The symbolism of a wedding ring is timeless and romantic. The circular shape of the wedding ring was seen by the ancient Egyptians as a powerful symbol of eternity, a suggestion which is still appreciated today. Limitless and contained at the same time, circle represents endless love. The wedding rings were adopted by Jewish and Christian people, who wore them on the fourth finger of the left hand.
The history of wedding rings can be traced back to the Ancient Egyptian period, when rings (made from reeds, hemp, and later metal) were worn to symbolise commitment. Iron bands, as well as gold and silver, began to be worn in the Ancient Greek and Roman periods as part of the marriage ceremony. During the Medieval era in Europe, the fede ring rose in popularity. These early wedding rings depicted two clasped hands, sometimes made in three separate bands attached with a hinge to open and close. The design of two clasped hands was also carved as intaglios, which were then set into wedding rings. The fede motif evolved into the Claddagh ring, which depicts a pair of hands clasping a heart in the centre. Claddagh rings came in many forms and were often adorned with gems.
Before the 12th century, rings were not always a necessary part of the wedding ceremony. By the 12th century, marriage was declared a holy sacrament by the Christian church, and the giving of a wedding ring to a woman by a man became common practice. However, men did not start wearing wedding bands until the 20th century, when soldiers during the Second World War began wearing them as a way to remember their wives back home. Today, three interlocking bands representing faith, hope and love are sometimes used in France and Russia, whereas a single gold band is more often used in the United Kingdom.
At present, it is traditional for a betrothal to be marked by an engagement ring, followed by an exchange of wedding bands at the wedding which are worn by both partners of the marriage. The majority of Bentley & Skinner’s wedding bands are custom made in the thickness, shape, and precious metal of your choice. Custom hand engraving can be undertaken inside your wedding band.
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