If you are planning to get married soon, I think you have already searched for wedding rings. I think to describe all kinds of rings is impossible. Since ancient times, the ring became a symbol of marriage and fidelity. Do you know who introduced this custom? The tradition of exchanging rings existed in many nations. So perhaps we can reliably know the exact time and place of its occurrence. Huge wedding rings are not particularly…huge, but they have a big stone placed in the center. These types of rings can fit in a wide range: vintage, antique, baroque, rococo, modern, avant garde… everything that you need. In order to make a clear picture about these rings with inlaid stones, let us make a trip back in time.
Who was the first?
Legend says that few thousand years BC, a very wealthy Egyptian gave to his sweetheart on the day of marriage a gold ring of an astonishing beauty. By this he meant that his wife is now becoming the mistress of all his wealth. Maybe the Egyptians were the first who gave us this beautiful custom. However, many people do not agree with this statement. It is known that the custom of exchanging rings existed among the ancient Indians and Anglo-Saxons and many other tribes.
Ancient designs…still in trend
Let us now try to imagine how the ancient wedding rings designs looked like. Even in ancient times, people have to strive for beauty and the ring which was chosen to be worn for life had to look attractive, especially because of reasons of beauty and elegance. Sometimes they were very zealous in this matter. Church is constantly rebuking lovers of luxury, recalling that young men should honor the customs and manners of their ancestors and be more modest in their desires. But, as is common in many nations, the center of attention at the wedding ceremony is the bride. Therefore, the bride wanted to put on as much expensive jewelry. For example, Indian brides often put on up to 15 kilograms of various jewels. In this case, huge wedding rings are just trifles.
For some people, the bride and groom should exchange rings before the wedding day. Those rings served as a kind of material ensuring that the bride or groom will not change their mind. However, this was not uncommon, because there are known historical cases when one of the young ‘forgot’ about the promise.
In order to eradicate such ‘forgetfulness’, the Orthodox Church connected with the rite of the betrothal ceremony of the wedding. Standing before the altar, the bride and groom must exchange rings. So it was for mere mortals. But for the king, this special rite of betrothal still remained separate, however, if the Prince entered into a marriage with the bride of another religious denomination.
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A magic touch
Do you know on what hand a wedding ring should be to worn? At this point the representatives of different religions have different opinions. The Catholic Church requires wearing a wedding ring on the ring finger on the left hand. The reason behind this custom is not known, but some scientists believe that such a custom existed in ancient Egypt. According to the beliefs of the Egyptians, the ‘artery of love’ is in the left hand. Orthodox Christians have a wedding ring on the ring finger on the right hand.
From these rules, there were exceptions. For example, in England during the reign of King George I wedding rings were worn on the thumb. However, this lasted a short time. In medieval Europe, wedding rings literally ‘roamed’ on all the fingers of both hands.
A wedding ring was considered not only an ornament. It was a symbol of fidelity of the spouses. To lose the wedding ring was a great sin, because it could lead to a variety of ills, including the destruction of the family.
The perfect team: metal and stone
As a rule, the basic material for huge wedding rings was gold. In ancient Rome, for example, there were used iron rings and only later it became gold, pointing to the material welfare of his master. In medieval times the appearance of engagement rings is astonishingly varied. The rings were in the form of interwoven arms, hearts pierced with an arrow of Cupid. Often they had cabalistic signs, magic numbers (for example, ’3′ – as a symbol of faith, hope and love). Exceptionally popular were the ring-halves. They were separate, but linked together, forming a whole. The most common engraving was a phrase – ‘What God put together cannot be separated by man. ‘
The eternal diamonds…
With the discovery of diamond deposits in India and South Africa, the wedding rings were decorated with diamonds. The first woman wearing a wedding diamond ring was the daughter of the famous Mary of Burgundy. In 1477, during the engagement with the Austrian Prince Maximilian, her father gave her a ring decorated with Indian diamonds. Gradually, the diamond has become an indispensable ornament of women's wedding ring. Men still prefer a ring made of gold (this is the highest standard, because it is not burdened by any refinements).
In addition to the traditional gold rings in the world today there are many great wedding rings. They can be made of one metal and from the mixture of two or more metals. They are decorated with precious stones or are plain gold rims, which can be either convex or flat. The wedding sets are also a practice and convenient method. They may consist of two rings – a wedding and engagement ring, or three – a male wedding ring and two female – wedding and engagement rings.
The history of wedding rings is very varied, has passed through different stages and has been subject to many transformations. The most important thing is that this tradition is still maintained (with slightly different interpretations, of course). Even people no longer opt for precious metal wedding rings, as in the case of tattooed wedding rings, the symbol and its significance remains the same. Ti a certain extent, history has to pay a great tribute to wedding rings, because they are one of the objects that gave meaning to the world. The whole universe is different when you have a partner on your side, when you love and you are loved.