Today almost everybody who’s married has a wedding ring. The wedding ring business is now worth a billion dollars. We know that they inspire a sense of love and companionship, but no one can really say for sure when this age old tradition actually began. Today you wear a wedding ring on your ring finger but do you know how it all started?
While its origins can be traced back to antiquity, the engagement ring tradition has evolved over the years. Some believe the oldest documented exchange of wedding rings dates back to ancient Egypt about 4,800 years ago. Egyptians were the first to use engagement rings as a formal arrangement between the spouses and the Egyptians. The rings were typically made of braided reeds and were worn as if they were a traditional wedding ring and not an engagement ring with a gold or silver ring.
The circular shape that surrounds the finger at the beginning and the end has been the subject of numerous beliefs and superstitions. The idea that the ring has no beginning or end represents eternal love and the circular shape of a ring as a symbol of love and marriage.
The choice of symbol, material and stone of the ring often tells a personal story and refers to the function or occasion in which the ring adorns the hand of the wearer and tells of his personal life. Although finger rings initially serve a decorative purpose, they often have the most personal meaning. They are worn as a sign of wealth, power or love and are given on special occasions that mark different stages in the life of the wearer. Rarely can a wearer identify the exact date of birth, marriage, death, or other important events in his or her life, but they have been worn and given as a sign of special events such as birthdays, weddings, funerals, anniversaries, and special occasions that mark different stages of his or her life.
In the first centuries of the Roman Republic, most rings were made of iron, but the ancient Greeks were able to use them simply as decoration. In the Hellenistic period, the bezel was used to hold various types of rings such as gold, silver, bronze and bronze. In the 3rd century AD, practically every person in the Roman Empire, except slaves, was allowed to wear gold rings. The privilege of wearing a ring was extended to the class of knights (horses) in the 2nd century BC, and the wearing of a gold ring was restricted to patricians who held high offices.
The Romans are also said to have come up with the idea of engagement rings, which symbolized the vow of marriage between members of the opposite sex. Traditionally, a man gave his fiancée an engagement ring before proposing to her, and then an engagement ring.
What a ring symbolizes goes far back, back to the circle, which is a symbol of eternity. In ancient times, Egyptians twisted plants into small circles to wear on their fingers, which were then worn as a sign of love and affection for their wives.
If you place the ring on the fourth finger of your left hand, you will see that it is connected to the heart through the amorous vein. Metal wires were found buried by Egyptians in their left hands, believed to be directly connected to the heart veins.
Most historians agree that the first use of a diamond ring to mark an engagement took place in 1477, when Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a ring with the letter.
When people traditionally think of rings, they tend to resort to simple gold wedding bands, but there has been a long history of using silver and gold rings for engagement rings. Sometimes a silver ring would be given to celebrate an engagement, and it would replace a gold ring at the wedding. In the 16th and 17th centuries, lovers throughout Europe often exchanged silver rings with an engraved message of love.
A gold engagement ring may have been found first in the ruins of Pompeii and later in Rome and other parts of Europe.
The funny thing is that the engagement ring became a very popular piece of jewelry among the Romans. We do indeed have evidence that women wore iron or similar ring materials at home, but gold rings were reserved when they went public. While gold rings were worn in public to demonstrate wealth and impress people, iron rings were worn for private use.
The Western tradition of wedding rings of today can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. While the Greeks also gave rings to their loved ones, the Romans are credited with linking the ring to marriage, which essentially made it a “wedding ring.”