Wedding & Engagement Rings: Where Did It All Start?
Updated: Jan 27
The wedding ring: a simple band of metal, yet it holds the weight of a lifetime of love and commitment. Wedding rings are a globally accepted tradition for marriage, yet most people aren't sure where they came from. Turns out that the history comes from all different times and places, starting in ancient times with the meanings and traditions evolving throughout millennia. Somewhere, engagement rings became a part of the tradition: read on to learn more!
Let's go all the way to the beginning: the earliest known use of 'wedding rings' dates back to ancient Egypt. These rings were made of a variety of materials, including reeds and hemp, and were worn on the fourth finger of the left hand, which was believed to have a vein that ran directly to the heart. So you can thank your lucky Egyptian stars for that tradition. The rings were also seen as a symbol of eternity, as the circular shape had no beginning or end.
Not a wedding ring, but a functional Roman "Key" ring from the 1st century
Ancient Rome took a bit of a different twist. The first Roman wedding rings were made of iron and were a symbol of ownership and control. The ring was worn by the woman, and the husband had the right to take it off and give it to another woman if he wished to divorce his wife. However, by the Middle Ages, the meaning of the wedding ring had begun to shift, and it became a symbol of love and commitment between partners: people during this time started experimenting with different metals such as silver and gold.