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Engagement Rings

Engagement rings, like any other kind of jewelry, come in many different styles.

An engagement ring is a ring indicating that the person wearing it is engaged to be married, especially in Western cultures. In the United Kingdom, Ireland and North America, engagement rings are traditionally worn only by women, and rings can feature diamonds or other gemstones. In other cultures men and women wear matching rings. In some cultures, engagement rings are also used as wedding bands.

Conventionally, the woman's ring is presented as a betrothal gift by a man to his prospective spouse while he proposes marriage or directly after she accepts his marriage proposal. It represents a formal agreement to future marriage. Rings can be bought by the man, the woman, the couple together, or by each partner for the other.

Before agreeing to marry, a couple may choose to buy and wear pre-engagement rings, also called promise rings. After marrying, the couple may wear both engagement rings and wedding bands, or just their wedding bands, as they prefer. Some brides have their engagement rings and wedding bands permanently soldered together after marriage.

In the United States, where engagement rings have been traditionally worn only by women, diamonds have been widely featured in engagement rings since the middle of the 20th century. Solitaire rings have one single diamond. Archetype of this modern form is the solitaire Tiffany Setting which was introduced by Tiffany & Co. in 1886 and featured the first mount which holds the gemstone with six claws (so called Tiffany mount). The traditional engagement rings may have different prong settings and bands. Another major category is engagement rings with side stones. Rings with a larger diamond set in the middle and smaller diamonds on the side fit under this category. Three-stone diamond engagement rings, sometimes called trinity rings or trilogy rings, are rings with three matching diamonds set horizontally in a row with the bigger stone in the center. The three diamonds on the ring are typically said to represent the couple's past, present, and future, but other people give religious significance to the arrangement.

A wedding set, or bridal set, includes an engagement ring and a wedding band that match as a set. In some cases, the engagement ring looks "incomplete"; it is only when the two halves are assembled that the ring looks whole. In other cases, a wedding set consists of two rings that match stylistically and are worn stacked, although either piece would look appropriate as a separate ring. Although the wedding band is not to be worn until the wedding day, the two rings are usually sold together as a wedding set. After the wedding, the bride may choose to have the two pieces welded together, to increase convenience and reduce the likelihood of losing one ring. A trio ring set includes a ladies engagement ring, ladies wedding band and a men's wedding band. These sets often have matching rings and are lower in price.

In Nordic countries, engagement rings are worn by both men and women. Traditionally they are plain gold bands, although more ornate designs and other materials are gaining popularity. The engagement rings resemble the wedding bands sold in the United States, whereas women's wedding rings often resemble US engagement rings.

In North America and the United Kingdom, it is customarily worn on the left hand ring finger. Similar traditions purportedly date to classical times, dating back from an early usage reportedly referring to the fourth finger of the left hand as containing the vena amoris or "vein of love". This custom may have its origins in an ancient Egyptian myth that the finger contained a vein leading directly to the heart, or it may simply be because the heart lies slightly to the left side of the body. In Ukraine, it is customary for the ring to be worn on the right hand. In Germany the ring is worn on the left hand while engaged, but moved to the right hand when married. In Poland, the engagement ring and wedding band are traditionally worn on the right hand but modern practice varies considerably.