Wedding rings are often overlooked and an afterthought compared to the engagement ring. A wedding ring is the epitome of devotion and loyalty; exchanged after vows, you and your betrothed will wear it everyday for the rest of your lives, so it should be more than just a gold band. So here is our rough overview on the history and importance of the humble ring.
WHY DO WE WEAR WEDDING BANDS?
Having a physical symbol of your relationship status for everyone to see seems strange – especially in the 21st Century. The wedding and engagement ring industry is worth billions, and it is fair to say that declaring your everlasting love and commitment with precious metals, gemstones and jewels isn’t cheap. The exchange of wedding bands is a very old practice – this tradition dates back 4,800 years ago in ancient Egypt. Couples would braid sedges, reeds and rushes with papyrus into rings, for women to wear as a symbol of ownership. In Egypt, the circle was a symbol of eternity – this ring displayed a never ending partnership, (this is also where the eternity ring name derived). Ever since, the wedding band has had cultural significance in dozens of countries – it is one of the few personal items that inmates can take into prison with them.
WHY ARE WEDDING BANDS PLAIN?
The aesthetic of wedding rings has changed throughout history, with Gimmel rings being the popular choice during the 16th and 17th century, and Posey rings being a sought after throughout the Renaissance period. During World War Two, the UK’s wartime restrictions meant that the manufacturing of rings was limited to the maximum mass just over three grams. They were seen as a utility, and were forged from nine carat gold instead of 22 carat. The band was left plain, and The Regional Assayer Office hallmarked these rings with a special utility mark (resembling a capital ‘U’), adjacent to the mark for the year on the inside of the band, guaranteeing their gold content and compliance with the wartime regulations.
The perpetuity of these precious metals are symbolic of the sanctity of marriage. The plain exterior allows for personalised engraving that are of significance to the couple in question. The most traditional wedding ring is the simple gold wedding band, with no pattern or design. However, more recently engraved rings, or wedding bands adorned with precious gemstones or diamonds have become a more popular and fashionable choice. For example, this beautiful ring below:
WHY CHOOSE A PLAIN WEDDING BAND?
Whilst there is nothing wrong with a bejewelled or engraved wedding ring, many save it for the engagement ring. There are also numerous benefits when it comes to choosing plain wedding bands. Without the jewels, and other embellishments, the band is able to shine on its own. So why should you choose a plain wedding ring?
- They are easy to refinish.
- They can easily be reworked, unlike other rings.
- Available in a variety of karats.
- Can be customised to make them more unique.
- They pair beautifully with other rings.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN BUYING A WEDDING BAND
The number one thing to get right is the sizing and the thickness. Since you will be wearing it on a daily basis it needs to be comfortable to wear. To loose and it’ll increase the chances of slipping off, causing damage or getting lost. Make sure you absolutely get the sizing right before purchasing and if you’re unsure our team will be able to advise.
You could consider a bridal set. A bridal set consists of an engagement ring and matching band for the bride, leaving the groom on his own for his band. Outside of the jewellery industry, the term wedding set is commonly used for both. The bride has the option of wear both rings on the finger, giving her the best of both worlds.
If you would like to see more bands, we have a catalogue of rings which you can find here. If you need any help you can get in touch using the form below, or popping into one of stores in Hatton Garden – we have an expert team of staff that is ready to help.