The History of the Wedding Ring
The wedding ring is the final gift a couple will give each other prior to marriage. Some might say that the very first gift a couple gives each other is a promise ring – which most consider pre-engagement rings. Then as a couple gets more serious they then give engagement rings to each other.
Many couples look forward to the moment when they’ll slip a ring on their beloved. The look of love in their eyes, that moment when the ring is on their finger and they realize that they are theirs forever. What most don’t realize is that these moments with wedding rings have been happening for centuries. The meaning and symbolism behind a wedding ring is rich and as intricate as its own love story. It deserves to be told so that couples know exactly why they use wedding rings.
This wedding ring is a symbol and throughout time this symbol has stood for love, devotion and at times simply for an arrangement between families. The physical structure of the wedding ring has changed and adapted as different cultures have fashioned it into different forms to make it look beautiful. Some materials are more plentiful in different areas – and other materials or precious metals are considered to be more valuable in other areas. But the meaning behind the symbol has remained the same throughout time and over continents. “I love you” “I want to be with you forever” and “You are mine.”
A ring in its simplest forms is a circle: meaning ‘eternity.’ What more could every couple want than the pure desire to spend eternity together? Most couples choose to have a sentiment or romantic saying engraved inside their wedding rings. This makes that universal symbol so much more personal for each couple.
Symbols exist throughout our culture. Even the materials the wedding ring is made out of can be seen as symbols of love and devotion. Most wedding rings include diamonds. Diamonds are literally indestructible; they are the “forever” stone you want to select to represent your love. Rubies are another choice that represents love, passion and preciousness. While the wedding ring itself is seen as valuable – the symbolism of the wedding ring shows that your beloved is valuable to you. By giving them a valuable ring – you are showing the world just how valuable they are to you. In older days – you might also be protecting your ‘property’ (when women were considered property and possessions).
The wedding ring was worn in later times just as it is today, on the left hand, third finger. This is because of the strong-held belief that the vein in this finger travels directly from the heart. This belief was affirmed as women began wearing their wedding rings closer to their hand and then their engagement ring on that same hand – affirming this belief about this hand being so close to your heart.
Wedding rings have been worn in many traditions. While the traditions may be slightly different – the sentiment and meaning – to love, treasure and honor one another forever – remains very much the same. In Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians, rings are exchanged not at the wedding service – but at the betrothal. The groom’s ring is gold and the bride’s ring is silver. In Greece rings are exchanged by couples as they are engaged they are worn on the left hand, fourth finger – and at the wedding they are switched to the right hand. In England, a wedding ring has traditionally always been exchanged. This appears to come from the long-standing belief that marriages were made as arrangements to exchange not just love and honor – but goods or property as well. This belief holds true for most European countries.
During World War II and the Korean War it became popular for men to wear wedding rings. This reminded them of the wonderful wife they had waiting at home for them. After these wars, men began to wear wedding rings to show their faithfulness, devotion and love. Now most men wear wedding rings in many cultures around the world.
- The Wedding Ring: A Brief History (mentalmindstuff.com)
- Choosing a Diamond (myweddingideas.net)
- Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring (iampotassium.wordpress.com)