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by Amanda Applebyinfo@amandaappleby.com

The History of Wedding Rings

The rings gifted to a bride and groom on their wedding day are symbols of unwavering commitment and lifelong promises.

In ancient Egypt, a culture that celebrated love and romance, rings were regarded as symbols of unity and eternity - with no beginning and no end. They were said to have been worn on the fourth finger of the left hand - as many ancient cultures believed that there was a vein that ran from this finger straight to the heart. They also believed that love should last forever - and this was represented by a circular ring. The rings were at first fashioned from materials such as rushes and reeds, which were braided. Later they were made from leather, bone or ivory.

The Romans and the Greeks were far less romantic cultures, and for them rings symbolised ownership - as opposed to love or commitment. They were usually fashioned from iron, and the Roman men would ''claim'' their women by giving them rings.

There are several theories that suggest that wedding rings come from non-religious Pagan origins, like those cultures which used them to denote social class. In Early Rome, for example, the material that the ring was made out of symbolised one's social standing. The culture allowed slaves to wear iron rings, but ambassadors and high-standing officials wore rings of gold. Later, the Romans turned the custom of marriage into a social symbol as well, and it was at this point that the ring became a ''wedding ring''.

The wedding ring also used to be associated with the exchange of valuable possessions at the moment of the betrothal - marriage was a contract between families, not individual lovers, who were concerned about guaranteeing a financial future for the couple.

The first recorded account of a diamond engagement ring was in 1477 - when King Maximilian I of Germany proposed to Mary of Burgundy and offered her a diamond with which to seal his vow.

Wedding rings were originally worn only by women, but during the 20th century it became customary for men to wear them as well.

These circular eternal bands have a long and interesting history - a history developed over thousands of years. Wedding rings are beautiful physical symbols of love, commitment, unity and eternity.

 

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Gold | Leather | Ivory | Ring | Anniversary Gifts | Diamond

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Anniversary | Diamonds | Gold
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