A Guide to Engagement Rings VS Wedding Rings

Engagement rings and wedding rings are both steeped in tradition and sentiment. The beauty of these pieces of jewelry is heightened by a sense of history and an everlasting promise that is perfectly punctuated with the gift of diamonds.
Despite being a commonly appreciated stage in modern life, many people find themselves bewildered by the difference between engagement and wedding rings, and the conventions attached to them. Whether you are looking to follow tradition or throw out the rule book completely, this guide will give clarity when it comes to choosing and giving your rings.
Verragio Parisian DL-106R Halo Diamond Wedding Set
Verragio Parisian DL-106R Halo Diamond Wedding Set

A Story of Symbolism: Engagement Rings VS Wedding Rings

It is widely believed that the wedding ring precedes the engagement ring. Evidence of braided reed rings being exchanged by ancient Egyptians leads historians to believe that the traditions surrounding the wedding ring are over 6,000 years old. They placed the rings on the ring finger of the left hand where they believed the ring would surround a special vein in the finger that connected directly to the heart (the Vena Amoris). The Egyptians used the circle to denote a symbol of eternity and the exchange of the rings represented an endless love and this symbolism remains at the core of Christian and Catholic wedding ceremonies. The wedding ring was also associated with a spousal dowry and fidelity. Although the wedding ring has gone through some changes over the years in both style and meaning, the general sentiment of an eternal love has continued. Western tradition sees the rings exchanged at a wedding ceremony.
The history of the engagement ring can be reliably dated back to ancient Rome. It was customary for the bride to be to be given two rings, one cast from iron to wear at home, and one crafted from gold to wear in public. Much like the wedding band, the engagement ring was worn on the ring finger of the left hand – it represented the promise of a coming betrothal. The first engagement ring that most closely represents contemporary understanding was during the renaissance. The Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring in the shape of an M, however this practice was only adopted by royals and the upper-class.
It was a monumental marketing campaign by De Beers in 1939 that cemented the giving of diamond engagement rings firmly in western culture. In 1947 they coined the slogan ‘a diamond is forever’ and the stage was set for diamond engagement rings to become a firm part of modern relationships.


Traditionally, a woman is asked for her hand in marriage and is given an engagement ring. The ring is worn on the ring finger, although the hand varies from left to right depending on where you are in the world. During the wedding planning process, the couple will purchase wedding bands (one each) to be exchanged on their wedding day. This is typically done around six months before the wedding to allow for re-sizing and other variables.


Both engagement rings and wedding bands are crafted from precious metals to ensure they will survive everyday wear and last for many years. Popular metals include platinum, yellow gold, white gold and rose gold, although other metals such as palladium and titanium are also used. These metals ebb and flow with the changing of trends but never go out of style.
Benchmark European Comfort Fit Wedding Ring
Benchmark European Comfort Fit Wedding Ring
An engagement ring tends to be more ornate, featuring diamonds and other precious gemstones. Diamonds are used for their beauty, durability, rarity and longevity. Wedding rings were once simple creations made from a plain band of precious metal; however, modern convention is far more flexible. Contemporary wedding bands may be engraved, adorned with gemstones, shaped or textured. These more detailed and complex designs are available for both men and women, allowing the wearer to express their personality. The bands may be matching, complementing or entirely different.

Whiteflash Tips for Buying Wedding and Engagement Rings

While the customs of engagement and wedding rings are full of romance and history, we believe that modern partners should choose the combination of symbolism and style that works for them. Nevertheless, we have used our experience to put together this checklist and make the whole process as straightforward as possible.

Give Yourself Time

Usually, the proposer will choose the engagement ring for their partner. If you are opting for the surprise approach, we suggest choosing the ring at least four months in advance. This will give you enough time to make any alterations and check that you have made the correct choice. Aim to select and purchase your wedding bands for around six months before the big day.

Consider A Set

If you are choosing an engagement ring that is contoured or features an unusual diamond shape, it is worth considering whether to buy the accompanying wedding band.
Simon G. MR1394 Fabled Diamond Wedding Set
Simon G. MR1394 Fabled Diamond Wedding Set
This beautiful Simon G engagement ring is seen here with the accompanying wedding band, which has been expertly designed to sit perfectly beneath the engagement ring. Choosing a set avoids any potential complications you may have trying to find a suitable wedding band.

Think Designer

Designer engagement rings and wedding bands are carefully conceived by masters in the industry. Full of artistry and craftsmanship, they represent the pinnacle of jewelry making prowess.
Designer Engagement Rings

Practical Thoughts

It is easy to be hypnotised by the sparkling world of engagement rings and wedding bands, but practicality must be considered if you intend to wear your rings every day.
Tacori 300-2CU 6 Starlit Diamond Engagement Ring
Tacori 300-2CU 6 Starlit Diamond Engagement Ring
Is your intended a hands-on, get up and go kind of girl? This Tacori bezel-set ring will keep her diamond protected without sacrificing style and elegance. You can read our full guide to practical ring choices here.
How ever you choose to mark your big moment, our collection of designer engagement rings and wedding rings has something to suit every style. Many designs can be made in a variety of precious metals, allowing yourself and your partner to express yourselves through the most significant jewelry you will ever wear.

Be Inspired By Our Designer Engagement Rings

Find the perfect Designer Ring for your special diamond by clicking the links below, and let us build the ultimate ring for the love of your life!