In most western cultures, rings are exchanged to signify engagement and weddings. In countries like Britian and America, only the engaged woman wears an engagement ring. These rings generally have diamonds or gemstones depending on what the man/woman wants to buy to his/her fiancé. In some other cultures, both men and women wear rings and these could also double up as wedding rings.
Generally, the woman gets an engagement ring from her fiance after she accepts his proposal of marriage. It is a formal agreement for both parties to get married in the future. Sometimes the couple picks out the engagement ring together. Wedding and engagement rings are generally worn on the left hand in many countries; it may be different in some. The trend of wearing rings is now catching on in other parts of world.
Diamond engagement rings started as a trend in the mid 20th century and are now a norm. Almost all jewelry companies these days offer couples the option to design their own engagement ring. They can choose from a variety of stones like rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds with metals like gold or platinum to choose from.
Engagement rings constitute a major chunk of business for retailers and they offer a wide range of choices in price and looks. Jewelry stores also offer a trio set of rings which include the engagement ring and wedding ring for the woman and wedding band for the man. This is so offered to keep it as a matching set and come at a lower price. It saves people the time and trouble of having to make multiple trips. Jewelry stores have lifetime warranties on any jewelry bought at their stores and can fix any problems that may arise with settings.
A bridal set of rings has the engagement ring and wedding band set so that they look complete when worn together. Women choose to get the rings welded together to make it one ring. Some others choose to wear rings that have the same style and can be worn together or seperately. Either would be appropriate worn on its own.
In some cultures, it is commonplace for both men and women to wear engagement rings. They are plain bands, mostly in gold. This engagement ring ends up being a wedding ring for men. It is interesting to see what the various traditions are in different countries in the context of the betrothal ceremony. In recent years it has become common for women to start proposing to men and buying them an engagement ring. Jewelry companies are now offering many attractive designs in rings for men. They look like regular rings and can have a diamond or any other precious gemstone as a centerpiece.