Wedding Ring History

It has become a tradition through out most of the world for a woman to wear a wedding ring upon getting married. Just where and when this tradition started is not exactly known; however it is believed the ancient Egyptians can be credited with this tradition. Throughout the ages wedding rings have been made from materials ranging from gold and silver to leather and reeds. Today many of the rings for sale mimic the styles from the past. On this page you will find interesting information about the origins of this tradition.

Wedding Ring History - Origins in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt is where marriages were first performed. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence that the ancient Egyptians exchanged wedding rings. Based on hieroglyphics we have learned that these ancient people regarded the circle as a symbol of devotion and endless love between a man and a woman; there is an ancient Egyptian phrase in reference to a ring which is "without beginning, without end". The center hole symbolized a gateway to the future. Their wedding rings were simple circular bands made from such materials as papyrus, reeds and hemp. These materials wore out quickly and the rings had to be replaced frequently. Although there is some evidence of engagement rings being used prior to the rise of the Egyptian civilization it seems, with current archaeological information that the people from ancient Egypt get credit for the first use of wedding rings.

Wedding Ring History - Ancient Rome

Like the Egyptians whose civilization preceded theirs, ancient Roman women also wore wedding rings. However unlike the Egyptians with the romantic concept that the wedding ring symbolized endless love the Romans used it generally as symbol of ownership. The ring was used to show the woman was owned by the man. In fact Roman marriage was regarded as the transferring of authority over a woman from the father (or the male head of the household) to the husband. The Romans began to use more long lasting materials, like metal, to make their wedding rings; iron was commonly used. Iron was actually favored over gold and silver which was plentiful at the height of Roman civilization. To the Romans iron symbolized that the marriage was strong and could not be broken. The ancient Romans are also credited as being the first to engrave their wedding rings.

Types of Wedding Rings Found in History

Gimmal Wedding Rings

Gimmal rings (also called gimmel rings) were designed with two or three hoops that fit together to form one ring. The name gimmal comes from the Latin word geminus which translates to twin or double. These types of wedding rings were popular in 16th and 17th century Europe. In fact in 1525 Martin Luther married Catherine Bora with this type of ring.

Puzzle Wedding Rings

These rings have been around since the Renaissance and were developed from the Gimmal rings. These rings consisted of several interconnected rings that could be separated. Putting the separate rings back together was like working on a puzzle.

Poesy Wedding Rings

Poesy rings (also spelled posy, posey or Posie rings) were popular from the 15th century through the 17th century in Europe. They were named poesy which means poem because they would have a short poem or ballad on the surface. Shakespeare mentioned them several times in his plays.