Wedding rings are a tradition that dates back to ancient times. As
far as we know, primitive men and women did not have wedding ceremonies
like we do today, but early grooms are believed to have had an interesting
way of showing their intentions. A man would weave a special cord
and tie it around the waist of the mate he wanted. The belief was
that when he did this, her spirit entered his body and she was bound to
The ancient Egyptians were the first people known to take their symbol for eternity,
the circle, and use it to signify the marriage union. They placed a ring on the third
finger of the left hand (a tradition we still have today) because they believed that
the "vein of love" ran directly from this finger to the heart. These ancient rings were
made of everything from leather to bone to metal.
Gold wedding bands--probably the most popular type of wedding ring in the world today
-- were once a sign of great prosperity. Wedding rings were also once used as part of
a groom's bride payment in arranged marriages, and showed the groom's noble intentions.
In the medieval and Renaissance periods, royalty and the wealthy often gave wedding
rings encrusted with different gems. The plain wedding band supposedly became popular
when Queen Mary I of England married King Phillip II of Spain in 1554. She insisted on
a simple ring without any gems.