26 Oct The History of Wedding Rings
Almost every single detail of a wedding has a specific tradition handed down over time. From wedding vows to something blue, some of these traditions have stood the test of time and are still popular today. Along with every wedding tradition, rings have become more elaborate and are an iconic symbol of a long-lasting marriage. While today the trend might be to have ornate rings, the history of wedding rings is actually quite humble. Rings have always been a significant part of history and are a clear indicator of wealth and status, but with wedding rings, there is a much more interesting story to be told.
Where did wedding rings come from?
According to Vanity Fair, the ancient Egyptians believed in the vena amoris (meaning the “vein of love”) which runs directly from the heart to the fourth finger on the left hand. The very first rings for lovers were thus made in ancient Egypt. These rings were often made of woven reeds or leather and given as “rings of love”. Through this, the Egyptians were the ones to first create rings for lovers, but they did not actually create wedding rings. It is believed that the Romans were the ones to actually link the ring to marriage. Roman grooms would give their brides-to-be iron rings to seal their bond into a legal marriage.
What materials were used to make wedding rings?
Gold and silver rings can be expensive, and some may think they were always made of precious metals. While they are the customary settings for rings today, in ancient times these materials were reserved only for the wealthy. Other cultures throughout the world went for other materials. Wedding rings have evolved from simple strings or leather to gold bands with diamond accents.
Wedding rings have been made out of everything from leather and bone to ivory and iron. The shape of the ring is arguably the most important aspect. A circle that has no beginning or end represents power and an endless bond and can be made from any of these materials.
Who wears the ring?
Nowadays at wedding ceremonies there is an exchange of rings meaning both the bride and groom receive a wedding band. While it seems like that has always been the case, throughout history there has been discrepancy regarding who wears one. In ancient Rome, rings were presented to the bride and worn only by her. Alternatively, Egyptians would present their rings of love to one another.
While today rings are most often exchanged in ceremonies, Americans weren’t always following this tradition. In the United States, brides were the only ones to wear a wedding band until World War II. During the War, servicemen would wear their rings showing their commitment to their loved one back home.
When did engagement rings become more important than wedding rings?
Wedding bands date back hundreds of years as the center of any marriage and wedding ceremony. It wasn’t until the 20th century where engagement rings became more iconic. One of the most popular rings with adornment is known as the “fede” ring. In the center of the band, two hands are clasping in love or agreement. The most commonly worn fede today is the Irish Claddagh ring where two hands hold a heart with a crown.
While many believe celebrities are the cause of engagement rings becoming a focal point, it was actually a single marketing campaign from the 1940’s. In 1947, De Beers created a marketing campaign with the slogan “A Diamond is Forever”. This strategic phrase made diamonds the number one choice for a center stone on an engagement ring.
De Beers Company is known for using extensive marketing campaigns picturing elaborate celebrity rings. This resulted in a massive uptick in sales for diamond engagement rings. Their marketing campaigns are some of the most iconic in the jewelry business to this day.
At The Crescent Beach Club, our waterfront venue offers the perfect backdrop for picturesque ceremonies and stunning photo opportunities of wedding rings. Whether you are a traditional diamond engagement ring and matching wedding band lover, or dream of a historical set, jewelers are extremely creative when it comes to crafting wedding rings. No matter what you choose, your photographer will surely create timeless images of your rings at our beachfront venue.