Engagement Rings vs. Wedding Bands

Starting from the proposal all the way to the “I do,” the rings are essential to any engagement. However, picking out the right ring can be a daunting task because most people do not know the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding band. As soon as you know the basics, your ring shopping experience can be simplified instantly!

Engagement Rings

During the proposal, an engagement ring is given. The proposal is usually a surprise for the woman, and therefore, traditionally, only the woman wears an engagement ring as a symbol that she is off the market and awaiting an upcoming marriage. These engagement rings typically have a silver or gold band with a diamond or gemstone in the center. Years ago, the engagement ring used to be a way for the man to show off his wealth, but nowadays, that tradition is outdated, and the ring is simply seen as a beautiful reminder of the wedding that is to come. Women may choose to wear only the engagement ring after marriage, as it is usually more extravagant than the wedding ring. For same sex marriages, it is likely to see both men or both women wearing engagement rings. For diamond engagement rings, popular cuts tend to be the round brilliant cut, the princess cut, the emerald cut, and the oval cut.

Wedding Rings

Wedding rings are given during the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom exchange these typically diamond-less bands as a symbol of their marriage. Usually, the groom wears his wedding ring, while the bride may wear both her wedding ring and her engagement ring. Traditionally, the wedding ring is worn under the engagement ring in order to be closer to the heart.

Difference Between Engagement Rings & Wedding Bands

Throughout the years, wedding ring and wedding band have become practically synonymous. However, these rings have slightly different characteristics. A wedding ring is a band paved with diamonds or gemstones, while a wedding band is made up of a plain, simple band. The main difference between the two is preference. There are options of his and hers wedding bands in order to keep the rings simple during the ceremony, but there are many other options when it comes to picking out the wedding ring. On the one hand, the groom may choose a simpler wedding band to complement the bride’s expensive and extravagant engagement ring, but on the other hand, the groom may choose a more lavish wedding ring if the engagement ring is less flashy.

Engagement & Wedding Jewelry Traditions

The tradition of rings has existed for thousands of years. Many believe the Egyptians were the first to craft the idea of a ring symbolizing eternity and “immortal love”, but it was not until Roman times that wearing a ring became common. Although the rings used the likes of sapphires and rubies, the diamond remained the most sought after stone. The diamond, the hardest stone on Earth, symbolized invincibility, thereby symbolizing an eternal marriage through its indestructibility. However, an eternal marriage was not the only enticing feature of the diamond. The stone was thought to provide a shield against misfortune and a way to ward off evil spirits. Today, diamonds remain the most popular choice in ring style, but many women opt for a more colorful choice. Jessica Simpson, for example, sports a red ruby, Halle Berry wears her emerald ring, and Penelope Cruz shows off her blue sapphire.

Where the ring is worn can also be traced back to the Romans. They believed that the “vein of love” ran from the heart to the fourth finger on the left hand, making this finger an obvious choice for ring placement. Although everyone would love to believe this romantic idea, it is just simply untrue. Despite the falsity of the Romans’ thinking, the tradition of the left hand still continues in the United States today.

As time progressed, diamond engagement rings became the most desirable way to represent one’s love, shown by Archduke Maximilian of Austria in his presentation of a diamond engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy. This exchange of rings sparked an interest within other wealthy people to also give diamond engagement rings to their brides-to-be. Although both the bride and the groom have both been wearing rings in Eastern cultures since the 1300’s, the tradition did not catch on in America until World War II. Soldiers abroad insisted on wearing rings when they were separated from their wives, in fear that they would never see their wives again.

Traditionally, the presentation of the ring was a way to represent ownership of a lady after a groom sought out her father’s blessing. However, that connotation has since subsided, and the rings now represent an equal desire of marriage for both the bride and the groom.

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