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What is the Difference Between an Engagement Ring and a Wedding Ring?

Everyone knows what an engagement ring is and what it looks like. We’ve all experienced the sight of engagement rings in photos and in real life, whether on the hands of our dearest girl friends and family members or in jewelry store showcases. What may not be as apparent, however, is the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring. Are they two different things or can they be one and the same? Today’s blog answers the all-important question of “What is the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring?”

The engagement ring typically consists of some type of gemstone – most commonly, a colorless diamond, although, of course, the central gemstone can be any type of gemstone, really – set in the center of a precious metal band (18K gold and platinum are common choices). The center stone can stand alone as the defining beauty of the ring (“solitaire”) or be flanked by “side stones.” An engagement ring represents the turning point in many couple’s relationships as it symbolizes the ultimate commitment of impending marriage.

An engagement ring and wedding ring are two separate and different rings. An engagement ring is presented to a woman when her significant other proposes marriage and she is expected to wear the engagement ring as of that moment. The ring signals to everyone around her that she is engaged to be married. An engagement ring is worn on the “ring finger” of the left hand – the finger next to the pinky.

Wedding rings, on the other hand (or, rather, on the same hand!), are exchanged between bride and groom on the wedding day. A wedding ring is usually much simpler and understated in comparison to the bride’s engagement ring. The wedding ring is usually a simple precious metal band that does not contain any kind of center stone. It may or may not contain small diamonds or other gemstones. Unlike the engagement ring, both bride and groom receive wedding rings. The wedding ring is usually worn on the same finger as the engagement ring. During the wedding, it is not uncommon for the new bride to wear her engagement ring on the right hand and revert back to wearing it on the left hand once the exchange of wedding rings has taken place – many women like to “stack” their engagement ring and wedding ring so that the two sit atop one another. Not surprisingly, because the engagement ring tends to be the showier of the two types of rings, engagement rings generally tend to cost notably more than wedding rings.

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