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Wedding Rings - History and Meanings

Updated on May 29, 2009

What is the meaning of a ring's shape and composition?

The wedding ring is the last present a couple will give one another before their wedding. The very first present a couple gives each other is often times a sort of promise ring - which most think of a pre-engagement ring. Later on as a duet gets more involved, they then give engagement rings to each other.

Most couples cherish the instant when they slip a ring on their beloved. They gaze with enchantment in their eyes during that instant when the ring is put on their finger and they understand that they will be together from then on. What almost all don't imagine is that this has been taking place for years and revolves around the giving of wedding rings. The implication and symbolization behind wedding bands is rich and as complicated as its own love story. It should be told so that couples understand exactly why they exchange wedding rings.

This wedding ring is an emblem and throughout time has symbolized love, devotion and even an agreement between families. The physical structure of the wedding ring has changed as different civilizations have changed it to look more and more beautiful. Some materials are more dear like precious metals and are considered to be of greater value - hence might mean more. However the meaning behind the symbol has stayed the same throughout time and over continents. "I love you" "I wish to be with you forever" and "You are mine."

A ring in its simplest form is a circle, which means 'forever.' What more could couples need than the unclouded wish to spend all time together? Many couples opt to have a romantic phrase engraved within their wedding rings. This makes that traditional symbolism even more important for each couple.

Symbols exist throughout our culture. Even the materials the wedding ring is created out of appear to be symbols of love and devotion. A great deal of couples select diamonds on their wedding rings; diamonds are literally indestructibleand are the "forever" stone you want to select to epitomize your love. Rubies are another choice representing love, keenness and grandeur. While the wedding ring itself is seen as invaluable, the metaphor of the wedding ring symbolizes that your betrothed is precious to you.

The wedding ring was adorned in past times like it is presently, on the left hand, third finger. The reason being because of the strong-held belief that the vein in this finger moves at once from the heart. This notion was endorsed as ladies commenced wearing their wedding rings closer to their hand and then their engagement ring on that same hand - affirming this notion of it being so close to your heart.

Wedding rings have been worn in many cultures. While the traditions may be slightly different, the sentiment and meaning to love, treasure and honor one another forever, remains much the same.

The circular wedding ring symbolizes forever
The circular wedding ring symbolizes forever

Why wear a wedding ring on the 4th finger - A Chinese perspective

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