Wedding rings: how they became the symbol of marriage


It’s a well-known tradition that rings are exchanged during wedding ceremonies to solidify the newlywed’s commitment to one another. While many simply accept this as ‘the thing to do’ they are actually unaware of the reasoning behind it and the significance of the rings. How did this tradition start? And what do the rings symbolise? We find out more below.

What is the history of the wedding ring?

It is said that rings have been a symbol of marriage for centuries. There are many old wives tales surrounding the exchanging of rings dating back to prehistoric times, but most anthropologists think this was firmly adopted in Roman times. It was during this period that legal requirements for weddings and divorce first came into fruition, which stated that people must have the legal right to wed. For instance, people who were already married, blood relatives and those under a certain age could not be wed. This is why the giving of engagement rings came to the forefront, as is showed that the couple had lawfully entered into a marital contract.

What do rings symbolise?

In modern times, rings are said to symbolise a couple’s never-ending love for one another. This is because the circular shape of the ring has no beginning or end, and therefore serves as a symbol of their eternal bond. Many couples also use it as a way to display their commitment to their spouse and the rest of the world. The ring shows that you are committed to remain faithful for the rest of your life, which is why couples usually say their vows during the exchanging of rings. Once this part of the ceremony is complete and you have placed rings on one another’s fingers, you are showing that you will be together from that moment onwards.

Why are diamonds significant?

There are several reasons why diamonds have become the stone of choice for both engagement and wedding rings. Firstly, their exceptional beauty and sparkle makes them an attractive choice. But more importantly, diamonds are the hardest and strongest mineral on earth and are almost impossible to destroy. For this reason, diamonds have become a widespread symbol of everlasting and unconditional love.

What about the metal band?

The metal band is also significant. The physical structure of the ring is typically made from gold or platinum which are particularly hardy and tough metals. This means they are incredibly hard to crack, symbolising the unwavering love the married couple have for one another. Just like the ring, their love will never break.

Why do we wear them on the left hand?

Engagement and wedding rings have been worn on the third finger of the left hand for hundreds of years. But why? Again, this position dates back to Roman times, when people believed that the vein of this finger was connected straight to the heart. While this has not been scientifically proven, this is still the main reason why we wear wedding rings on this finger.

What to consider if you’re buying an engagement or wedding ring

Are you about to purchase an engagement or wedding ring? This may be one of the most important purchases of your life. It’s a significant investment so it’s important to get it right. Try to stick to the 4 C’s when choosing a diamond ring: cost, cut, clarity and condition. Only buy what you can afford, choose a cut that suits your/their style, opt for the clearest diamond you can, and ensure it’s in great condition. If you follow the 4 C’s, you can’t go far wrong.

Our editorial staff includes people with different professional backgrounds who share a passion for writing and who want to create and develop a dialogue with their readers and with the world.

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