In our last few blogs, we’ve spoken about the sentimentality and meaning behind wedding rings. A well known symbol of love, in many cultures around the world, a wedding ring is exchanged with the wedding vows as a symbol of promise and commitment. But when did this start and has the meaning of a band on the ring finger of the left hand changed throughout history?
The wedding being worn on the fourth finger of the left hand can be traced back to the Egyptians who believed it was this finger that had a vein of love from the tip of the finger to the heart. Based on this belief, they used hemp to create their wedding bands which wasn’t very durable but it laid the foundations for later societies to use more beautiful metals and began the tradition of a symbol of love. The Egyptian Pharaohs deemed the shape of a circle to be the symbol of eternity long before the wedding rings began to be exchanged.
The Romans, like the Pharaohs, recognised the circle to be the best symbol to honour marriage as it has no beginning and no end, just like the marriage ‘contract’ and vows. Evolving from hemp, the Romans used iron and later gold to create their rings. These bands were plain hammered metal and there was no added sparkle until the Italians added some flair with the diamonds, which they believed were the result of plain stones forged by the flames and heat of love.
In the early times of wedding rings, it was only the women who received a ring at the wedding ceremony, it wasn’t until the 1300’s that the Greek Orthodox Church started the dual ring ceremony and it doesn’t appear this custom was adopted in many cultures. The beginning of World War II marked the increasing popularity of grooms receiving rings as they were seen as a romantic token given to them by their brides that were easy keep safes during the war and so at this time in Europe and the US, more and more rings were given in a dual ring ceremony. In the 1100’s, Pope Innocent III passed a decree which stated that for a wedding ceremony to be valid in the eyes of the church, an exchange of wedding rings must occur; since he didn’t specify the material the ring should be, there’s been some variations over the last millennium.
Today, it’s a common exchange between a couple at the alter, the words spoken are promised with a ring and sealed with a kiss. From Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles custom 22kt gold wedding rings which are reported to be some of the most ornate pieces ever made to some of the most extravagant wedding rings created by Elvis for his bride Priscilla Presley. The 3.5 carat blue diamond surrounded by 21 smaller stones which was jaw dropping in the 1960’s and remains so today, was hardly a surprising choice by The King. There’s so many examples of both outlandish and plain, sleek rings with both Royal and celebrity wedding rings, but there’s no doubt that they influence the fashions of the wedding rings.
There’s one thing for sure; with such timeless designs, your Baird Mint Collection ring will never go out of style.