Wedding Rings – Introduction

PlainRingPro Cushion 1 Scaled, Helen Dimmick
PlainRingPro Cushion 1 Scaled, Helen Dimmick

Exchanged as a symbol of love and commitment, wedding rings are an unbroken circle of precious metal; with no beginning and end, they represent everlasting love

The History of Wedding Rings

We have the ancient Egyptians to thank for the tradition of wearing wedding rings on the left hand, as they believed that a vein ran from the fourth finger directly to the heart, to the ‘vena amoris’ or the ‘vein of love’.  In fact they even started tradition of exchanging rings for love, at this time made of woven reed or leather.

Today wedding rings are forged in a range of precious metals of gold and platinum, that due to their inherent quality and durability, symbolises the permanence of marriage.

Diamond set wedding ring

Credit: Dominio

In ancient Rome and Greece wedding rings were first associated with marital dowry and later with a promote of fidelity.  ‘Fede’ rings were given, a band consisting of two hands claps in betrothal.

The ‘poesy’ ring was a style of ring that was popular during the Renaissance era. It was a band of sterling silver romantically inscribed with a poem or “poesy” often in French the international language of love.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries European husbands bestowed a ‘gemmil’ ring upon their wives.  These are very like puzzle rings composed of two interlocking bands.  The bride and groom would each wear one after their engagement, the rings being united at the wedding ceremony and worn afterwards by the bride, now wife.

Gimmel Ring

Image credit: Bentley & Skinner

In 1942 during the Second World WarBritish wartime restrictions on the manufacture of jewellery resulted in ‘utility’ wedding rings that were limited to a maximum mass of two pennyweights, being slightly heavier than 3 grams, and were forged of 9 carat gold rather than the traditional 22 carat.  These rings, which guaranteed their gold content and compliance with the wartime regulations, were hallmarked with a special utility mark adjacent to the mark for the year on the inside of the band.


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