Marriage is an important milestone in life that should be reached after careful consideration and planning. The same consideration and planning should go into choosing your wedding jewellery. The custom of exchanging rings between partners for making it official has been with us for centuries. But the question arises, what is the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring? Do you need to have separate rings for both occasions or require just one? And if you have received both the rings, then do you have to wear both rings or either one of them? Here are some answers that might help, after a deeper dive into the brief history of wedding rings.
Exchanging wedding rings is a very old tradition being practiced for centuries. The history of rings can roughly be divided into three parts. Let us have a brief look at them below.a. Rings-In Ancient Egypt
Rings have been traced back to Ancient Egyptian Civilization. Archaeological excavations in Egypt recovered evidence that suggests Ancient Egyptians exchanged wedding rings as back as 4000 years BC. These rings were made from ivory, reeds, and even made of leather. The symbolism behind exchanging rings was that they have a circular shape, without any beginning or end, thus representing infinity or the unending love and union between the spouses. Ancient Egyptians also believed that a vein in the fourth finger from the thumb of the left hand was directly connected to the heart, which symbolized love, and thus began wearing the wedding ring on this finger. This tradition is still followed to this day and the fourth finger of the hand is better known as the ring finger.
b. Rings-In Greek and Roman Civilization
Ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian civilizations were in regular touch with each other through trade or warfare so the exchange of ideas also took place. This led to Greeks and Romans also wearing wedding rings on their ring fingers. But Romans gave it a new twist and started making iron and stone rings as these materials were more durable than reeds or ivory. When the supply of gold through trade and mining increased, rings began to be made in gold too with engraved rings also coming into fashion.
c. Rings-In Middle Ages and Renaissance Period
Exchanging extravagant and heavily engraved wedding rings were common among the elite classes of Europe during the dark ages of the 9th Century AD. The Catholic Church frowned upon this activity and preached simplicity thus leading to the tradition of plain wedding rings which is followed still today.
During the Renaissance period between the 15th and 16th centuries, arts and artists were patronized by the rulers and aristocracy of Europe. Wearing ornate and elaborately designed rings came into fashion again among the elite. Some beautiful and extravagant designs were created for wedding rings during this period which include among others the ‘Gimmel Ring’ and the ‘Posy ring’.
Wedding Rings Today
Traditionally only the fairer sex used to wear these rings. But the two world wars in the early decades of the 19th century changed all that. The soldiers going to war wanted some token or symbol of love to remember their wives by and gradually both the partners started wearing them. To this day, wearing wedding rings on the ring finger of the left finger is prevalent worldwide but some countries follow their own tradition. These countries include the Scandinavian countries of Norway and Denmark, Poland, Spain, and the geographically distant India. Also, some countries like Brazil, Netherlands, and Germany have a tradition of switching the engagement ring to the other hand after getting married to emphasize their married status.
Engagement Rings and Wedding Rings-Difference
The main difference between engagement rings and wedding rings is that of occasion and intent which is quite clear from their names too. Engagement rings are exchanged during the engagement or while proposing to your partner and wedding rings are exchanged at the culmination of the marriage ceremony.
The other major difference between the two is in terms of design. Engagement rings are more extravagant with a centerpiece of either diamonds or other precious stones while the wedding rings are plain gold or silver bands with or without a smattering of precious stones.
Do You Need to Buy Both the Engagement Ring and a Wedding Ring?
While some people like wearing both engagement and wedding rings together but those not too keen on wearing too much jewellery will be happy with wearing one ring only. Ultimately, this is a personal preference that should be decided mutually by the partners.
Can You Gift a Wedding Band as an Engagement Ring?
As we said earlier this is a personal choice best decided between the partners. It is up to you and your partner to come to an understanding. If both of you are happy to switch engagement rings with wedding bands then who is to object!
Order of Importance: Engagement Ring or Wedding Ring?
Both of these rings represent a beautiful and significant memory for you. While the engagement ring represents the day of your engagement or when your partner proposed to you, the wedding ring represents the day you got married. In our opinion, both of them are equally important.
Diamond Ring Collection at AËLRA
AËLRA JOAILLERIE offers a vast collection of diamond rings. These rings come in popular, beautiful, and also unique designs of our own. Our designs are inspired and aptly named after the beautiful cities of Europe. Whether you would like to buy a solitaire or an accented band or an interlinked ring or stackable rings, we offer them all. The most important thing to check in a diamond ring is the diamonds. We only use natural earth-mined Kimberly certified diamonds of G-H color and SI1 and SI2 clarity in sparkling white and brown. These diamonds are set in 9K, 14K, 18K white, pink or yellow gold with different settings like prong, channel, bezel, pave among others. These are exquisite pieces of art which you would love dearly once acquired.
If you liked reading this article do read our other articles on different topics and don’t forget to browse through our jewellery collections which feature a breathtaking collection of diamond rings along with earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.