A Little Intimate History of the Wedding Ring

Have you ever wondered why you put a finger on each other while saying I DO out loud? We decided to enlighten you in case you don’t know, but also remind you if you have it somewhere in the back of your mind… Because repetition est mater studiorum, as the old Romans would say, who are also believed to be ones of many that took part in shaping this tradition the way we know it today.

Burme

But who started it all?

The earliest versions of this type of rings are believed to originate all the way back to ancient Egypt. Made from the materials that were found nearby, mostly different kinds of weed, it is easy to understand that they looked much different than those being used today. These rings also lasted quite shortly, due to the organic nature of the source they were made of, and soon were replaced by somewhat stronger materials, such as ivory or bones, to name a few. The more expensive the substance the ring is made of, the greater the love and the wealth of the person giving it. However, just like today, and not only to Egyptians but also many other cultures, the ring – or the circle – was a symbol of eternity. To give a person a ring during the marital ceremony meant eternal love and forever promise. The hole in the center of it also had a meaning itself – it represented a path or a gateway to something new, something different – a new way of life.

Later on, the Romans decided to adopt this ritual, but the ring lost its original romantic symbolism and got an entirely new, darker meaning – to give a woman a ring meant claiming her, owning her as a part of a belonging. These rings had a special name – they were called Annulus Pronubus and were made of strong materials such as iron. It was also believed that the custom of wearing the ring on the fourth finger located on the left hand originates from Romans. The Romans supposedly thought that a vein, called Vena Amoris or the Vein Of Love in Latin, in the left ring finger which is connected to the heart. Although an exquisitely romantic legend, it was later on refuted by researchers.

Engagement-ring

When it comes to Christians and rings used for this purpose, it wasn’t really a thing until the mid 9th century. These marriage ceremony rings used to be heavily decorated with different depictions of animals or hands holding each other. During the course of time, the Church decided that regarding the purpose and meaning behind these rings, it is the best option to keep them as simple as possible. The simple rings – wedding bands as we know them today are the result of this religious decision.

And where are we today?

Although mainly made of gold in many versions, the wedding ring still evolves, as well as the material it is made of. Perhaps the most interesting ones I’ve seen browsing the Internet were the ones made of rubber. The reason behind this is simple – the modern man/ woman has an active life and happens to exercise a lot. In case your fingers swell, it is easy to remove them. Another, maybe more practical explanation – if you happen to lose it, you won’t cry after it (a lot) and will easily replace it by a new one, for an equally small amount of money.