The origin of the engagement and wedding ring
There are differing tales of how this almost world wide custom came into being. Even if you ask well read historians, they would struggle to give you accurate data. It is possible to trace documents back to the Roman Empire. As far as we can tell the ancient Greeks also used them as a gift of love and fidelity. The jewellery is found in Egyptian tombs, but whether it was a symbol of a marriage between two people remains a mystery.
What we do know is that they where outlawed throughout the Great British Empire, as they where portrayed as a mark of Paganism and not a sign of Christianity or Godliness. ‘Heathens’ where the only wearers. The origins of Wedding rings are shrouded in mystery, but they seem to have been used as a romantic gesture of matrimony throughout the ages and religions since the dawn of time. We do know that the Promise ring preceded the Engagement Ring which date back to Biblical times when a Betrothal was announced.
This differs in the fact that a contract was entered into between the people who wished to get married. Far from the Romanticism of Bible stories of Love and happiness, it was more business like, with a dowry of the bride and grooms belongings, money etc all laid out in the agreement. Once a man and a woman entered into the contract, there was no backing out of the marriage, whether they happen one week, one month or ten years later. Upon sealing the ceremony, it was customary for the groom to be, to place a Promise ring on the finger of his bride to be. These usually where made from non precious metals, such as iron. In the late eighteenth, early nineteenth century, the `in thing´ for the Aristocratic and well off was to replace the whole shenanigan of the Betrothal with the less formal ‘Engagement Ring’. Originally crafted by the finest Jewish jewellers, they tended to made of silver or gold.
Different countries, different wedding and engagement rings.
Nations across the globe do have different customs and views on the jewelry that is presented at Engagements and Weddings. In England and America, it is not currently the custom for the woman to present her chosen husband to be with an Engagement band, however, across most of mainland Europe it is. My personal opinion is that swapping rings takes the surprise out of the man ‘popping the question’, although through recent clever marketing and advertising, it is not unusual in both England and the U.S. For the man to done the sign of being engaged. This is mostly worn on the left index finger by both the bride and groom to be. However in Bulgaria, Norway, Poland and Russia, it is on the opposite hand. Germany contradicts all these customs by the man and the woman wearing their pre-marriage ring on the left hand until they get married when they swap hands – then the engagement ring from the left hand turns into a wedding band on the right.
Material and style of engagement rings and wedding bands.
Well, there is nowhere written that a wedding band has to be made of a certain material or that it has to look in a certain way. After all we are talking about a ring you are supposed to be wearing for the rest of your life so it is quite important that you feel comfortable with it. A personal engraving will give it the final unique touch.
No matter if you opt for a plain white gold band, a rough looking titanium ring, shiny platinum, with or with out diamonds, the purpose and symbolism is still the same. It still is, as said above, a symbol for love, deep friendship, trust and a life long partnership.
When choosing ‘the ring’, you can be as creative as you like. There are differing styles, with different metals, precious or not on the market for almost every taste and every pocket. Depending on what you are looking for, it is possible for good quality jewellers to tailor make your Engagement ring or Wedding band for you to your specifications.