Ancient Egyptian scrolls depict couples presenting rings to each other. After braiding plant versions, they used stronger materials like leather, ivory, or stone to create rings. The more expensive the material, the more love was being shown. The Romans and Greeks adopted this same tradition, typically with the groom presenting an iron ring to his bride. The Romans were the first to engrave their bands and, along with the Greeks, to place rings on the fourth finger of the left hand. They believed that this finger contained a vein that ran straight to your heart. It’s why our “ring finger” remains the dominant location for both women and men to wear their wedding bands.
During the Renaissance, a gimmel ring made of two interlocking parts was popular. The bride and groom each wore a part of this joint ring during the engagement period. During the wedding ceremony, the groom would place his ring on the bride’s finger, reuniting the set and symbolically the couple together. In many cultures, women only wear a wedding ring, and this was actually commonplace in the United States after World War II. During that time, men serving overseas wore their wedding bands as a way to remember their wives back home and as a symbol of their commitment. Regardless of the time period or culture, wedding rings still represent the union of two people and the love they share.
An engagement ring is typically presented during a marriage proposal. It represents a couple’s intent to formalize their relationship in life-long partnership. Engagement rings can feature one dominant stone or be surrounded by smaller diamonds or precious gems.
A wedding ring, also known as a wedding band, is typically presented during the formal marriage ceremony when vows are exchanged. Traditionally, the wedding band was a simple metal ring made of yellow, white, or rose gold, or platinum. Today, many wedding rings contain diamonds or stones and, with the engagement ring, create a special piece of jewelry.
In many cultures, it’s less common to add a wedding band. In others, the wedding band, worn by both people, represents a couple’s commitment to one another. Whether you decide to wear a wedding ring is entirely up to you.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to selecting and wearing your wedding band. It’s helpful to consider metal color, design, fit, and how the diamonds are sourced. Many couples are more environmentally aware and consider lab-created diamonds as an option when creating their personal wedding ring style.
Grooms have more ring options than ever before. While typically more simple than women’s jewelry, men’s bands may include intricate details or have diamonds embedded into the band. Men should select a style that matches their personality and fits their lifestyle. If they work with their hands a lot, a more simple design made from a strong metal could be a better choice. Most men’s bands are made from gold, titanium, or tungsten carbide and the metal can be polished, hammered, brushed, or even hand-braided. Many couples often choose wedding rings that complement each other by matching the metal types.
Regardless of what style you choose, wedding rings are symbols of your commitment and love. That tradition will continue for thousands of more years.
Shopping for wedding bands can be confusing. Here are some common terms to help your research: