The Wedding Ring as a symbol of everlasting love and the perpetual bond that joins a man and a woman in marriage, has a long, interesting and intriguing history.
Since its appearance in Egypt nearly 5,000 years ago, the wedding ring has represented several facets of the traditional wedding vows.
The ancient Egyptian civilization grow up along the fertile flood plains of the river Nile. This river was the source of prosperity and life to the Pharaoh's people, and from plants growing on it's river bank were the first wedding ring fashioned. The wedding ring is a circle, symbolizing the cycle and eternity of love.
The first wedding ring was usually made out of a plant material, most often hemp, grass or reeds, and lasted only a year or so before replacement was necessary. Back then it was only a symbol of love and commitment and not a status symbol at all.
The wedding ring was worn on the fourth finger of the left hand, as is a custom today, due to a belief that a vein in this appendage ran through the body and directly to the heart. This wedding ring idea was enthusiastically embraced by the Romans and many other European cultures, who worn rings made of iron and gold. During the reign of George I of England, the wedding ring was often worn on the thumb. Louisa of Prussia, wore the wedding ring on the little finger of the right hand, while an old Russian custom made the bride and groom to wear the wedding ring on the fourth finger.
Another widespread myth which still persists in some cultures is the idea that the wedding ring must fit absolutely perfectly, or otherwise it would be detrimental to the entire union. It was believed that a wedding ring which was too tight would hint at an oppressive marriage that would be riddled with jealously, control and suspicion, while the wedding ring that was too loose would lead to carelessness and perhaps even infidelity for the newlywed pair.
The Engagement Ring
An engagement ring is a symbol that the person wearing it is engaged to be married and represents a formal agreement, especially in Western cultures. In many Western countries, engagement rings are only worn by women, and rings can feature diamonds or other gemstones. In other cultures around the world both women and men wear matching engagement rings. In some cultures, engagement rings are also used as wedding rings.
The woman's ring is presented as an engagement gift by a man to his prospective spouse while he proposes marriage or directly after she accepts his marriage proposal. In Western countries, it is normally worn on the left hand ring finger, though customs vary across the world.
After marrying, the couple may wear both engagement rings and wedding rings, or only the wedding rings. Some brides have their engagement and wedding rings permanently soldered together after marriage.
Today, most wedding rings are made from gold, silver or other precious metals, but regardless of their material they still symbolize the strength of love and unity to one another. Nowadays most wedding rings feature precious stones, most commonly diamonds, the wealthy started to use diamonds rings around the 15th century in Europe. In modern times the most common type of wedding ring is a gold ring with a solitary diamond or several diamonds. The many varieties of styles of wedding rings can be customized to the wishes of the couple and you can be sure to find one for any taste and budget.
So once you get that precious engagement and wedding ring, make sure to get it beautifully photographed by a professional wedding photographer and have it included in your wedding album.