Not just a mere object to adorn a finger, the ring has been a powerful symbol throughout history. Its circular shape and its banding to the body have given it meaning – from the magical to the practical. Rings have represented the cycle of life, the sun and moon and in the case of engagement rings, eternal love.
Although we now mostly associate the diamond, with its nearly indestructible properties, as the symbol of eternal love, it was first the plain ring that represented the promise of companionship. Today we still honor the plain ring as wedding bands, although the diamond engagement ring is seen as a more important or more powerful symbol of a man’s love for his bride.
There is some evidence to suggest that the first wedding rings used by ancient peoples were actually ropes that held a woman as property and that is why the symbolic ring remained a part of our tradition. Rings may also have been used to signify ownership to men or tribes, and the exchange of rings signified the passing of the daughter of one clan to another.
The customs of ancient people are under debate, but it is known that the firs wedding bands in recorded history were used by the Romans. These bands were usually made of iron, although more wealthy Romans may have used more expensive metals like copper, silver or gold.
In 1477, the Archduke Maximilian of
The discovery of vast diamond deposits in South America, especially in
Today, the diamond engagement ring is regarded by most as an essential part of the act of getting married. There are many styles, shapes and types of rings to choose from and diamonds to fit almost any budget. The modern wedding ring has spawned a global business of retailers, crafters, miners and importers. And to think it all began with a simple little bit of rope.