In almost every culture around the world there is the prevalence of marriage. The central to every marriage is the union between two people, though there are certain traditions of each culture. These could be wedding clothes, blessing rituals, wedding food, color themes, etc. There are smaller cultural differences too. Wearing of a wedding ring is one such difference, though it carries the same universal symbolic implication. However, it is the making and wearing of the ring that differs.
History of the wedding ring
The tradition of wedding ring goes back to the Neanderthal times, when twits, grass and rushes were tied around the wrists or ankles of the bride and was taken as a sign of friendship and loyalty.
The birthplace of the modern wedding ring is regarded as Egypt. The Egyptians made use of leather, bone, ivory and hemp to make rings. Later on, they started using metal to make rings and the woman with the ring had the claim of the possessions of her husband.
Countries in Asia and the Far East are used to buying pure yellow gold and hence 18K and 22K gold are the norm. Part of this inclination is found in religion, whereas in India, the owning of gold is considered as a mark of superiority and beauty. Traditionally, the more gold the bride owns, the happier she is considered will be.
Most western countries consider 14K gold as the standard for wedding ring. In the USA, we find 10K gold being sold, whereas in Germany one could even find 9K gold. In the Netherland, anything less than 14K gold is not considered as gold, though 9K gold is gaining in popularity. In countries where pure gold is the norm, people regard 14K or 9K gold as low budget. On the contrary, 22K gold is taken as too showy and fake by people who regularly use lighter gold.
A wide range of ring designs exist that define the countries and cultures of their origins. For example, French and Russian wedding rings are often made with three multi-colored interwoven bands. In Celtic countries, the rings are often found with engravings of Claddagh design symbolizing marital fidelity.
In England and America, first it is engagement ring, then comes the smooth wedding ring and lastly, it is the ‘eternity ring’ and is given on the first wedding anniversary or at the time of the birth of the first child.
The wedding rings worn by the many existing Native American tribes are quite different from Western designs. The materials and symbols have traditional links to their own cultures as most rings are made up of silver with decoration of semi-precious stones or else such natural materials like red coral, turquoise and shells.
So in addition to the origins and cultures behind wedding rings, you should also consider your own personal taste. Let your taste be inspired by what the different cultures and countries have to offer us.