Wedding rings are rings exchanged by the bride and groom on their marriage. They signify their bond of love, commitment and symbolize the unity of the new couple. Wedding rings are used in diverse cultures all over the world and across different religions. They come in various shapes and sizes, using gold, silver, platinum and other metals. Wedding rings, or bands, can be plain, inscribed or set with precious gems, jewels or – most popularly – diamonds.
But is there more to know about wedding rings?
- There Used To Be Only One Wedding Ring
There was one wedding ring, one ring to rule them all! Only the bride would get a wedding ring. The practice of two wedding rings was started by clever marketing strategies in the 20th century. They tried and failed to attract the male market towards wedding rings, and finally succeeded to transform society ideas after the Great Depression and World War II.
- Rings Were Spying Devices
Back in the 1st Century BC, the wedding ring looked very different in some parts of the world like Asia and the Middle East. Wedding rings of that time were a type of Puzzle Ring, which consisted of several parts of a ring put together in a specific interlocking combination. They were used in order to spy on the wife, as once taken off they would not be able to wear them again in the same manner as before. Thus puzzle rings exposed the fact that she had taken off her ring in order to – presumed at that time – cheat on her husband.
- Rings Were Once Inscribed With Poetry
Europe in the 1700s was a romantic lover’s paradise. Wedding rings were called as ‘poesy rings’ and made of silver. They were inscribed with verses of poetry, which puts today’s love poems to shame.
- Circular Wedding Rings Are Egyptian
Archeologists record findings dating back almost 6,500 years in Egyptian burial sites which refer to wedding rings. According to them, the circle held a specific symbolic importance to the Egyptians. They believed the circle to be a sign of eternity, thus meaning that the love between the married couple was eternal. The origin of circular wedding rings is also partly religious, as the sun and moon gods – both circular – were worshipped by the Egyptians. The Egyptians are also credited with starting the tradition of wearing wedding rings on the ring finger. They believed in the Vena Amoris i.e. a specific vein in the fourth finger that was connected directly to the heart.
- Wedding Rings can be Toe Rings
In some parts of India, specifically followers of the Hindu religion shifted the wedding ring from the hand to the foot. Brides wear a toe ring instead of a finger ring. This is generally attributed to the culture of Ramayana times, in which a woman threw her toe ring so that her true lover could find her. Brides may wear one or two toe rings as a sign of their being married. Toe rings were introduced in the US by Marjorie Borell in New York in 1973 after her tour of India.