The Evolution of the Wedding Band

Ever wonder about the custom of wearing a wedding band and where it comes from? After hearing about a beautiful new take on the wedding ring – Everband, which lets you custom design your bands and then add a new diamond to celebrate each year of marriage – we decided to take a trip down memory lane to see how the romantic tradition evolved over time.

What exactly is the meaning behind your wedding ring?

Beyond being a daily physical reminder of the vows you’ve taken—and signaling to others that you’re officially taken—wedding rings have a much deeper meaning. From ancient history to modern day, the ring tradition has taken many beautiful forms. It started in ancient Egypt, where it was believed that circles signified never-ending and immortal love (a belief shared in many cultures). Egyptians also believed that the fourth finger on the left hand—now called the ring finger—contained a special vein that connected directly to the heart. Combining the two ideas, Egyptians braided materials like reed, papyrus and hemp into wedding rings. Hieroglyphics from that era show women wearing them on their left hand.

Many cultures adopted this romantic custom. Roman men took it further, using the ring to symbolize ownership of a woman (and to advertise their wealth if expensive materials were used). Throughout the years the wedding ring evolved through several forms. Here are a few of our favorites:

Poesy Rings: Popular during the Renaissance, poesy rings were sterling-silver bands typically engraved with a love poem (poesy means “poem” or “ballad”). We’re big fans of this sweet idea.

Thimbles: Peter Pan wasn’t the only man to give a thimble as a gift. In Colonial America, Puritans who felt jewelry was frivolous (we couldn’t disagree more!) thought thimbles were more practical, so they give their brides one instead. Fear not, jewelry lovers: In due time, women started cutting off the tops and wearing them as bands.

Diamond Rings: The first known use of a diamond ring was in 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy. So if you want someone to thank, it’s this guy.

How the tradition continues today

The double-ring ceremony—in which each partner receives and wears a band as a sign of love and commitment—is a recent custom. It became common in the 20th century; before that, only the bride traditionally wore a wedding ring. Many couples chose simple matching bands, but today they don’t have to match. They can be made of any metal you like, though gold and platinum are the most popular choices.

While the symbolism remains, more couples are giving their bands a personal feel. Recently, handmade and custom-designed rings have become more popular, as well as engravings with meaningful phrases. Taking this trend to the next level is Everband, a company that created a patented collection of wedding and anniversary bands that let you celebrate each year of love and life together. For every anniversary, a new diamond is added to each band as a symbol of the couple’s commitment, love and partnership. In a matter of minutes, you can design and build your own set of two artisanal pieces to cherish forever (including custom engravings).

Your wedding rings will be incredibly meaningful to you and your spouse no matter what type you choose, but we love this idea—letting your bands grow along with the journey of your marriage. And if children are a part of the journey, you can even add a pink or blue sapphire to your bands, or engrave their birthdays on the shank. These sweet ways to commemorate your love remind us just how special jewelry, and the symbolism behind it, can be.

This sponsored post is happily brought to you by Everband.