The History of the Wedding Band
The history and tradition of wearing a wedding band, in most western cultures, is that it is worn on the ring finger of the left hand. Wedding bands are a circle, the symbol of eternity, never ending. Many people believe it is a symbol of never ending love. Wedding rings today are a multi-billion dollar business.
No one can really say for sure when this tradition actually started. Currently the oldest recorded exchange of wedding rings comes from ancient Egypt, approximately 4800 years ago. Reeds growing alongside the well-known papyrus plant were twisted and braided into rings. These materials the rings were made of were not very durable and didn't last very long. Eventually rings were made of leather, bone or ivory. The belief was the more expensive the material, the more love shown to the receiver and was a sign of wealth by the giver.
The Romans also adopted this tradition, however their beliefs were different. Instead of offering a ring to a woman as a symbol of love, they gave them as a symbol of ownership. Roman males would “claim” their woman with the ring.The Romans were also the first to make their rings from metal and called “Anulus Pronubus.” They represented strength and permanence and it is believed that the Romans were the first to engrave their rings.
Around 860 A.D. the Christians began using the ring in marriage ceremonies. Back then, it was not the simple plain band that we use today. Back then it was highly decorated with engraved doves, lyres, or two linked hands. Around the 13th Century the Church discouraged such rings after a Bishop dubbed it a “symbol of the union of hearts.”