The tradition of wedding rings can be traced back to the Ancient Romans. The Romans believed that the ring should be worn on the 4th finger on the left hand, as it was thought a vein existed in that finger which was directly connected to the heart. This vein ‘vena amoris‘ or ‘vein of love’ would soon be disproved by science. As much as the romantic in you may want it to be, there is not a vein in your left-hand ring finger that connects directly to your heart.
Left Hand or Right Hand
Western and Asian countries continued with the Ancient Roman tradition of placing their rings on the 4th finger of the left hand. However, there are many countries that didn’t follow this tradition; Norway, Russia, Greece, Denmark, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Austria, Spain and Portugal wear their wedding ring on their right hand.
Ring Details and Design
Since Ancient Roman times, designs and materials have changed over time and as culture and industry have evolved. Rings originally started with a full circle representing an unbreakable bond. From then on, design elements were added to the ring that represented different cultural values or to signify the couples love for one another.
The Greeks and Romans used signet rings, as a personal signature. Greeks would also feature Eros, the god of love or cherubs on their rings that they would give to the ones they loved.
It was the Romans who created a wedding ring that was seen as forming an agreement, a ring for marriage. These rings are called “fede” rings and feature two hands clasped together, as a sign of two individuals joining together. Fede rings were made from solid gold, stone, garnet, aquamarine and other stones that were available in those times.
It was during this period that customisation became popular, with embellishments such as carvings of the couple being added to the rings. As Christianity grew, couples would have crosses carved into their rings or incorporated into their portrait on the ring, to signify their faith.
Posy rings were first worn in the 15th century. These rings incorporated a wording, either a short verse or a poem. These rings forced goldsmiths to advance in their craft and learn new engraving skills. Engravings inside rings meant that messages became more private and closer to those who wore them.
Modern Day Wedding Rings
Today’s wedding rings are mostly made of gold, silver, palladium, titanium, tungsten and platinum and are dependent on a person’s individual tastes. However, more traditional materials like leather or other types of metal can be used to create wedding rings. The modern-day ‘posy’ ring may contain a small message or include the date of a couple’s wedding, engraved inside as a sentimental reminder.
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