Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What Is the Difference?

You’ve fallen in love — the “looking at an engagement ring vs. wedding ring” kind of love. Dreams of that moment have been filling your head since you realized he was the one.

Oh, that was just me?

If we are all being honest here, those rings are something we have all been drooling over for a long time. But, do you know what the differences are between an engagement ring vs. wedding ring? Is there even a difference?

Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What Are Engagement Rings?

You have probably spent your entire life thinking about getting engaged. When it comes to engagement rings, more than likely, you already know what you want down to the setting, metal type, even the cut of the diamond.

It is thought the first engagement ring was created for Archduke Maximilian of Austria for his proposal to Mary of Burgundy in the late 1400s.

In Ancient Rome, men commonly gave women rings as a sign of ownership.

Today, most engagement rings contain a diamond center stone. However, this was not always the case. During World War I, diamond ring proposals were less common. That was due to the many people facing hard economic futures during this time.

You can thank this period for the catchphrase “A Diamond is Forever.” The phrase, coined by the De Beers Corporation in the 1930s, was used as a method to try and drive up diamond sales. I think you would agree that it worked.

Since then, diamond rings have become a leading symbol of love and commitment.

These days it no longer matters. Times have changed and so have the stereotypical couples, so you do whatever you want.

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Types of engagement rings

You can now find engagement rings in a variety of colors, cuts, and styles at numerous retail locations. Popular diamond cuts today include round, princess, cushion, and emerald.

The setting of the stone or stones is also becoming more and more unique. One of the most popular engagement rings of all time is the solitaire setting. It is a simple setting — just one single stone on a simple plain band.

Halo, bezel, and three stone are also contemporary settings today.

The cost of an engagement ring varies based on size, cut, and setting. It is, however, not uncommon for men to spend upwards of one month’s salary on just an engagement ring alone.

According to brides.com, the most expensive celebrity engagement ring was worn by Mariah Carey. In total, her ring weighed 35 carats and reportedly cost nearly $10 million.

This ring beat out Elizabeth Taylor’s stunning 33-carat ring from Richard Burton that cost over $8 million. Can you even begin to imagine walking around with a diamond that large on your finger every day?

Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What Are Wedding Rings?

After the proposal, the wedding planning begins, and in the blink of an eye, it is time for the wedding ceremony and the addition of a wedding ring.

Did you know that the first wedding ring is said to date back as far as Ancient Egypt? In those days, you would find rings made out of simple materials such as hemp or reeds.

Because these materials were often not long-lasting, they began making their rings out of harder substances such as leather, bone, or ivory.

In Ancient Rome, wedding rings were frequently a sign of the man’s ownership of the woman. Colonial American men gave their wives thimbles as a symbol of their marriage.

Most wedding rings (or wedding bands) are often more simplistic than the engagement ring mentioned above. Because of this simplistic nature, wedding bands are generally also less expensive.

Today, you can find wedding rings made from a variety of materials, including rubber or silicone. Rubber and silicone rings have become more prevalent in many hands-on careers and with athletes.

Men’s wedding bands tend to be the most plain. It did not become common for men to wear a wedding band until after World War II.

It became more common for men to wear wedding bands as a way to honor their wives they were leaving at home when they went off to fight for their county.

While most bands are simple, eternity bands are gaining more popularity. These bands have diamonds the entire way around the outside of the ring. The De Beers Corporation initially designed eternity bands in the 1960s.

“Stacking” rings are also becoming more common. This concept refers to having an engagement ring with a ring on either side.

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Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: The Difference

You will typically wear your engagement and wedding band on the fourth finger, most commonly referred to as your ring finger, of your left hand.

Ancient Romans believed this finger housed the “vein of love” — a vein connecting that finger directly to your heart. In some European countries, however, you will see men and women wearing their rings on the right hand.

There is also significance in ancient cultures of the presentation of a ring to your significant other. It was believed that since a circle has no beginning and no end, it is a symbol of infinite or endless love. You can say this sentiment still rings true today.

Now that you are married, there aren’t any rules when it comes to wearing your set of rings together. You will find that most women, myself included, put their wedding band on first and then the engagement ring.

But, if you want to wear them in the order in which you received them, you go right on ahead!

Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Rings: Which Should You Buy?

The difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring is almost exclusively in the timing of when you give or receive the ring.

What a couple decides to use for an engagement ring vs. wedding ring is entirely up to them. Today’s society has really no rules when it comes to an engagement ring vs. wedding ring and the choices are truly endless.

Your significant other doesn’t want to wear a wedding ring; they don’t have to. Want to get a tattoo to show your undying love for your spouse, go ahead! Want to give the lady in your life a 16-carat diamond in a solitaire setting, I’m sure she’s going to love it!

What does your dream engagement ring vs. wedding ring look like? Let us know in the comment section below!

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