Wedding Rings – Through the Ages and for All Eternity
The origin story of wedding rings has been lost to history, so, naturally, there is a lot of superstition and mythology surrounding the subject. The first recorded instance of wedding rings was found in an Ancient Egyptian papyrus, which leads historians to believe Ancient Egyptians invented the tradition. However, engagement or betrothal rings are thought to be much older, dating back to prehistoric times. Relative to that, wedding rings are a somewhat modern tradition, and unlike the engagement ring, are steeped in religious ritual.
When wedding rings were first created, they signified a legally binding covenant between husband and wife where the wife became her husband’s property. In addition to this, it
was seen as protection for the wife against challengers trying to seize her legal position.
The first known wedding rings, which came from early Egyptian civilization, were simple circular bands crafted from materials like hemp or reeds. These rings were not very durable and needed to be replaced annually. However, the circular shape signified eternal love and devotion as well as the joining of two halves to create a whole. The center hole representing a gateway to the unknown, symbolized the future. As the tradition continued, more permanent wedding bands were crafted out of materials like ivory and leather.
Later on, metal bands replaced their earlier hemp and reed counterparts. Early Roman civilization adopted lead wedding bands, while their contemporaries made wedding
bands out of brass and copper. After some time, gold became the metal of choice.
Particularly, early Irish couples used gold because any other material was believed to bring bad luck. In this era, non-gold wedding bands were sometimes not even considered to be legally binding. If you were unable to afford gold wedding bands, you could rent gold wedding rings for the marriage service and return them afterward.
Early wedding rings were often adorned with precious stones to make rings more aesthetically pleasing. Eventually, the type of stone gained significance. Red rubies represented the heart, blue sapphires represented the skies and heavens and diamonds, with their indestructible nature, represented the permanence of the marriage bond.
As wedding rings became a powerful symbol of love and commitment, even mundane details about the rings took on significance. The fit of wedding ring was supposed to be perfect; if not bad things would happen to the marriage. If the fit of the ring was too loose, superstition says that the marriage would be characterized by sloppiness and carelessness, which would cause the couple to grow apart. If the ring fit too tightly, it was believed the marriage would become suffocating and painful.
From the beginning, wedding bands have been traditionally worn on the third finger of the left hand, much like today. The Ancient Egyptians chose this finger was because they believed the vein in this finger, known as the “vena amoris”, led directly to the heart. The Greeks and Romans later propagated this belief until it was disproved. Even after the existence of the “vena amoris” was disproved, the custom of wearing a wedding band on the third finger of the left hand remained. The tradition continues to this day, except for a brief period during the Elizabethan era when people experimented with wearing wedding bands on their thumbs.
The custom of men wearing wedding rings became popular during World War II when many young soldiers got married and then shipped off to war. Having a physical reminder of their marriage took on new importance and significance while they were at war and became a lasting tradition that continues today. Even as wedding ceremonies change and evolve, the wedding band has remained a constant for thousands of years and will likely continue to remain a symbol of love and commitment.
Did you know that Private Pawn has a variety of diamond wedding rings available for purchase? Private Pawn also accepts pawning of Scottsdale diamond wedding rings! Stop by our local pawn shop today!
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