Why Wear a Wedding Ring?

Where did this marriage symbol come from? Why is the fourth finger of your left hand the lucky recipient?

Wedding rings

It is thought that the wedding ring has its origins in ancient Egypt where circles were used to symbolise eternity, but wearing a ring as a public pledge to honour marriage did not become customary until Roman times. Early rings were made of iron, but gold rings set with gems were fashionable by medieval days. Gems were symbolic with a red ruby representing the heart, a blue sapphire symbolising the heavens – but the most coveted and powerful gem was the indestructible diamond.

Diamond Rings

As nature’s hardest substance, diamonds represented invincible strength, which is a very fitting symbol for marriage. But the real pull of these sparkly stones came from the powers and protection they offered the wedding-rings-photo-2013-wedding-ring-on-hand-670x350wearer. Archduke Maximilian of Austria, started the diamond ring trend in 1477 when he presented one to his beloved, Mary of Burgundy. The tradition of wearing the engagement ring and wedding band on the fourth finger of the left hand came from the Egyptians, who believed the vein of love ran directly from the heart to the top of this finger.

Wedding Bands for the Groom

Dual-ring ceremonies, in which both bride and groom wear a ring, were introduced by the Greek Orthodox Church and the custom didn’t catch on in the UK until the beginning of World War II, when young men were forced to leave their beloveds behind, not knowing when and if they would return. Many couples married in anticipation of separation, and wedding bands — one for each partner — were considered critical to the war effort, as a solace to lonely soldiers and as a reminder for brides that their faraway soldier thought of them always.


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