Traditionally, couples exchange wedding bands during the wedding ceremony. But why? Why are wedding bands worn by both partners? Who made the decision that a ring would symbolize undying love? Is there really a vein that runs from the fourth finger on the left hand directly to the heart?
History of the Wedding Band
The ancient Egyptians are credited with beginning the tradition of a groom giving his bride a ring on their wedding day. The circular shape of a ring, with no beginning or end, is said to symbolize eternity and undying love. The Egyptians used reeds or braided hemp as the material of choice for their rings, and it wasn’t until the Romans picked up the custom that metal became popular.
The Romans often made their wedding bands of iron or other strong metals. A wedding ring became known as a public display of the marital contract, and it was presented to a woman as a token and symbol of “ownership.” The tradition didn’t reach Christian wedding ceremonies until around the 9th century, where it evolved into a band made of precious metals like gold, which we still see today.
Contemporary Wedding Band Traditions
The tradition of both partners wearing wedding rings is actually a very new concept. In fact, it wasn’t until after World War II that it became popular for men to wear wedding bands regularly. This is mostly credited to the large amount of young, married men who found themselves on the battlefield and away from their spouses. They decided to wear rings as a constant and tangible reminder of who was waiting for them at home. Since then, it has become common to see men donning the symbolic piece of jewelry.
Wedding Band Myths
As for the vein running to the heart from the fourth finger on the left hand, it is in fact a myth (albeit, a nice thought). Different cultures wear wedding bands on other fingers for various reasons, but the most common is still the left ring finger. There are many theories as to why this is, but the most likely is that since most people are right-handed, the ring was put on the left hand and on the least used finger to prevent the ring from being easily damaged.
When it comes to wedding bands and engagement rings, DGSE has a wide selection to choose from! Come by any of our Dallas area locations or check out our vast online selection of beautiful wedding jewelry to find your own symbol of eternal love.