It’s the season of proposals! Everyone hopes their wedding will have elements of uniqueness, but when it gets right down to it, some of the traditions we honor have been around for centuries. And many times during wedding planning we don’t often ask ourselves “why” we’re incorporating something. Wedding ceremonies, garments and symbols come from ancient human motivations. Take the engagement and wedding ring for instance.The history of both involves ideas of women’s status, men’s behavior, cultural priorities and religious dogma. Hold on to your hats. You may or may not appreciate what’s to come. As a self-professed feminist, I’m wavering myself. Some historians believe that the first wedding ring was lengths of grass tied to a woman’s finger in symbolic memory of the cords used to bind her hands and feet after a man captured her. Rings denoted ownership in ancient Egypt and Rome. The Celts braided hair for rings.
The Egyptians and Romans believed that the third finger of the left hand was connected to the vena amoris that led directly to the heart, so they wore wedding rings on that finger. The circle was the symbol of eternity. The hole in the center of the ring was considered a gateway leading to things known and unknown.
In the 12th century, it was decreed by Pope Innocent III that all weddings must take place in the church, and include a wedding ring for the bride. He also declared a long waiting period between engagement and marriage, which led to a run on engagement rings. While aristocracy loved using gemstones, it took several hundred years before the first recorded diamond engagement ring, given in 1477. While diamonds were one of the many stones used for engagement rings, a DeBeers Diamond Mines advertising campaign began in the mid 20th century, A Diamond is Forever, pushed the diamond forward as the engagement ring stone.
While I love a gorgeous diamond as much as any other girl, I also love the idea of not feeling tied to a particular kind of stone. And I especially love the idea of being a conscientious consumer of the diamond industry. What do I mean? Take the ring in the top row, in the middle. This bride made a decision to make sure that her the stones in her ring were ethically obtained. (Blood diamonds, also called conflict diamonds, war diamonds, hot diamonds, or red diamonds, is a term used for a diamond mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, an invading army’s war efforts, or a warlord’s activity.)
Your ring is unique to you. Make sure it reflects who you are, and what you believe in. “A circle has no beginning or end and is therefore a symbol of infinity. It is endless,eternal, just the way love should be.” And that is what really matters.
Source: An Uncommon History of Common Things