The beautiful wedding ring is one of the most recognisable and familiar symbols in the world, signifying love, happiness and commitment. However, how many of us really know where the idea of the wedding ring comes from? In fact, it has a fascinating history spanning millennia.
The symbolism of the ring
Have you ever thought about why wedding rings are used to symbolise marriage rather than a different piece of jewellery, like a wedding necklace or wedding earrings? The answer could lie in ancient Egypt; the Sun and Moon Gods’ were highly revered in ancient Egyptian culture, and they were also the gods of the home and hearth – which in turn represent the idea of marriage and domestic bliss. The ring was the symbol of these gods, representing eternity in the band and the hold in the middle representing the doorway into things unknown (or the future). Therefore it was fitting that the ring should come to represent marriage!
The symbolism of the ring finger
Did you know why the wedding ring sits on the finger it does? Traditionally, the wedding band is worn on the ring finger of the left hand, and this is far from a random choice. In Roman times, it was believed that the ‘vena amor’ or ‘vein of love’ ran from the ring finger directly to the heart, and so wedding rings were worn on this finger to represent the love shared by the couple. This symbolism rather caught on and has lasted until the modern-day, though its romantic origins have been forgotten.
For much of their history, weddings rings were only worn by the wives in a partnership, to signal to others that they were the property of their husband. However, in the 20th century, this aspect of the tradition died away, replaced by a mutual wearing of rings ti symbolise a shared commitment and love rather than a concept of ownership.
The use of precious metals
We never think twice about the fact that wedding rings should be made of gold or another precious metal, but have you ever thought about why? Firstly, the use of precious metals, a selection of which can be seen at abelini jewellery, shows the value attached to the commitment being made; an investment is made in the rings, representing a commitment to the relationship, and its permanence.
So there you have it, now you have a better understanding of the interesting history of the symbolism of the wedding ring, which will hopefully bring even more sentimental value to your ring in the years to come as you remember its history.