The History of the Wedding Band

Did you know that wedding bands have been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians?  At that time the bands were made from reeds.  Later they began to be made of metal due to its durability and strength, perfect symbols for a couple’s commitment to each other.  Not until Roman times did the wearing of a band become customary as a public pledge to honor the marriage contract.  Simple iron rings were worn as wedding bands until the medieval age when gold rings set with gemstones became fashionable.  The gems most commonly used were rubies with their red color symbolizing the heart, sapphires where the blue color reflected the heavens and diamonds for their indestructibility.  The word diamond actually comes from the Greek word “adamas” which means “the unconquerable.”

It was not always customary for both the bride and groom to receive rings. It was the Greek Orthodox that introduced the idea of wedding bands for grooms.  This custom did not come over to the United States until the beginning of World War II.  During that time many couples got married in anticipation of their separation, before the men had to go off to war.  The bride and groom exchanged bands which became solace for the lonely soldiers and for the brides, reminders that their faraway soldier was thinking of them always.   Dual ring ceremonies still continue to be the norm today in the United States.

The practice of wearing wedding bands occurs throughout most of the world but the look of the bands and the meanings they carry differ from country to country. In Russia since the early 19th century it has been very common for wedding bands to be made of three intertwining gold bands, one of rose gold, one of yellow gold and one of white gold.  These three intertwined bands symbolize the Holy Trinity for the Russian Orthodox Christian population.

They also represent the three vital components of marriage: husband, wife and God.

In Russia a wedding band is worn on the right hand.

In India, wedding bands are always made of 18k or 22k gold.  As  gold symbolizes beauty, superiority and attractiveness in India,  the more -pure -gold wedding band symbolizes the bride herself.  The pure gold band also represents a long lasting marriage since pure gold was believed to last longer than lower karats of gold.

In India the wedding band is worn on the right hand.

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