With the wedding season in full flow have you ever wondered why we exchange rings to show our love for each other? And where did this time-honoured tradition begin?

Ancient origins

The first recorded evidence can be found in ancient Egyptian scrolls dating back thousands of years. The wedding band was a powerful symbol representing eternal life and love, with the open centre signifying a door to the future as a couple.

Originally, couples gave each other braided rings made from hemp, papyrus or reeds. However, these materials were fragile so were replaced with leather, bone or ivory. The Romans then introduced iron rings to symbolise strength and permanence, with the value of the ring also demonstrating the love shown to the receiver and the wealth of the giver.

According to tradition, the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand as many believed a vein in the finger, referred to as the vena amoris or the vein of love, connected directly to the heart.

Popular styles

An early Roman wedding band was known as a fede ring, which later became known as a gimmel ring, made from solid gold or elaborately adorned with beautiful cut stones. The first designs depicted two hands interlocking in love or union, often featuring two or three loops. The bride and groom would each wear a ring at the time of their betrothal until their wedding, when they would be united to form a single ring, worn by the bridge to symbolise the joining of two people.

Another popular design in medieval times was the posy ring crafted from gold. The band featured a short verse, personal inscription or religious scripture to communicate secret messages of love between the couple to vow their lifelong commitment.

Modern day

Inspiration has been taken from across the centuries to provide a huge choice of wedding bands today, for both men and women. It’s an important decision so start by setting your budget and shop early as some rings may need to be ordered or made bespoke.

You can choose from a variety of styles, traditional and contemporary, as well as a range of metals including yellow gold, silver, platinum, white gold or rose gold. Also, decide whether you’d like a coordinated set for both husband and wife, and don’t forget to consider your lifestyle to ensure it’s both practical and stylish.

At Whittles Jewellers we want your wedding ring to be a beautiful symbol of your love, style and personality. Read our wedding ring guide and visit our stunning showroom to choose the perfect wedding band for your special day.