When you think of engagement rings, maybe you imagine sparkly affairs with lots of diamonds.
Or perhaps you think of something more subdued. What often dictates how you imagine an engagement or wedding ring to be is the region from where you originate, as different countries around the world will have very different ways of expressing their love through jewelry.
What is a traditional engagement ring?
This type of ring is known in many western countries as having a classic design, such as with the use of a solitaire diamond, but there are different traditional rings in different parts of the world.
It’s time to broaden our horizons and explore the many different types of wedding rings and engagement rings that exist (or have existed) in different countries. So, with that in mind, let’s start our list of countries with unusual ring styles and traditions.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the unusual rings, we got you covered:
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Engagement And Wedding Ring Traditions Across The Globe
In Argentina, when someone proposes to their partner, both partners get engagement rings instead of just the women. The type of ring that’s exchanged between partners usually consists of a simple silver ring instead of anything too lavish or sparkly.
Later, when they get married, both partners will get to wear a gold band on their fingers. In this country, you usually won’t find that brides-to-be wear diamond engagement rings.
In Israel, traditional rings used to be quite the affair. Engagement rings would often contain lots of complicated and beautiful details on them, such as being designed in the shape of a synagogue!
While they were eye-catching, they weren’t practical enough to wear on a daily basis, so the trends changed. Currently, when women in the country get married, they opt for modern ring designs.
It’s not uncommon for brides to wear rings that have solitaire diamonds. Some engaged women also choose a silicone ring engraved inside with their partner’s initials.
In Russia, it’s not traditional for engagement rings to be given to one’s partner. Instead, when a couple gets engaged, they will go buy their rings together and exchange them on their big day. That’s a great way to avoid buying the wrong ring!
The style of ring is usually just a simple gold band without any gemstones. Interestingly, rings are usually worn on the ring finger of the right hand. When a ring is worn on the ring finger of the left hand, it symbolizes that the person is divorced or widowed.
In Ireland, there’s the traditional claddagh ring. It’s quite complex, not really because of its design but because of how you have to wear it in different ways depending on your relationship status.
This ring symbolizes love, loyalty, and friendship. Its design consists of a heart in the middle, surrounded by two hands, and a crown on top of the heart. The hands represent friendship, the crown represents loyalty, and the heart is for love.
Now for the tricky part. When you wear this ring, you have to wear it on your right hand with the crown towards you to show people you’re single. If you’re in a relationship, the ring should be worn on the right hand, but the crown should be facing outwards.
If you’re engaged to someone, wear the ring on your left hand with the crown turned towards you. Finally, if you’re married, the ring should be worn on the left hand with the crown facing away from you.
It’s common for us to assume that bigger is always better when it comes to diamonds, especially when we speak about bridal jewelry. We regularly see engagement ring trends that are focused on sparkly diamonds, but this isn’t the case in France.
Colored gemstones are often chosen by brides-to-be instead of flashier diamonds. Interestingly, this trend has been seeping into countries such as the U.S., with many ring trends showing that colorful gemstones can be just as beautiful and popular as diamonds.
In France, if an engagement ring does contain a diamond in its design, it will be small, such as 0.3 carats or 0.4 carats.
Turkish wedding bands, otherwise known as puzzle rings, are sometimes worn to show loyalty to a partner who’s absent.
What’s so fascinating about these rings is that they contain many pieces – sometimes up to 24! – that fit together like a puzzle to create a solid ring. When the ring is taken off, the pieces come apart!
In various parts of India, women who are getting married will be given bracelets and bangles to wear instead of rings. It’s also traditional for engagement rings in India to take the form of toe rings called bichiya.
Women in India can choose to wear this toe jewelry when they get engaged as well as engagement rings on their fingers if they wish.
In Nigeria, the engagement ring finger is actually the third finger of the left hand. This is because it symbolizes that a woman who is engaged is different from a woman who’s married. When women get married, they move that ring onto their fourth finger.
But, interestingly, women are given three rings – the first one is given when a man proposes to a woman, the second is also an engagement ring, and the third is given to a woman on her wedding day. It’s common for many women to wear all three rings after they’re married.
In Kenya, brides-to-be are given rings but also a lot of beaded jewelry that’s filled with different designs and colors depending on the couple’s religion as well as the region in which they live.
For example, in the northern region of Kenya, Samburu warriors wear decorate beading around their necks and certain colors will signify that they’re engaged.
When it comes to engagement rings, there’s no hard and fast rule about where the engagement ring should be worn.
The traditional fourth finger on the left hand is sometimes given a miss in favor of wearing the ring on another finger. It’s really up to the couple to decide where the ring should be worn.
In Thailand, when men want to propose to their partners they have to have a “thong mun