With the wedding season upon us, many couples will be exchanging wedding rings over the next few months. Which means many women will have received engagement rings from their soon to be husbands or wives in the not too distant past. When did this tradition start, and what is the meaning behind the engagement rings women wear?
The history behind the engagement ring
Engagement rings have long been worn by women to show they were betrothed and intended to marry. Although the Greeks are thought to have used wedding bands, engagement rings are thought to date back to Roman times when they were used in place of giving the bride to be a gift or money.
Traditionally, these rings were simple metal bands, with commoners wearing iron rings and the aristocracy wearing gold or silver rings. In 1477, this changed when Archduke Maximilian gave his fiancé a diamond engagement ring, setting a trend which continues to this day.
The symbolism of the engagement ring
As rings are a circle, they are representative of eternity because they have no start and no end, making them a sacred symbol in many cultures. Engagement rings were given, then, to show a groom’s commitment to his bride and the promise of eternal love. They were also part of a bride’s dowry and used to show not only that she was taken and not to be pursued, but her social status and that of her groom. They were placed on the ring finger of the left hand because the Romans believed this finger held the vein of love and was closest to the heart.
In recent years, people have been adding their own symbolism to their engagement rings, turning to ring designers such as
https://www.comparethediamond.com/diamond-engagement-rings to help them turn their dreams into reality. These rings might contain elements specific to them, the date of their first meeting might be engraved into the band for example.
Other couples are passing down rings that have been in the family for years because there is a personal meaning attached or choosing rings that represent their culture, which can be seen in the use of Celtic rings for example. And, finally, rings are being selected because they define the relationship itself, with three stones for the couple’s past, present and future life together.