size and resizing a ring.

Ring Sizes

In Canada and the United States ring sizes follow a numerical scale which is based on the inner circumference of the ring. They come in full sizes, half sizes and quarter sizes. The average size of a lady’s ring is in and around a size 6, and the average size of a men’s ring is between size 8 and 10. However lots of people fall outside these numbers, with smaller or larger sizes needed.

Figuring Out the Engagement Ring Size

Many people try to figure out their partner’s ring size before they buy a ring, and there are a few ways you can attempt to do this.

Asking friends or family members can be a good way to find out. If you can covertly borrow a ring your partner wears and bring it to a jeweler, then they can measure the ring on a mandrel (a conical metal sizing tool) to find the correct size. However, the ring you borrow will need to be worn on the correct finger and be a similar width, or else the sizing will be off.

If you and your partner have talked about getting engaged, you can always stop by a jewelry store at the mall together and get their size “for in the future”.

Many online sites suggest wrapping a piece of paper or string around their finger while your partner sleeps, but this is not reliable enough to get an accurate reading.

If you do not know your partner’s actual ring size though it is not a problem for an experienced jeweler. At Kimberfire we help our customers estimate the ring size and then after the proposal we resize the ring to be the perfect fit, at no charge.

Professional Ring Sizing

After your best efforts to figure out the ring size, the perfect ring may still not be the perfect fit. Don’t sweat the small stuff (or the too big stuff) because your jeweler is here to help. When you come to get your engagement ring sized we will check the size of the current ring and then place various sized ring sizers on the finger. The ring sizers come in full and half sizes, but the ring can be sized between the two sizes as well.

There are some things that need to be taken into consideration when deciding what size is the right fit:

  • A wider ring will fit tighter than a thinner ring.
  • Temperature will affect your ring size, as fingers often swell in summer heat and shrink in cold weather.
  • Your finger can fluctuate in size through the day depending on temperature and water retention.
  • Adding another ring beside the ring (like a wedding band) will make the rings feel tighter as they cover more surface area.
  • A ring should slide easily over the knuckle when going on, and there should be some pull when you take it off.
  • Ring sizing is not an exact science as it really depends on the finger shape and how the person likes the ring to feel on their finger.

Something else to consider is that some people have knuckles which are much wider than the base of their finger, and this can cause the ring to spin around when worn (this is especially true for larger stones and top heavy rings). To counteract the spinning a jeweler can add sizing beads inside the ring, which makes the ring feel a bit tighter but still makes it possible to fit the ring over the knuckle.

How the Jeweler Resizes the Ring

There are two ways to resize a ring. The first is by placing the ring on a metal ring stretcher or compressor and using force to either stretch or compress the size. This method usually only works for plain wedding bands and cannot be used for rings with diamonds or gemstones, or those with intricate details.

The second method involves cutting the ring. To make a ring larger the ring is cut at the very bottom, and the two sides are moved further apart from each other. A new piece of metal (the same type of metal the ring is made of) is then added and soldered into place. The jeweler then polishes the ring so that the new area is undetectable. To make a ring smaller, the ring is cut at the base in two places and a piece of metal is removed. Then the two sides of the ring are brought together, soldered and polished. Don’t be alarmed at the thought of your ring being cut and set on fire – ring sizing is a routine process and a professional jeweler should be able to resize the ring without affecting its durability and without anyone being able to detect that the ring was altered in any way.

Potential Ring Resizing Issues

If you need to resize a ring more than two full sizes, you may run into problems depending on the ring’s design. Rings with intricate wire work or filigree will probably be too fragile for a large size change. Rings with gemstones set in them have to be resized very carefully so that the angles don’t change to the point that the stones are misaligned or fall out. In general, too great of a size adjustment can destroy the structural integrity of the ring and leave it misshapen or vulnerable to breakage.

If a ring has been resized more than a couple times it may run into issues such as thinning of the shank, and of the prongs if there are diamonds on the shank. If this happens the ring may need to be remade in the correct size.

Eternity rings with diamonds or gemstones encircling the entire ring cannot be sized. It is not recommended to buy this style of ring without knowing the correct ring size.

Men’s rings that are made in titanium, tungsten, ceramic or stainless steel may be extremely difficult or impossible to size and again are not recommended to buy without knowing the right size.

If your ring has an engraving on the inside or outside of the ring shank, it is very possible that it will be destroyed during sizing, and will have to be removed and completely redone.

A reputable jeweler should explain all these possible issues with you before any resizing is attempted.

The Perfect Fit

Once you have found the perfect size for your ring, it should be comfortable and secure. You shouldn’t worry about it falling off your finger or not being able to come off when you want it to. You can now wear your ring with confidence and show that beauty off to the world.

Engagement Ring Styles

Solitaire, Two-Stone and Three-Stone Engagement Rings

When you are setting out to find the perfect engagement ring, there are so many different styles and designs to choose from. How do you know where to start looking? Do you want something simple or embellished? Traditional or modern? Solitaire or multi-stone? If you aren’t quite sure what styles you like, a bit of jewelry education can help make the task a bit easier. Today we look at three styles of engagement rings which have been popular throughout history – solitaire, two-stone and three-stone diamond rings.

One of a Kind: One-Stone, Solitaire Engagement Rings

The most classic of all engagement ring styles is the diamond solitaire. The solitaire ring is a band of metal set with a single diamond. This style of ring can be traced back to Ancient Rome, and was usually a gold band set with one uncut diamond. Some of these Roman rings still exist today, owned by museums or collectors. Diamond cutting was invented in the Early Middle Ages, and primitive diamond cuts such as the point and table cut, were held in place by gold bezels. As diamond cutting and goldsmith techniques improved, the bezels were often made in silver or gold and backed with silver foil to show off the diamond’s colour and sparkle better. Some antique designs used prongs to hold the diamond in place, but they differed from the styles of today in that the diamond was sunk deep into the metal to secure it. In the early 1800’s setting diamonds ‘a jour’ became popular, which was a style where the back of the setting was pierced open to allow more light to enter the diamond. In 1886 Tiffany and Co. debuted their ‘Tiffany’ setting, which was a 6-prong solitaire setting that held the diamond high above the band. This setting was revolutionary as it showed off every angle of the diamond and enhanced the stone’s brilliance. The Tiffany setting is still one of the most popular diamond settings in the world today. Modern settings can have 4, 5, 6 or more prongs holding the diamond in place. Like the Tiffany setting, most of today’s solitaires have the diamond raised up above the band. The solitaire setting may seem a simple choice, but in fact there is a lot of variation to choose from, like metal colour, diamond shape, the number of prongs, the style of the band and the design of the setting itself. The solitaire ring is the perfect choice for someone who wants their diamond to be the center of attention. This elegant and classic design ensures that this type of ring will never be a passing trend and will maintain its appeal for generations to come.

It Takes Two: Two-Stone Engagement Rings

The second type of engagement ring we are going to look at is the two-stone diamond engagement ring. This style of ring has gained popularity lately with many jewelry stores promoting these designs. The two stones can represent two people joining together in love, or one stone for friendship and the other for love. While the two-stone ring seems to be a rather new concept, rings with two central elements trace back to Roman times when wedding bands featured two hands shaking, representing the marriage contract. In the Middle Ages, a popular style of marital ring was the gimmel ring, named after the Latin word for twin. The gimmel ring consisted of two interlocking hoops that, when connected, formed one single ring. Each gimmel ring would have a gemstone set in a bezel setting, and when the two rings joined together the stones sat side by side. In 1776 Napoleon Bonaparte proposed to Josephine de Beauharnais with a two-stone “Toi et Moi” ring (“you and me” in French). The ring featured a pear shaped blue sapphire and a pear shaped diamond set opposite each other. This ring become one of the most famous engagement rings in history and started the “Toi et Moi” trend. Victorian era rings often featured two pear shaped gems that were set beside each other to form a heart shape, usually topped with a crown or a bow. Rings from the Edwardian era and Art Deco periods featured two stones (usually diamonds) flanked by a curving band in a bypass setting. After the Art Deco style fell out of favour, two-stone rings weren’t commonly seen as engagement rings. But like all trends, what goes around comes around and the last few years have seen a rise in this style of ring again. The two-stone engagement ring is perfect for the person who is a romantic and likes to be a little bit different from the rest. It is also a great choice for someone who may not be able to afford one large diamond, but still wants something that looks significant on their finger.

Third Time’s a Charm: Three-Stone Engagement Rings

The three-stone ring is often called a trinity or trilogy ring and it first came into style during the Victorian times. This style of ring traditionally displayed three stones of the same shape and cut with the center stone being the largest, although they could all be the same size as well. The three stones are symbolic, although there are different opinions on what they represent. The most popular belief is that the three stones stand for past, present and future, with the “present” stone being the most important. This idea was heavily promoted by De Beers and lead to the three-stone diamond ring becoming a popular anniversary gift. Other meanings of the three stones have been “friendship, love and fidelity”, the words “I love You”, and “father, mother and child”. The last few decades have seen this style of ring become popular as an engagement ring. The three-stone ring is fantastic because it comes in a huge variety of designs. The style can look classic using three stones of the same cut, such as three round brilliants or three princess cut diamonds. Or it can look completely modern using different combinations of stones, such as an emerald cut diamond set with two trilliant cut stones, or an oval diamond being set with two pear cut stones. The options are literally endless, with variations in metal choices, graduated or non-graduated sized stones, setting styles, combinations of diamond cuts or adding coloured gems into the mix. The three-stone engagement ring is a great choice for someone who is sentimental and symbolic. The wide variety of options means the three-stone ring can appeal to both the traditional and the modern jewelry wearer.

Endless Possibilities

The types of engagement rings I have covered above only describe three options out of a limitless number of ring designs. There are, of course, the popular halo engagement rings, five-stone rings, eternity bands and the list goes on and on. If you are still trying to find the perfect engagement ring, a great place to look for inspiration is on Kimberfire’s Pinterest page where we have curated a fantastic collection of images.

Engagement Ring Maintenance

The Do’s and Don’ts of Engagement Ring Maintenance

You’re recently engaged and it was the most romantic moment of your entire life. You are thrilled to make a lifetime commitment to the one you love and are filled with joy. And let’s not forget your new engagement ring! It’s so beautiful and sparkly that you just can’t take your eyes off it. You can’t believe you are lucky enough to get to wear a diamond ring like this every day of your life. But then you begin to wonder, how am I supposed to take care of this ring? Am I allowed to wear it swimming? Can I work out with it on? All these questions are running through your mind. At Kimberfire we are engagement ring specialists and we want to help answer all your questions about keeping your ring in tip top shape!

DO get your engagement ring insured.

Your engagement ring was most likely a large purchase and one in which you would be very upset if it became damaged or lost. Insurance will give you peace of mind that if something happens to your ring you will be able to replace it with something just as beautiful. Some people can add their engagement ring on to their homeowner’s insurance, and if you go this route please make sure the insurance covers the ring even when it is outside of the house, as it is not always covered otherwise. Another option is to use an insurance agency such as Jewelers Mutual, which offers specialized insurance for jewelry.

DON’T take off your ring when you are out in public.

Taking off your ring and leaving it somewhere by accident is one of the easiest ways to lose your jewelry. Always keep it on your finger until you are back home, and then try to keep it in the same place every time you take it off.

DO clean your ring at home.

One of the most common questions we get from our clients is how to keep their ring clean in between professional cleanings. Well the answer is simple! Buy yourself a brand new, soft-bristle, baby’s toothbrush, and brush the ring in warm water with a little drop of dish detergent and then rinse it clean. This will remove the built up dirt and grime and keep your diamond sparkling.

DON’T wear your ring when cleaning the house.

While household cleaners work wonders on the house, the harsh chemicals in bleach, chlorine and acetone can erode the metals in your ring, while powder cleaners contain abrasives which will scratch the metal.

DO get your ring checked if you notice a diamond has become loose.

You may notice your diamond makes a small clicking sound when you tap the ring near your ear, or you may be able to spin the diamond with your finger. In either case it’s best to stop wearing the ring and take it to your jeweler to get it tightened. Stones can become loose due to prolonged wear over the years, or they can become loose by the metal accidentally being hit or dinged. Your jeweler should be able to get the stone tight and secure for continued wear.

DON’T wear your ring to the gym.

While some physical activities like aerobics will probably not hurt your ring, there are some exercises that most definitely will. A common cause of ring damage is weight lifting. The steel of the weights is harder than both platinum and gold and can make hammer like dents in the metal. Heavy weight lifting can also distort the shape of the ring so that it is more of an oval instead of round. When the metal becomes distorted it may cause the prongs on the diamonds to become loose and a stone may fall out. Golf and tennis are two other sports which can cause a great deal of damage to your ring.

DO have your ring professionally serviced once a year.

Your jeweler should clean and examine your ring once a year to make sure the diamonds are secure. Every few years you may want to get your ring re-polished if it is quite scratched up. Those who have white gold rings may want their ring re-plated with rhodium to get it back to its bright white colour.

DON’T wear your ring swimming.

An easy way to lose your ring is in the water when it is more slippery on your finger, and you may not notice while you are playing in the waves. Pools and hot tubs are no better as prolonged exposure to chlorine can cause damage and discolouration to white gold.

DO show off your ring proudly.

Your engagement ring is a symbol of love and commitment and you should share that with the world!

Hopefully these tips will help you keep your ring looking as beautiful as the day it was received, as we know it is something very precious and special to you. If you have any other questions about ring or diamond care please contact us at Kimberfire and we will be glad to help.

Push Presents

Push Presents: The Divisive Trend of Post-Birth Gifts

The arrival of a newborn is one of the happiest moments in a couple’s life, a miraculous event that brings the gift of life into the world. And while the gift of life is certainly the most important gift of all, another type of gift has been steadily gaining popularity – the push present. What is a push present you may ask? A push present is a gift that is given to a new mother from her partner, to celebrate her “pushing” of a new life into the world. While the sentiment behind the push present is one of love, the subject brings up a lot of controversy. Like breastfeeding, co-sleeping and crying it out, the push present is a hotly debated topic among moms.

The Case Against Push Presents

The biggest complaint against the push present is that it is commodifying the natural act of birth. Critics ask, “Shouldn’t the baby be reward enough?”. We live in a capitalistic and materialistic society and some people prefer that the act of giving birth be unaffected by all that. Another negative aspect is that it can put undue pressure upon the partner’s shoulders, in having to spend money on a gift at a time when finances might be extra tight.

The Case for Push Presents

The idea of giving a gift to a new mother is to show appreciation for what she has gone through, both mentally and physically. Pregnancy is an emotional time for a woman as they endure months of hormonal changes and physical discomfort, which culminates in labour and birth. While a healthy baby is the best gift in the world, it is thoughtful to give recognition to what the mother has experienced. It is given by the partner to show love and gratitude.

Push Present Ideas

Jewelry is a popular push present, made fashionable by extravagant celebrity gifts. Headlines were made when Jay Z gave Beyoncé a giant blue tanzanite ring to celebrate the birth of their daughter, and when Mark Anthony gifted Jennifer Lopez custom made canary yellow diamond earrings with a matching ring for the birth of their twins. While most people cannot afford such pricey gifts, jewelry is still a great option for a wide range of budgets. Diamond stud earrings or diamond eternity bands are very popular choices, as are pendants of the baby’s first initial, or a charm of their birthstone. There are no rules which say you must give jewelry, and gifts like a spa package or a new piece of technology can be just as meaningful.

What Moms think

While I am not a mother, being in my thirties I have a lot of close friends who are so I thought I would ask their thoughts on the subject. Out of six of them, two had been given a push present. One received a rose gold necklace to match her wedding band, and one received a new iPad. The ones who didn’t receive presents said they didn’t expect to get anything, and weren’t disappointed. However, everyone said they would have been very happy had they received one and couldn’t see why anyone would be upset by the idea. One friend said perhaps it was just the name “push present” that felt tacky, and not the gesture itself.

To Give or Not to Give

I think it all comes down to whether the partner wants to give a gift, and if they have the finances available to do so. If you want to give your new baby’s mother a gift to celebrate all that she has gone through, then you absolutely should. Just do it because you want to, and not because of outside pressure. The “push present” should not be expected or bragged about, it should be a sentimental symbol of a special moment in life. In the end a push present isn’t going to make the new baby anymore of a blessing, but it might be a bit of icing on the cake!

Have you ever given or received a push present? Would you want to? Let us know where you stand in the comments below!