History and Tradition of the Engagement and Wedding Rings

20/01/2016

In the past, aspiring boyfriends used to offer an apple to a girl as a declaration of love, while the ring was a more challenging gift, the symbol of their promise of marriage. This was a tradition for Visigoths and Germanic people where a ring given to a woman was considered a contract between the two families.

The tradition of giving a diamond as engagement ring dates back to 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a golden ring topped by a brilliant to Mary of Borgondia, as a promise of marriage. This custom remained alive through the centuries and giving a solitary became a real traditions in many western countries. As of today almost 70% of brides receive a diamond as their engagement ring.

Tradition has it that it’s bad luck to buy both the engagement ring and the wedding rings at the same time. In the event of a broken engagement, the etiquette wants that both fiancées should return their respective gifts, but in case it’s the man who called off the engagement, then the woman is allowed to keep the ring.
An alternative to the solitary diamond ring is the trilogy ring, consisting of three diamonds each representing "yesterday, today and tomorrow” as the symbol of a lifetime together.

Anyhow not all future husbands can afford a diamond ring. This is why there are other precious gems to be considered to adorn an engagement ring.
  • Ruby: burning love
  • Sapphire: loyalty
  • Emerald: hope
  • Aquamarine: lasting and happy marriage
  • Beryl: strength of love
  • Opal: sincere love.
Wedding rings are, instead, less precious and with a much simpler cut. They are rings with no gems nor decorations, usually made of gold, symbol of longevity.

In the Christian religion, in fact, the yellow gold is a symbol of eternity. This is why in most cases the backgrounds of the Christian icons and decorations in many churches are colored with gold, and gold are also the halos surrounding the heads of angels and Saints.

Lately, modern couples have started switching the gold yellow rings with white gold, considered much more refined and sophisticated. Moreover it is now common use to embellish the wedding rings with small gems or twisting it with another ring to make it more precious.
This, however, "breaks" the perfectly spherical shape of the traditional wedding ring, symbol of a perfect and long union.


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