Most people know that a wedding ring is symbolic of the bond of love and commitment between two people. But not everyone knows about the history behind this small yet powerful symbol. The history of the wedding ring goes back not just hundreds but thousands of years. No other currently practiced wedding tradition has been around as long.
The Egyptians were the first recorded civilization to use the wedding ring. In Egyptian hieroglyphics a circle represented eternity. Once a woman accepted the ring she became the "property" of the person who gave it to her and she was in a sense "his." The first wedding ring could have been made of braided grass or hay (which would have been changed often), ivory, bone, or leather. Eventually, metal was used, but the first wedding bands were crude and lumpy. However, the sentiment remained the same-eternal commitment and love.
The Egyptians wore the wedding ring on the left hand because it was believed that a vein in the left hand went straight to the heart. This tradition is still commonly practiced today in most parts of the world largely for practical purposes (most people are right handed.) It is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. But there are some countries and groups which do not follow this tradition. In the Jewish faith, the wedding ring is put on the index finger. Roman Catholics traditionally wore their wedding band on the right hand, and in many countries and regions in Europe some people still follow this tradition.
It is interesting to note that in the long history of the wedding ring that it is only in the last century that men have begun to wear them. However, now both men and women show their love and commitment by exchanging rings on their wedding day.
Once you begin shopping for rings you may be amazed by the choices that await you. There are several different types of metals: traditional gold, white gold, platinum, and titanium. You can have an inscription put on the inside of the band if you like. Some people are even choosing a tattoo band. The styles vary from a simple, yet elegant band to an elaborate ring covered with jewels. If you do not buy the wedding and engagement rings as a set you will want to be sure the styles are compatible. Choose carefully because this choice will need to stand the test of eternity.