The History of the Wedding Ring
The wedding ring is certainly a symbol of the love and commitment between two individuals, but why a circular ring for the finger? Throughout history, rings have symbolized many things, both personal and spiritual. In general, the history of the wedding ring is quite complicated stretching back for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians were among the very first to give wedding rings around 6,000 years ago. Then, the Greek and Roman cultures picked the same tradition, and it came and went in the European countries over the years.
The material of the wedding ring has also changed over the years. In Ancient Rome, wedding rings were made of leather, ivory or even bone. The rings made out of metal were typically made out of iron, which was inexpensive. Only the wealthy members of society would wear a ring made of silver or gold. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Gimmel ring was very popular for a husband to give to his wife. This type of ring was designed with two interlocking bands that when put together were like puzzle pieces. During the engagement, the couple would each wear a piece of the ring and when they married the pieces would unite and the wife would then wear it thereafter. During the Renaissance, the poesy ring was popular. This ring was typically made of sterling silver and was designed with the inscription of a poem inside the band. In the 12th century, the fede ring was popular and was designed with two hands clasping, representing betrothal. This style ring is very similar to the Irish Claddagh rings still popular today.
What Does a Wedding Ring Symbolize?
The symbolism of the ring is very much tied to its shape – a circle. The circle is a metaphor for wholeness, infinity, eternity and timelessness. Circles have been seen as symbols for God in a variety of faiths. The circle has no beginning or end which makes it a perfect symbol of the eternal love between two people. By giving an engagement ring or exchanging wedding bands, you are promising that you will love and remain devoted to one another throughout all of time.
Traditionally, the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. This particular tradition goes as far back as the wedding ring itself. The Ancient Egyptians believed that this particular finger contained a special vein that was connected straight to the heart called the vena amoris, or the “vein of love.”
Today, most people wear the wedding ring as a symbol of their love and devotion. There are all sorts of different styles, shapes and colors that are selected. In the end, select the style, shape and color that you both will love to wear as a symbol of your relationship.