Engagement and wedding rings are a key part of our cultural experience of marriage. The idea of a ring of a signifier of the enduring nature of love is a beautifully romantic image. But where did this idea come from?
Engagement and wedding rings have been exchanged and worn for thousands of years. The tradition of engagement rings can be traced back to Ancient Roman times, whereas there are records of wedding rings being worn by spouses in the Ancient Egyptian period, six thousand years ago.
Interestingly, the tradition of wearing these rings on the ring finger of the left hand seems to have endured since that period. In early history it was believed that there was a special vein called the vena amoris within this finger which ran straight up to the heart.
In many societies and cultures, the kind of metal wedding and engagement rings were made of was very significant. In Ancient Greece, it was often the case that men would wear rings made from iron in order to represent masculine strength, while women would wear rings made from gold in order to represent feminine grace and beauty.
Gold has played a very key role in the folklore of wedding rings. In some cultures, it was considered so lucky to have a gold wedding ring as part of the wedding ceremony that this would be done even if the couple couldn’t afford to keep the ring afterwards.
Sometimes, such as in Ireland, this may have meant renting a ring just for the wedding. In other parts of the world, such as in India, gold rings would be exchanged at the wedding and worn for only a short newlywed period. After this the rings would be melted down so the gold could be used for a more useful purpose!
If you’re looking for a special ring to use as part of your own engagement or wedding ceremony, we’re got some gorgeous options for you. Why not take a look at this selection of our ring collection?