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History Of Wedding Rings

Author: Genevieve Flavin

( Article orginally published October 1953 by Hobbies )

The wedding ring is a billion dollar sentiment. Symbol of the tie that binds, its use is endowed by historians with various origins and portents.

Some theorize the circlet is derived from fetters worn by captive women of medieval times, while others accredit it to the exchange of tokens as a sign of good faith or friendship known even to the cave dwellers.

Whatever the origin, the wedding ring is here to stay. Manufacturers have proof of the fact. The wide wedding bands, which began to come into popularity again three years ago, have their inspiration deep in history. The wide golden ring began to acquire chased designs and sentimental inscriptions during the time of Shakespeare.

The habit of wearing the wedding symbol on the fourth finger of the left hand is based upon a Grecian fable that the artery from that finger flows directly to the heart. Science discredits this theory. During the Elizabethan era, fancy decreed that the ring be worn on the thumb. Use of the w-edding symbol was known in Egyptian culture, and it is mentioned in the hieroglvnhics on walls of tombs archaeologists record. Generallv the circlets are heavy metal, encrusted with precious or semi-precious stones. However, the average Roman citizen is reputed to have found "ugly metal bands" sufficient: Smallest wedding circlet is believed that made when Princess Mary, daughter of King Henry VIII was espoused of the dolphin of France, sor. of King Francis I. The ceremony was performed Oct. 5, 1518. The princess was two years of age, and her spouse was born Feb. 28, 1518.

The ring came into use in Christian ceremonies about 870, authorities state, and was in use in biblical times by the Hebrews. Though fashion decreed trends towards narrow bands and introduced other whimseys, the gypsy always has held firm to tradition. The broadness and weight of the golden tie decrees and denotes the position of the gypsy couple in the tribe. The bigger and heavier the circlet, the bigger and better the standing of the wedded pair.

Thain said that the double ring ceremony, aside for exchange of rings or other gifts at the time a wedding contract was arranged and the betrothal agreed upon, is comparatively new. Before 1940-only 15 per cent of the bridei-rooms received rings. Then with the outbreak of World War II, the double ring ceremony increased to 6O per cent. With the Korean war the number has risen to 70 per cent.

Also stated was the fact that during World War II jewelers knew a great shortage of wedding ringsone million short in 1944.

The primitives considered an unmarried man as only half a man. The wedding circlet was indicative of the completion of both the life snan of man and 'woman. Though many old wives' tales are recounted with each approaching wedding, each bride and bridegroom bring to the service and the svmbol of their inner grace, their own concept of the wedding ring and its importance.

History Of Wedding Rings At Wikipedia
Wedding And Betrothal Rings

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