From the earliest times, wedding rings have been given to the bride and groom as symbols of their relationship. The Greeks and Romans both adopted the tradition and adorned the rings with images of the gods of love, such as Cupid and Eros. By the 2nd century CE, most rings were made of gold.
The two rings are often paired, the engagement ring being worn on the ring finger, and the wedding band on the fourth finger of the left hand, next to the pinky. Exchanging rings is a custom that originated in ancient Egypt, where the fourth finger was thought to have a vein leading to the heart. It was then adopted by the Romans and spread throughout Europe and the U.S., despite the fact that this vein isn’t actually there. It is not, however, the defining factor for the two rings.
Wedding rings can be purchased in a variety of styles and materials. While most are made of simple metal bands, some have more elaborate designs. For example, the Blue Nile website sells a diamond channel-set ring. Alternatively, women can opt for a diamond eternity band or a low dome comfort ring. Ultimately, the choice depends on the material used in making the ring. There are a variety of options available for both genders, so the bride and groom can select the right one.
As far as durability is concerned, wedding rings made from harder metals are more likely to survive the test of time. Platinum, for example, is exceptionally hard, so it should last a lifetime. But there are other, less expensive options, such as white gold or yellow gold. While these three types are less expensive than platinum, they require periodic plating. Another alternative is palladium, which is inexpensive and maintenance-free.
The traditional placement of wedding rings on the left hand has changed little since ancient times. Most people nowadays wear their rings on the fourth finger of their left hand. The reason behind this is simple: ancient Romans believed that the fourth finger held the “vein of love.” The ring would be placed on that finger. This tradition still exists in the United States.
The design of wedding rings differs from engagement rings, which have an intricate center stone. Wedding bands can be as simple as a plain metal band or elaborate with diamonds and other gems. While wedding rings usually cost less than engagement rings, they tend to feature smaller diamonds. Moreover, many brides choose to wear both engagement and wedding rings on the same finger. The design of the rings should complement each other.
The design of wedding bands is a personal choice. There are several designs for both men and women. While men typically wear men’s wedding bands, women can also choose to wear a simple band for their day.