The wearing of an engagement ring is a popular custom, especially in Western cultures. In North America and the British Isles, engagement rings are usually worn by women. In other parts of the world, engaged couples wear matching rings.
While the ancient Egyptians are sometimes credited with inventing the engagement ring, the most reliable data traces it to ancient Rome. People altered the tradition in various ways through the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation periods. Diamond engagement rings were a sign of nobility during the Victorian Era, and they became the most popular type of engagement ring after World War II.
Traditionally, the engagement ring is a betrothal gift from a man to his prospective bride. He presents the ring during the marriage proposal or after she accepts his proposal. The ring represents their formal agreement to a future marriage.
Before their formal engagement, some couples wear pre-engagement or “promise” rings. After marriage, some women wear their engagement ring and wedding band while others wear only the wedding ring. Some brides have their engagement and wedding rings soldered together permanently.
An engagement ring is customarily worn on the ring finger of the left hand. Conventional engagement rings are gold bands set with diamonds or other gemstones. However, modern rings can have almost any type of setting: gold, silver, platinum, tungsten or titanium. While most engagement rings showcase diamonds, some rings feature amethyst, emerald, sapphire, ruby, topaz or other gemstones.
People can find engagement rings at almost any jewelry store. A number of online stores feature engagement rings, wedding bands and other bridal jewelry. Some companies sell vintage rings, while others feature contemporary designs. Many brands specialize in unique designs with a story behind them. A growing number of jewelry stores allow engaged couples to design their own rings.
Maven, found online at is an example of a luxury brand of Celtic-inspired bridal jewelry. Founded by designer Maeve Gillis, the company specializes in engagement rings, wedding rings and ring sets with Scottish flair. Each ring reflects a particular aspect of Scotland’s history and flora. This is just one example of what can make an engagement ring unique for a bride or couple.