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History of the Wedding Ring

Wedding bands have long been a symbol of the deep love and devotion that a married couple shares. Depending on the culture, a wedding ring is either worn on the third finger - also known as the ring finger - on the left hand or right hand. Since its conception, the wedding ring was on the left hand because of the belief that a vein in the third finger that hand ran directly to the heart. This was embraced by early cultures and the tradition - in many cultures - continues today. There were some cultures however, who thought wearing the wedding ring on the ring hand would keep it more protected – and instead used their left hand to display other finery. While not typical, wedding rings have even been worn on the thumb, little finger or toe.

History

Though it may seem like wedding bands are a relatively new custom, they have actually been worn for thousands of years. The custom is believed to have started as far back as ancient Egypt – nearly 5000 years ago. The husband would present his new wife with a ring - woven and braided - using reeds, hemp or grasses. This ring was a sign of his confidence in her ability to care for his house. These handcrafted rings may not have been made out of precious metals, but they were certainly the beginning of a long standing tradition.

Eventually, wedding rings were made of metal. In the beginning these were crude renderings, which – with time – improved as techniques and tools were developed. Hand engraving made these rings even more special and ornate. Gemstones, bone, or jade were often inlayed into the metal. These rings were not only a symbol of trust but a statement of wealth as well.

The ancient Greeks and Romans also used wedding rings but their tradition started a little differently. The bride-groom would actually give the bride’s father a ring. This is believed to have been some sort of payment for his bride-to-be. However, in the 2nd century B.C. the Roman grooms would present their bride with a gold ring. This ring was thought to be too precious for everyday wear, so the wife would only put the ring on when going out in public. It was actually quite common for the husband to give his wife a more durable ring – made of iron which had a key on it – for daily wear. This was the husband’s way of saying that he trusted his wife with all of his possessions.

During the 13th century rings took a step back from being elaborate and were commonly just a simple gold or silver band. The circle was the symbol – representing a love with no beginning and no end. At times it was difficult for folks to afford their own wedding ring, so churches might lend or rent out rings for the wedding ceremony and ring exchange.

In 17th Century England and France handmade rings would be engraved with poems, bible verses or sayings. These engraving could be found on the inside of the ring, the outside or both. The rings were crafted in either gold or silver. Gold was considered by most to be the more suitable choice, since it is rarer than silver and doesn’t corrode or tarnish.

Originally, wedding rings were only worn by wives – but during the 20th century – it became customary for wives and husbands to wear them. This was due to the outbreak of World War II. The wedding band became a comforting reminder to the soldiers, of their loved ones back home.

Today

Almost anything goes as far as wedding rings are concerned. Wedding bands are available in a variety of metals, with stones or without, engraved or plain, polished, brushed, or with a matte finish – it doesn’t matter. What matters instead is the sentiment behind the ring.

On Veizman.com you will find exquisite, handcrafted jewelry for any occasion. Yoni Veizman carefully crafts each piece of handmade designer jewelry himself.  If you are looking for a special and unique wedding band – you will certainly find that here. Each band is a solid, heirloom quality piece, which will be enjoyed for many generations to come.