For hundreds of years, rings have been part of getting married in many cultures. Their significance, however, is much more than their financial value. They symbolize many things: a never-ending connection because it is a circle; the unique connection between two people; a signal to everyone that you’re committed to someone else; the tangible reminder of a solemn promise and more.
Let’s dive into the historical significance of wedding rings and what they mean.
The Ancient Egyptian Marriage Ring
It is believed that the earliest examples of wedding rings were in Egypt over 6,000 years ago. The circle has always been a symbol of eternity thus the ring signified the perpetual love between two people. Initially, the rings were made from fragile reeds and hemp before then being carved from bone, ivory or leather. The Egyptians also believed the ring finger of the left hand enclosed a vein that leads to the heart, thus the origination of the ring placement.
Ancient Rome and Metal Bands
It was likely Ancient Rome that solidified the engagement, marriage and divorce institutions we know today. The Romans enacted laws around these events including who was allowed to be married, minimum age and parental consent. A woman would receive two iron bands to signify her ownership from her father to her husband. One band would be worn at home and the other, later to be made from or plated in gold, would be worn in public to reveal the owner’s wealth. The Romans may have also been one of the first cultures to engrave loving messages into their rings.
During Elizabethan times and the Renaissance, interlocking rings became highly popular. Gimmel rings were betrothal rings that each partner would wear as a symbol of their engagement. After the wedding, the bride would wear both rings. There’s a beautiful 16th-century example of a gimmel ring at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC made from rubies, emeralds and gold. The inscription says “Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.” Another symbolic example of interlocking two people is the fede ring or the Irish Claddagh ring. The word ‘fede’ can be translated to “hands in faith”.
What Does Your Wedding Ring Symbolize?
The historical significance of wedding rings may only touch on the symbolism of your own wedding ring. To you, your ring could symbolize love lost or promises broken – especially if you’re going through a divorce. You may also have broken off all emotional value to your ring and never even look at it anymore.
Either way, if you’re considering getting it valued or even selling your wedding rings, you need to work with a company that understands its significance and symbolism. At the very least, its financial value could help you pay off a few things. At the most, you’ll have an idea of what it’s worth so you can weigh that against the promise of sharing it with your children.
Another interesting fact about wedding rings? The hole in the center represents a gateway to the future. Consider that as a symbolic invitation to make your future yours.
Roman Engagement and Wedding Rings – https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-ancient-traditions/roman-engagement-and-wedding-rings-joining-hands-and-hearts-007644
Wedding Rings – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedding_ring
The origins of wedding rings and why they’re worn on the 4th finger of the left hand – https://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/09/the-origin-of-wedding-rings-and-why-theyre-worn-on-the-4th-finger-of-the-left-hand/
Fede, Claddagh, Gimmel and Puzzle rings – https://www.elderandbloom.com/articles/2017/1/7/fede-claddagh-gimmel-and-puzzle-rings
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