The Evolution of Wedding Jewelry
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Shane Co.
Today, engagement rings are one of the many symbols of eternal love and commitment between two people. Engagement rings, as well as other quality wedding jewelry, are usually made from precious metals such as yellow or white gold or platinum, and it is common for them to be ornamented with engravings, a diamond, or other gemstones. However, this was not always the case with wedding jewelry.
First Rings in Ancient Egypt
Rings were first exchanged as part of the marriage process about 4800 years ago in Egypt. These rings were constructed from reeds or grasses and were simply tied around the bride’s finger in the shape of a circle by the groom. Circles were symbolic of eternity, just as the union formed in marriage is never ending. Of course, these rings withered pretty quickly, and so did the simplistic tradition. Soon, rings made of more expensive materials like leather, bone, and ivory became the norm. Much like today, the more valuable materials served as a symbol of the wearer’s status and wealth.
Modern Wedding Jewelry
Today’s rings as you can see here are generally made from more expensive materials than the rings of the past, yet the reasons for wearing them remain remarkably unchanged from the first ring wearers’ in ancient Egypt. Ultimately, a ring is more than just what it’s made of. Rather, a ring symbolizes love and commitment. Without an underlying relationship, a ring is meaningless. While a big ring might be nice to have, it is important to remember that what really matters is not the ring itself, but the person giving it.
When In Rome
This tradition soon spread to ancient Rome; however, there the ring was meant as a symbol of the groom’s ownership over the bride rather than as a symbol of love. Roman rings were forged from iron, to symbolize the strength of the man.
While our idea of marriage may be a bit more romantic nowadays, wearing the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand is actually a Roman tradition. The Romans believed that this finger was home to the “Vena Amoris,” which is Latin for “Vein of Love,” a vein that supposedly runs directly from the ring finger to the heart. Scientists have since proven that this vein does not actually exist. Regardless, the ancient tradition continues to this day.
Today, rings are commonly viewed as a symbol to deter marriage participants from becoming involved in extra-marital affairs. During the Renaissance period, harem rings or “puzzle rings” were the standard in Turkey. These rings were actually made up of anywhere between four and twelve different bands which would fit together to form a design. If the ring was removed, the bands would fall apart and it would be difficult to piece back together. This was a method of ensuring fidelity when husbands were away for travel.
Rings For Men
Although it is completely normal for men to share in the ring tradition today, this was not always the case. It was custom that only women received rings up until World War II. While men were away at war, they popularized rings as a reminder of their wives back home. However, some men still adhere to the older tradition of not wearing a ring. For example, England’s recently married Prince William chose not to receive a ring. While not wearing a ring is simply a choice, some people view men who opt out of a ring as having ulterior motives.