Wedding rings: Their origin, changes over time, and diamonds in rings!

Rings and weddings go together. No wedding is complete without the wedding rings. But where did this association started? How did this culture of rings come in weddings? How did this all originate? And also why only the left ring finger is reserved for wedding ring?

History of wedding rings

Wedding rings dates back to ancient Egypt 6000 years back. In those days, couples used to exchange rings made of braided reed or hemp. Archaeologists have found the relics and papyrus scrolls which depict this practice.  It was circular always and was to represent the eternal love and commitment of the couple. Just like the circle which has no beginning and no end.

Wedding rings history [Source: Medium]
And the wearing of wedding ring on the 4th finger of the left hand also started at around the same time. The ancient people of Egypt strongly believed that this finger had a special vein which is directly connected to the heart. Hence this symbol of love is put on the same finger. In Latin, this special vein is called Vena amoris or vein of love.

Changes in rings over time

As time went by, couples and societies realized that reed and hemp rings did not last. They started looking for more durable material to make rings. Therefore, they switched to leather rings and later bone and ivory materials were used to make the rings. Later they settled for metals. And then they began to get more costly and metals with a high price were used.

Wedding rings with Jesus and couple images [Source: Pinterest]
This practice then spread to ancient Rome and Greece. With the spread of Christianity, Europe also adopted this practice. Romans made their wedding rings with iron to imply strength and permanence. They also had personalized rings with images of the couple carved in the metal. There was in some rings Jesus or cross in between the couple images. Each generation saw some popular rings such as interlocking bands of 16th and 17th centuries.

First diamond ring

The first diamond ring started in Rome in the late 100s AD. Uncut diamond ring was used at that time. Due to their strength, diamonds were considered valuable gems. But since there was no proper tools to cut and shape it, the rings did not look very impressive even though expensive. In 1475, Costanzo Sforza and Camilla D’Aragona from Italy wore the first diamond rings at their wedding. The wedding inscription said:

“Two wills, two hearts, two passions are bonded in one marriage by a diamond.”

Newer wedding rings [Source: Pompeii3]
Diamonds were used more but it was De Beers’ campaign of 1948 which said ‘Diamond is forever’ that diamonds became an integral part of wedding rings. First, only the wife used to wear the wedding rings. But during World War II, more and more men started wearing it to the battlefields. This was to display their commitment and remember their wives when far away from them. Korean War also this same practice and after than both parties wear wedding rings. Silicon rings are also available for wearing during sports, exercising, and during travel.