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History of wedding rings

The history of wedding rings is rich in legendary lore and of untold joy, sorrow, hope and tragedy. The gifting of a ring to commemorate a union, betrothal or marriage has been in vogue since ancient times, when it was a method of formalizing and exchanging a contract of marriage.

The origin of rings can be traced back to the times of the early Egyptians. Plant material such as hemp or twine was twisted into rings and bracelets to signify never-ending and immortal love. These rings were worn on the fourth finger of the left hand, which we now know as the ring finger as it was believed that this finger contained a special vein that was directly connected to the heart. The ancient Romans took a less romantic approach. For them, the wedding ring was not a symbol of love, but one of ownership. The Roman men would “claim” or purchase their women with the exchange of these rings. As with the Egyptians, the Romans also wore the rings on the fourth finger of the left hand.

In Asia, puzzle rings were very popular. These rings were a complex type of jewelry that was designed to fall apart and come together again, provided one knew how to do this. This trend was followed in the Middle East, where sultans required each of their wives to wear one at all times as a pledge of loyalty. If the wife were to remove it while her husband was away, the ring would fall apart, making it very difficult to put back together.


 



Symbolization

Wedding rings or bands are special items of jewelry that symbolize love, commitment, fidelity, eternity and honor. There are many superstitions regarding wedding rings. For example, it was considered unlucky for a bride-to-be to go shopping for the wedding ring on a Friday. It is also believed that neither the bride nor the groom should wear the wedding ring before the wedding ceremony. Thankfully, today’s wedding rings are not made of hemp or twine, but of platinum, titanium, white gold, gold sapphires, diamonds, rubies and emeralds. A plain gold wedding band is the most popular design. The engraving of wedding bands is also increasing in popularity. In some countries, a common pattern consists of three interwoven rings, which stand for faith, hope and love.


Wedding customs pertaining to rings

The best man at a wedding is typically entrusted with the duty of keeping the wedding ring and produce it at the symbolic moment during the ceremony. In more elaborate weddings, the ring bearer may assist in parading the ring into the ceremony, often on a special cushion.

While in the earlier centuries, it was usually the women who wore wedding rings this trend has changed. The use of wedding rings for either partner or the double-ring ceremony is a relatively recent innovation. There are some who espouse the tradition that women should wear the wedding ring below the engagement ring. Another practice states that the wedding ring should be worn above the engagement ring while there are still others who believe that the wedding ring should be worn alone.




 
 
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