Since immemorial times, people have chosen to mark important occasions in their life by wearing and offering to each other various jewelry items. Among such events, probably the most important one is the wedding, marked by the exchange of wedding rings between the bride and the groom. A wedding ring or band is a ring, usually made from a precious metal, worn by a person to indicate their marital status. Varying on local customs, the wedding ring is worn on the base of either the right or the left ring finger. Although originally customary only in Europe and limited only to wives, the tradition of wearing a wedding ring has spread widely throughout the world and in addition, the ring started to be worn by the husband as well.
The wedding ring is the final item in a chain of gifts exchanged by a couple, being offered after the engagement ring or other tokens that represent the feelings of the persons involved. This custom has been in place ever since Antiquity or even further back, and it is thought to have started in Rome. The aforementioned chain of gifts may contain, beyond the engagement and wedding rings, other gifts such as the pre-engagement ring, which marks the beginning of a serious phase in the relationship, and the eternity ring, offered as a token of renewing the feelings and values of a marriage or relationship. One popular European tradition promotes the engraving of the date of the marriage and the name of the intended wearer on the inside of the wedding ring. This act is thought of as strengthening the value of the bond represented by the rings.
It is universally customary that the future groom offers his bride a ring, usually adorned with a diamond, when asking her for marriage. After the wedding takes place, both the engagement and the wedding ring are worn on the ring finger, with the wedding ring the closest to the hand. It is only natural that the rings match in their design. In addition, they are often intertwined or bound together to form one ring.
Even though the wedding ring was initially associated with the exchange of a valuable object at the moment of the wedding between the persons involved, its meaning has evolved to become a symbol of everlasting love and devotion to one another. The initial meaning stems as a reminiscence of the times when marriage was considered a union between two families, rather than two people. Both the involved families wanted to assure the prosperity of the newlywed couple, so valuable wedding rings where used as a mark of such intent.
The exchange of an engagement ring is a popular custom mainly in the US – in some European cultures, the engagement ring is the same as the wedding ring, and the change in status is reflected by modifying the engraving and switching the hand on which it is worn. One other possibility is that the couple skips offering an engagement ring altogether.
The preferred metal when it comes to crafting wedding rings is gold. In certain cultures, it is customary to offer a silver ring to mark the 25th wedding anniversary that is worn along with the initial wedding ring. Obviously, other metals can be crafted into or used in manufacturing wedding rings, like platinum, rhodium (usually for plating) or white gold, but these are less common.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with the symbolism and the traditions associated with wedding rings, let’s discuss the decisional process involved in choosing one for your wedding. If you feel anxious about choosing the wedding ring, then you should follow the simple tips we are going to provide below to make the most out of this. It should be a fun activity, another opportunity to further bond with your future spouse.
The first step should be establishing a budget for your weddings rings, as it will narrow down the search solely to rings you can afford. Related to your budget is the decision whether you want a simple ring or a wedding ring adorned with precious stones. Obviously, a wedding ring with a precious stone will have a higher cost than a simple one, especially if the gemstone of choice is the diamond.
If you have chosen to go with a gemstone-adorned wedding ring, then you need to know a few things about the characteristics of the precious stone. Four features evaluate most gemstones: clarity, carat, color and cut. Being aware of what these are will make your decision easier and will let the jeweler know that you have at least minimum knowledge of what you want. The clarity rating of a gemstone is given by the number and visibility of the inclusions, or imperfections it has. The clearer the gemstone is, the higher the price will be. Another factor influencing cost is the carat, which defines the weight and size of the gemstone. The color obviously describes the shade of the stone, while the cut refers to its shape and facets. Gemstone cuts include names such as “princess”, “emerald”, “heart” or “pear.”
It is common practice, although ultimately a personal decision, to buy matching rings for both yourself and your spouse. Among the numerous possibilities of metals, like gold, white gold, platinum or titanium, and designs, you are bound to find something that matches the preferences of both of you.
Another important aspect to consider is to choose a ring that fits your personality, your current jewelry and your lifestyle. If you are a rather traditional person, then a simple gold wedding ring will probably fit best. However, if you prefer a modern style in your apparel, then an exotic ring, like one sporting titanium and black diamonds, will definitely match your personality.
In order to blend the wedding ring with the jewelry you are currently wearing, make sure the metal of your ring fits in with the rest. For example, if you wear sterling silver, then a platinum or a white gold wedding ring will match its color.
The final point in the above enumeration refers to choosing a wedding ring to fit lifestyle. Make sure to decide upon a ring that is appropriate for your work and you can wear throughout your daily routine.
In the end, you need to remember that the wedding ring must be a personal choice. The perfect wedding ring is one that fully matches your preferences. You should allot plenty of time to choose your wedding ring, as it is a piece of jewelry you will wear for the rest of your life, as a symbol of your marital status and a token of love and devotion to your spouse.