We recently looked at the history of bridesmaids and groomsmen and how they became the tradition we know.
Today at Engage Weddings, we are looking into the history of the wedding ring!
We can trace wedding rings back to the ancient Egyptians when rings were created out of braided hemp or reeds, the circle being seen as a symbol of eternity. These were worn on the fourth finger of the left hand, as the vein of love ran from that finger to your heart. It didn’t take long for the more wealthier couples to replace the fragile hemp or reeds with something more long-lasting, such as leather, bone, or ivory. This ring of love reflected the couple’s commitment to each other, something which still holds true today!
The ancient Romans and Greeks continued this trend as the Christian marriage ceremony as the minister recited their binding prayer. Whilst saying “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”, the minister would touch the thumb, forefinger, and then the middle finger. Placing the ring onto the ring finger as they spoke “Amen”. It was during this time that the first instance of a gold or silver ring occurred.
During the 15th century, it became quite popular to engrave your wedding ring, with gimmel and posie rings quickly following. Gimmel rings were a set of two interlocking rings after an engagement one was worn by both the groom and bride to be, with them being reconnected on the bride’s finger on their wedding day. A posie ring was usually silver and was engraved with a poem or verse, this quickly gave way to a more personal message.
War time carats
During the second world war, new restrictions in Britain bought about the utility wedding ring, this meant that rings could not be forged at a higher carat than nine, rather than the traditional 22. These rings were then required to be hallmarked to ensure they complied with the new regulations. It also became popular for servicemen to wear their wedding ring whilst at war as a sign of commitment, and the promise of a wedding on return.
Now there are no rules when it comes to your wedding ring, couples choose a cut, stone, or style that best reflects them and their love. However, wearing it on your ring finger is something that has never gone out of style!