This article is about rings, what it stands for and what exchange of wedding rings indicates.
As you tuck away the memories of the wedding day, one symbolic element of your union that remains eternal is the exchange of rings. For the beginning of your new life ahead, the wedding rings are a constant reminder of your vows, your love for each other and commitment towards one another.
What’s fascinating about the exchanging of rings is that it dates back to thousands of years which we even follow and still enjoy.
Imagine the classic image of exchanging wedding rings on a wedding day. Your mind will automatically go to two couples that exchange vows while giving rings to each other as a symbol of their everlasting love. This is an iconic image which we want to cherish and remember forever. The wedding ring is worn every day as a symbolical band that unites two bodies and one soul for all eternity. What’s more amazing that this tradition goes back as far as the Ancient Egyptians.
Going back in 3000 BC, the Ancient Egyptians used this ring as part of their wedding ceremony. At those times, wedding rings were made of reed, hemp and other plants, created into a circular band symbolizing the eternity of marriage. As per today’s culture, wedding rings are worn on the ring finger (i.e. the fourth finger of the left hand). It is said that the vein in this finger runs directly to the heart and meaning of wearing a wedding ring on the ring finger indicates that you hold your loved one close to your heart forever. Needless to say, plant rings couldn’t stand the test of time and were soon replaced with materials such as ivory, leather and even bone. However, nowadays, materials used are the ones representing the wealth such as gold, platinum, titanium embedded with the exquisite shining diamonds.
The Romans too had a ring tradition. In this tradition, the groom gives a ring to the father of the bride. However, against our modern sense, it was actually to “buy” the bride. Yup, you’ve heard that right. Nevertheless, by the second century BC, brides were given gold rings as a symbol of trust which could be worn whenever she goes out. At home, she wears a plain engagement ring, the Anulus Pronubus made of iron. That said, the key factor to be noted is that the symbol of wedding rings still existed. Rings symbolized strength and stability.
With evolving times, weddings rings are engraved with lovable quotes or names of bride and groom as a way to customize the rings and make it more personal. Regardless that it has a design, stone inherited from a relative or engraving the wedding band, nowadays couples want their wedding rings to be unique.
Other interesting facts about the exchange of wedding rings :
Did you know that in East Asian culture, rings were designed in such a way to be known as puzzle rings? These rings were created in such a way that they fall apart when removed from the finger? This indicates that the wife had removed her ring in her husband’s absence.
Gimmel rings or puzzle rings were popular in the Renaissance period as well. Gimmel rings were made using two interlocking rings – one for the groom and one for the bride. Interlocked during the wedding, the wife wears it symbolizing the union of two people becoming one.
Gimmel rings are popular in the Middle East as well. Nowadays, it’s common for couples to choose wedding rings on a similar basis. However, now even the groom will wear his half.
Did you know that in Victorian times, Prince Albert gifted a snake designed engagement ring to Queen Victoria? This symbolized not only eternal love but also the act of customized ring designs for couples.
Which finger to wear?
Ancient Egyptians and Romans have worn their wedding rings on the fourth finger of the left hand. However, this has not been the standard rule across cultures and history. In fact, Jews wore their wedding ring on their thumb or index finger.
Even ancient Britons wore their ring on the middle finger on either of the hand. In some cultures, the wedding ring can be changed from one hand to another hand.
Wedding and betrothal rings were always made using the finest and long-lasting materials keeping in accordance with the wealth of the couple. Stating the obvious, the tradition for lavish and luxurious rings has grown over time. The right setting and cut can make even the classic diamond solitaire look unique and flawless. That’s the reason many couples find it overwhelming to choose a beautiful band for exchanging wedding rings. Rings still get so much attention, time and budget during the wedding seasons. The best part is couples can research well about the diamond cut, add sparkling jewels and create settings to a ring that signify their relationship and personality.
Though in the early days, brides and wives wore wedding bands, after World War II, wedding rings became popular for men too. In fact, the exchange of wedding rings signified as a remembrance and commitment for soldiers who served their country. That’s the reason you see many men and women wearing engagement and wedding rings as a token of love, commitment, and loyalty than ownership.
The saga of love continues…
With many precious metals, diamonds and attractive designs available, we are left wondering how the future of wedding ring fashion will be.