THE HISTORY & SYMBOLISM OF AN ENGAGEMENT RING
For centuries, couples around the world have been symbolising their unconditional love for one another with a beautiful diamond engagement ring. Discover the fascinating history of the wedding ring and why it has become a customary way to showcase your love and commitment.
Discover the fascinating history of the wedding ring
THE HISTORY & FIRST EXCHANGE OF A WEDDING RING
Did you know the first wedding ring dates back to 3000 years ago? The first recorded evidence of a formal exchange of rings between two people was found in ancient Egyptian. Writings, better known as papyrus scrolls featured couples exchanging rings made of hemp or reeds. These rings generally didn’t last long and were replaced by either leather or ivory. The more expensive the material, the more love was shown to the person receiving the ring. In addition, the type of material also represented the net worth of the giver. Documented evidence showed that these rings symbolised everlasting love and commitment between two people – the circle of the ring represented no beginning and no end. The inside of the ring symbolised the future, which still applies to the symbol of rings today.
The history of wedding rings date back to 3 000 years
THE HISTORY OF THE WEDDING RING IN ANCIENT ROME
In Ancient Rome, the groom would represent his future bride with an iron ring. This gesture started the trend of using precious metals in our wedding bands today. The durable metal represents permanence and strength, representing the bond of the couple. Evidence dates back that Romans were the first to engrave their metal rings. The Romans, as well as the Greeks, wore the symbolic ring on the fourth finger on the left, as we wear it today. The ring finger, as we know it today was believed to contain the vena amoris, a vein that leads straight to the heart. When the ring was placed on the ‘vein of love’ it represented the sacred union formed between two people. Up until today, a beautiful engagement ring symbolises the unconditional love between couples. Explore the fascinating history of a diamond engagement ring and how the design progressed through the years here.
- FUN FACT – Even though South Africans wear their diamond engagement ring on their left-hand ring finger, most European couples wear their rings on their right hand. Why? The theory has it the ring will get less damaged due to most people being right-handed.
Iron rings were given to brides to symbolise unity between the wife and the husband
WEDDING RING DURING THE RENAISSANCE PERIOD
Gimmel ring Gimmel rings known as a ring consisting of two interlocking parts, were extremely popular during the 16th and 17th century. After a couple got married, each one would take one part of the ring to wear. The ceremony included the groom taking the ring and placing it on the bride’s finger, reuniting the matched set. During the Renaissance period, highly ornate sterling silver poesy rings made their introduction to the market. Many other cultures during this time period encouraged the exchange of wedding rings to symbolise the unity between two people; the Hindu bichiya introduced the toe ring while people from West Bengal exchanged iron bangle.
- FUN FACT – Before the rise of diamond jewellery, husbands from Puritan Colonial America gave their brides thimble to symbolise their love.
During the Renaissance period, highly ornate sterling silver poesy rings made their introduction to the market
THE HISTORY OF THE WEDDING RING & THE IMPACT IT HAD ON MODERN PROPOSALS
Today, a diamond engagement ring is a perfect way to represent your commitment and unconditional love to one another. A diamond is one of the hardest substances known to man, symbolising the unity of forever. In addition, the precious diamond can be carried on from one generation to the next – the perfect way for loved ones to remember the sacred bond their parents and great grandparents shared back in the day.
- FUN FACT – Did you know in many cultures only the woman was expected to wear a wedding ring? It was only during World War II that men started wearing wedding rings in a way to remember their wives back at home.
A diamond is one of the hardest substances known to man
Are you planning a trip to Cape Town? Make sure to visit the Cape Town Diamond Museum for more fascinating facts about engagement rings and the remarkable beauty of a diamond. The 45-minute tour through the Cape Town Diamond Museum will take you back 3.3 billion years ago, to when the journey all began. This personally guided tour should not be missed when visiting the Mother City.