In its simplest form, the wedding ring proclaims to the world that the wearer is in a committed, sacred relationship with their partner. The most popular month for engagements is the month of festivities – December. There’s something about the celebratory nature of the month that makes it so inviting – an important festival, a new year around the corner and the promise of a better tomorrow. Love is in the air not just on Valentine’s Day. Engagements lead to weddings and the history of the wedding ring is fascinating.
- It is an ancient custom – started in Egypt and Rome, over a thousand years ago, the exchange of wedding rings is a custom that has stood the test of time. Not just the exchange, even the designs chosen hark back to ancient times. From ancient gold being used to stones passed down from one generation to the next, wedding rings have become an integral part of the ceremony. Though, the custom of both members of the couple is relatively new. It’s an Anglo-Saxon tradition that’s continued. Earlier, only one used to be made and the bride would wear it.Then, during the Second World War, more men began to wear it, to remember their wives waiting for them back home. Now, more and more couples are choosing to get matching bands made – it has both aesthetic and sentimental value.
- It’s more than a piece of jewelry – whether you like a simple, plain gold band with no embellishment, or a broad platinum band with a huge stone embedded into it, the wedding ring is way more than a It’s a contract that’s entered into with thought and deliberation. So, it’s not just symbolic; it has significant import. This is one of the reasons why people prefer a precious, long-lasting metal to make their wedding band – mostly gold, but also platinum. Apart from these, rose gold is fast becoming a popular choice as well. About 17 tons of gold is sold each year for wedding rings in the United States alone. This is a change from the regular hemp and iron that used to be the tradition earlier.
- The finger significance – traditionally, the wedding ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand. Some people wear it on the right hand as well. But the left hand third finger is especially significant for the wedding ring. This is because the belief was that this particular finger contained a vein that connected straight to the heart. In effect, ensuring that the wearer and the giver were deeply connected. There is no medical evidence to support this but the sentimentality of the tale means that’s it’s one that’s enduring. In fact, the vein is called vena amoris or vein of love. Not every country follows the norm – in India, Russia, and Germany, among other countries; the wedding ring is worn on the right hand. Canada, France, England and the United States of America wear it on the left hand.
- The wedding ring has economic significance – not just the wedding ring, but the engagement ring as well. When a groom would give a bride a ring, it meant that he had financial stability and could look after her well. It also indicated his intentions to the family of the bride. A large diamond in an engagement ring is also a future investment – if things got rough, it could be sold to tide over the financial crisis.
- Buy two together – it makes sense to buy the wedding and engagement rings together, since they will be worn together. Or, when you buy an engagement ring, keep the wedding ring design in mind during the process. Most women wear their wedding and engagement rings on the same finger. So, a fine finish will work wonders for both rings.
- Stones are symbolic – a diamond is one of the hardest substances in the world – a diamond wedding ring stands for endurance and strength under pressure. A sapphire signifies great happiness in the marriage. Aquamarine is a blessing for peace and harmony in the marriage. A pearl, because it is reminiscent of a tear, is not a good fit for a ring. A coiled ring is also popular because it shows eternity – the length of time the couple chooses to be together.
- You may have to replace it – gold is beautiful and hardy but wears out over the years. It then becomes thin and breaks. It needs to be replaced. Platinum is hardy but tends to become dull over the years. Most rings have the name of the partner engraved on the inside. Some people prefer to wear the name on the outside too. Replacing a wedding ring is great – if there’s a new change or trend in wedding bands, then you can cash in on that too. A new ring as a renewed commitment to your partner.