wedding ring

For centuries, rings have been the symbol of an alliance between two people. However, with time and depending on geography, the ring’s symbolism has changed. Curious to learn more about it? Here is the ABC on all you need to know about weddings rings before sending out your wedding invites!

The wedding ring throughout history

Whether in gold, silver or other material, the wedding rings has always been a very symbolic piece of jewelry. Some believe that the oldest record of exchanging rings comes from ancient Egypt, about 4800 years ago. Sedges, rushes and reeds, growing alongside the well-known papyrus were twisted and braided into rings which were just another decorative ornament worn by the women in those days. This material was soon changed by leather, bone or ivory since it lasted a lot longer. As you can imagine, not everybody could get his hands on ivory for example and from that point on, the material of a ring equaled value. If the ring was offered, it didn’t only show interest from the giver, it also showed “how much” the giver loved the other person (or at least, how much he could afford)! Other than the material, the shape of the ring is not by accident either but chosen to symbolize eternity. The shape that has neither beginning nor end...

A symbol of posession

The Romans took this tradition but added their own twist. Rather than offering a ring as a mere symbol of love, the ring became an additional symbol of ownership. Rings were a sign of possession, meaning a Roman man gifted a woman to let others pursuers know he had claimed her! It is also said that the Romans were also the first to engrave their rings. Even though it was in the Antiquity that the exchanging of rings became the symbol of eternalizing love, it wasn’t until about 860 that the Christians used the ring in marriage ceremonies. Back in the day it was highly decorated with engraved doves, lyres, or two linked hands. This custom was discouraged however by the Church which led to simplified rings around the 13th Century. The wedding ring as we know it was born!

Left or right

Did you know it were the Greek who pinpointed were the ring should be worn? Before, rings changed position quite a lot and have been worn on all fingers, including the thumb! The Greek decided it should be the fourth finger on the left hand since it supposedly was directly linked to the heart through the Vena Amoris or Love Vein. How romantic right! This has proven to be incorrect but honestly, we still like the idea. In some countries such as Spain, Germany or Austria, the wedding ring is worn on the right hand instead!

A simple ring

In most cases, a wedding ring is a simple golden ring, whereas the engagement ring is often embellished with a precious stone such as a diamond. The first recorded account of a diamond engagement ring was in 1477 when King Maximilian I of Germany , back In the 16th century, proposed to Mary of Burgundy and offered her a diamond to seal his vow (So, men you now know who to blame!)