Engagement rings and wedding bands have definitely been one of the most meaningful pieces of jewelry since their invention. Both rings and bands have a history that goes back to Ancient times through many centuries and countries from all over the globe. Different peoples had different approach to these jewelry items: some cultures assumed wedding bands to be worn by women only, while others implied partner rings. However, all of them used bands as symbols of eternal love and life cycle.
Today there still exist men who refuse to wear wedding bands, since they believe that they are not obliged to display their marital status through jewelry. These guys refer to historical facts which prove that only women were supposed to wear rings, and that the entire idea of men’s wedding rings is a comparatively new concept. So, is there any historical background for this statement? To answer this question we are going to make a brief research on history of wedding bands and engagement rings below.
It is believed that the Egyptians were the first people to use rings as symbol of love and as a marital status indicator. The primeval bands were handcrafted out of hemp or reed that was found along the Nile River. Of course, the plant rings decayed and broke and had to be frequently replaced. Egyptian rings symbolized enduring love and life cycle, however, they did not present fidelity, since many of the ancient Egyptians were polygamous. After some time the plant bands were replaced by leather pieces and then bone and ivory. There is no evidence that men were also wearing wedding rings.
The Greeks under the leadership of Alexander the Great started wearing betrothal jewelry on ring fingers. They believed that this finger had a vein that ran directly to the heart. Later, this belief and the entire tradition was adopted by the Romans. They have even invented a Latin term for this vein: ‘vena amoris’, literally ‘vein of love’. Roman men did not wear bands, on the contrary, they claimed their women by giving precious rings to them.
Asians and Arabs
In Asian and Arabic culture wedding rings were mostly worn by women. The rings featured unique mechanism: the bands could fall apart and then put back together again. Although it was rather easy to make the ring fall apart, it was very hard to assemble it. Rich Middle Eastern men began to use these ‘puzzle rings’ as wedding rings: they forced their women to wear them when they had to leave for a long time. Upon their return, the husbands could tell which wife was trying to disobey and try to remove the ring.
Not long after Romans, wearing a wedding ring was considered as an ‘agreement’ between men and women. This ‘contract’ not only meant that the women were ‘occupied’, but also protected them from other men and rivals. In medieval Europe gold was the dominating metal used for wedding rings manufacturing. In the 17th century, silver rings was the most popular choice for betrothals. These rings were exceptionally popular in England, where they were also known as ‘poesy rings’: the bands were inscribed with a romantic quote or poem. There is a mention about these silver rings in the Shakespeare’s works. The Irish, in their turn, believed that in order to be lucky in marriage rings must me made exclusively of gold. For those couples who could not afford a golden ring, the church would ‘rent’ a band for the wedding ceremony and then reclaim it.
All jewelry pieces were banned in America during Colonial times. The precious, luxury jewelry items were prohibited because of their obvious moral worthlessness. To show their affection and love, women were given thimbles which were much more practical and cheap. This romantic item was carefully preserved by the bride. However, many women tried to remove the thimble’s bottom in order to form a makeshift ‘engagement thimble’. The more modern tradition of wearing
men’s wedding rings began during World War II, when soldiers would be far away from their wives for long periods of time.
As we can see, the history of men’s wedding rings is very exciting and intriguing, and the same is our designer rings for men selection. Experience relaxing shopping when checking the vast array of men’s jewelry at our online store.
Guest article written by Whiteflash.com – best provider of loose diamonds and engagement rings from Houston.