The ancient Egyptians started the origin of wearing wedding rings as far back as 6000 years ago. In those days the rings were constructed from hemp or reeds and exchanged between the spouses. The rings were considered as a symbol of eternity and everlasting love. These wedding rings brought about the culture of wearing the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand. This was because the ancient Egyptians believed that there was a special connection between this finger and the heart.
The modern tradition of wearing a wedding ring dates back to these times for wives. It was only during the twentieth century that the custom included wearing a wedding ring for husbands.
It is also interesting that wedding rings are among the few items that prisoners are allowed to wear.
Different wedding ring styles through the ages
Popular in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries for husbands to give their wives were gimmel rings. Gimmel rings are rather like puzzle rings, only the gimmel consists of two interlocking bands, whereas puzzles are usually at last three banded. The way it worked was that the couple each wore one of the bands upon engagement and reunited the two bands at the wedding ceremony. The wife then wore the ring combination.
A ring style popular during the Renaissance era was the poesy ring. This was a band of sterling silver that had inscribed a poem or” poesy.”
At that time in the Middle East, the custom was for the wife to wear a complicated and difficult to take off puzzle ring. Meaning, that the husband would be aware if the ring was taken off the finger! Another historical custom was the wearing of a fede ring. This was a band featuring two hands clasped in betrothal.
Modern double-ring exchange
At the wedding nuptials, similar plain rings are exchanged by both spouses. In the Nordic countries as well as in several others, plain engagement rings are exchanged, and a more precious jewelled ring, particularly of diamonds, is also given to the bride.
From the 19th century, it has become the custom for both the bride and groom to wear a wedding ring in Germany. As well, in the Netherlands, couples exchanging rings during the wedding ceremony has found to be dated back to 1815.