The wedding ring is the accepted standard of the ultimate symbol of marriage. The custom of wearing a wedding ring goes back to the Egyptians, who used reeds and other vegetation to make the ring.
The Egyptians believed that the ring symbolised the un ending circle, that obviously was representative of the fact that the marriage is for ever.
The Romans continued this tradition, but instead of vegetation, they used iron rings instead. Not only was the iron ring longer lasting, which is also a symbol of the fact that a marriage is supposed to last for ever, but it is also a representation of strength, which a marriage is also supposed to be.
The Romans also believed that their was a vein in the left hand ring finger, that led straight to the heart, and therefore it became the custom that all wedding rings would be worn on this finger, so that the person wearing it would always feel the marriage close to their heart.
Another more practical reason for the wedding ring being on the left hand, was the fact that most of the world is left handed, and therefore it is less likely that a ring or the jewels within it, would be damaged or scraped, as a person went about their work duties.
Another big step towards the rings we see today, was the introduction of the gold wedding ring. This was for two reasons:
1, Softer. Gold is a softer metal and is therefore a lot less harsh on the skin. The idea that your wedding ring irritates your skin, could be seen as a sign, that the marriage is in poor health, and therefore by having a ring that suits the skin, would make the marriage seem a lot more comfortable and happy.
2, Rustles. Iron rings would eventually rust, which would not only leave a mark on and irritate the skin, but would again be a sign that the marriage is happy. The ring after all is the symbol of the marriage. If the symbol is in poor health, then the marriage would appear to be in poor health.
3, Priceless. Gold is expensive, due to the fact that it is rare and does not rust. The grander the ring, the higher the romantic value of the giving of the ring. The expense of the ring, is a symbol of how much the groom appreciates the bride. It was also in ancient times a great way for a man to coerce a woman into marriage. If a woman was poor, and man offered her a ring that she could never ever be able to afford, then it could be the tipping point to make her say yes. It could also be an indication of the way that she would be treat by the groom, in the years to come.
When looking at the wedding ring, it is interesting to see how its humble origins have grown into a multi billion dollar industry. What started as a romantic or spiritual thought, has almost been over taken by commercialism in the modern world. If you are to ignore that how ever, and learn about the history of this great tradition, you can still see the wedding ring as the most romantic object on the planet.
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