Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What Does Each Mean?
When a girl (or guy) gets engaged, how do they let everyone know? I’m sure they call their parents or best friends, but in a world of instant social media, they post a photo. What does that first photo usually show? You guessed it! THE ENGAGEMENT RING!
The engagement ring is usually the larger, flashier ring (compared to the wedding ring) that the bride-to-be gets to show off to her friends, family, and even strangers. It gets all of the attention, but does it deserve it? To find out, we have to dig deeper into the meaning of the engagement ring and the wedding ring.
What Is The Meaning Behind The Engagement Ring?
A Brief History of the Engagement Ring
Did you know that the history of the engagement ring has been around for over 2000 years?! That’s right, according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), women in Ancient Rome wore rings made of flint, bone, copper, silver, or gold. It was a symbol of a “business contract or to affirm mutual love and obedience.”
It wasn’t until 850 CE with Pope Nicholas I, that the engagement ring began to be the sign of a man’s promise to marry a woman. He was to show the woman’s family his financial sacrifice with the gold ring.
What about the diamond?! Brides Magazine explains that the diamond didn’t appear on an engagement ring until 1477 when the Archduke Maximillian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with an “M” shape of diamonds mounted on a ring. Thank you, Archduke, for starting this beautiful trend!
In subsequent years, the engagement ring consistently was given from grooms to brides as a sign of affection, intention, or property. The writer of love himself, Shakespeare, wrote about silver posy rings given in engagement, which were then exchanged for gold at the wedding.
Here’s an interesting fact from GIA, five percent of grooms currently wear a “man-gagement” ring, just like the bride! So, in one easy trip, you could find both the groom’s and bride’s engagement rings at Diamond Mansion.
What Do Engagement Rings Mean Today?
Today, each individual ascribes their own meaning to the engagement ring. For many women, they love the symbolism of unity it can carry to their betrothed. For others, they may feel it is a sign of commitment, not ownership.
There is no one style of engagement rings, and brides can give subtle, or not so subtle, hints to their soon-to-be about what type of engagement ring they may want (if any!). It is wonderful to have so many choices for rings, and it’s even better to have a store like Diamond Mansion that can help you custom create your engagement ring!
The Meaning of the Wedding Ring
Now is time to focus on the typically less flashy partner of the engagement right, the wedding ring. This is the ring that shows the promise of marriage was fulfilled and commitment sealed.
A Brief History of the Wedding Ring
The wedding ring’s history goes back much further than the engagement ring, dating back about 6,000 years. Egyptian pharaohs believed that rings symbolized eternity. As it is often quoted by many wedding officiants, the circle has no beginning and no end. Interestingly, Egyptians also thought that the open space in the middle of a ring also illustrated a gateway to the unknown. As a newly married couple, nothing could be more true.
The ancient Egyptians also believed that the fourth finger on the left hand contained a vein that ran from the finger to the heart, thus giving it the name “vena amoris,” meaning love vein. The concept of giving your beloved a ring, worn on the vena amoris, as a symbol of commitment, was carried on from the ancient Egyptians to the Greeks, Romans, and today.
What About Men’s Wedding Rings?
According to BBC News, World War II was the catalyst for the rise of men’s wedding rings. War can bring about many emotions, such as fear, loneliness, longing, love, commitment, and attachment. While overseas and far from home, the soldiers wanted to have a constant connection and reminders of their families and wives back in the states. From this point forward, men were expected to wear wedding rings as a sign of loyalty and commitment to their wives.
What Do They Mean Now?
For most men, it is a sign of fidelity to their wives, and for many women, it is a symbol that their husbands are “taken.” One modern take on the mutual exchange of rings is that men and women are equal in their faithfulness and connection to one another.
A Summary of Ring Meanings
|Engagement Ring||Wedding Ring|
|OwnershipContractMutual LoveObedienceCommitmentPromiseFinancial Sacrifice||EternityThe UnknownVowCommitmentFidelityLoyaltyLove|
Do I Need Both Rings?
In a modern world where anything goes, the same is true for your rings. It is up to you if you choose to wear one ring, both rings, or no rings at all. Brides are more often choosing alternative stones to diamonds such as rubies, sapphires, or emeralds. There is no one shape or arrangement of stones that is consistent in America or around the world.
This is a time where one doesn’t need a ring to prove their love, but for many, it certainly is nice! Whether you want a custom ring or a conflict-free diamond, Diamond Mansion can help you find the ring or rings of your dreams.
Whether you are a traditionalist who prefers both rings and one on your spouse too, or you would rather design your own ring, all that matters is the love you share with your partner. If you do choose to wear a ring or two, isn’t it fascinating to know that we are carrying on the symbol of eternal love, just like the ancient Egyptians so many years ago? Some traditions are just so beautiful that they stand the test of time.
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