It is with you at work, when you eat and even when you're in the shower! The ring you wear on your left ring finger is not only a very powerful symbol of your union, it also has a deeper meaning.
A token of love and fidelity, the rings exchanged by new spouses are a remnant of an ancient tradition that dates back to Antiquity.
Beyond the simple jewel and the rite of passage, the wedding band represents a very significant commitment which has persisted through cultures and eras. We would like to take you on a journey through time and briefly explain the origins of wedding bands.
A ritual born in Antiquity
It was in ancient Egypt that the nuptial ritual known today—the exchange of rings between two lovers to mark their union—emerged. At that time, Egyptians already wore their wedding band on their left ring finger. According to their belief, an important vein directly connected this finger and the heart. Thus, in addition to sealing their union, the ring also had the power to bind the two lovers' hearts forever. Pretty romantic, huh?
This precious jewel has not always been customized to fit the desires and budget of the spouses. The rings were initially composed of very modest natural materials such as reed, hemp, wicker, leather, bones and ivory. The gold ring made its first appearance in ancient Rome, around the 13th century.
Since its birth in ancient Egypt, the tradition of exchanging rings has been perpetuated through time and evolved across countries and epochs.
From the Middle Ages to the 16th century, the wedding band was worn on the right hand, sometimes even on the thumb. This tradition was preserved in certain countries, where the new spouses still wear their precious jewel on the right ring finger. It is the case of Russians, Greeks, Hungarians, Poles and Spaniards, for example. If you travel in one of these countries, don't forget to switch you ring from left to right to avoid misunderstandings!
"Vena amoris", the vein of love
A ring worn on the left ring finger tells a lot about a person's relationship status. In fact, she could be engaged, married, or simply wearing a ring on this finger for aesthetics reasons—which could lead to some confusion among the interested parties...
Some say that the left ring finger is not exclusively reserved for engagement and marriage, and they are absolutely right. But why is this association collectively perpetuated?
As mentioned earlier, the Egyptians were convinced that the left ring finger was the part of the body most directly linked to the heart because of a vein found in that finger.
The Greeks named this vein the vena amoris, i.e. the vein of love. This belief, however, is not justified and cannot be demonstrated. As romantic as this theory sounds, there are unfortunately no veins that directly connect this finger to the heart. Nonetheless, the story behind the origins of this tradition is beautiful and somewhat moving.
The circle, a symbol of eternity
The circle shape of the ring, in addition to representing the union of two lovers and forever sealing their love, symbolizes eternity and infinity. Representing wholeness and unity, it also refers to the union of separate parts, which are the body and soul of the two spouses united as one through love.
Since the ring itself originally represented the union of two lovers, it had a pure design and was stripped of any pearls and gems. Only much later did the wedding band become a refined accessory composed of various metals and ornaments and customized to the tastes and desires of the spouses.
Of all the jewels that can be worn throughout a lifetime, the wedding band is one of inestimable value, regardless of the stone it bears or of the material it is made of. The destiny of two people is united forever and a beautiful story is materialized by two unique rings, is there a more tangible proof of love?
Despite the passage of time, distance, and hardship, as long as the spouses wear their wedding band, they will be united and forever marked by the eternal seal of love.
The engagement ring and the wedding band: important differences
It is in the 15th century that we began to distinguish the engagement ring from the wedding band. Even today, these two rings have very different meanings. First, the woman was offered, during the proposal, a first ring which indicated the upcoming commitment in anticipation of the official wedding ceremony. The design of this ring is often pure, with soft edges.
During the wedding ceremony, when the spouses are united before witnesses, they exchange a new ring, which is worn as a symbol of marriage. This ring, different from the engagement ring, is often simpler because it is meant to be worn on a daily basis.
The symbol of commitment and infinite love
Lovers who vow loyalty and who wish to unite and share their lives have always needed a symbol to remind them of the happiness and privilege that comes with having found love on a daily basis.
Over time, the wedding band never ceased to be the object chosen by spouses to testify of their commitment and loyalty to each other.
A symbol of eternity, the wedding band is part of an essential ritual of marriage: it embodies the pure and infinite love that will stand the test of time. This precious jewel, in addition to attesting of the love shared by the spouses, also represents the family unit that often results from the union. Moreover, it is not uncommon for the same alliance to be passed from one generation to the next, from mother to daughter and from father to son—from one ring finger to another over time.