The ancient ritual of placing a wedding band on each partner’s finger dates back to ancient Egypt. The circle was a symbol of eternity and was used to represent the union of the heart. Up until this time rings were generally made out of hemp, leather, bone, or ivory whilst metal rings gradually appeared at a later period. The Western traditions of wedding rings can be traced back to ancient Rome and Greece and were first associated with the marital dowry and later a promise of fidelity. The modern exchange of rings was reintroduced in the middle Ages as part of Christendom.
Traditional or Personalised
The double-ring ceremonies, where the groom also gets a wedding band did not become common until the 20th century. The traditional choice today is a matched set; however, many couples take the non-traditional route and choose different wedding rings.
Classic wedding bands come in every style and shape. For a more personal style there is the option of having your rings custom made. The bride can also have her wedding band shaped around her engagement ring.
Gold is the most popular choice when it comes to wedding rings, it comes in 3 different colours: yellow, white & red. Consider having your rings made out of Fairtrade gold as it makes a real difference to the lives of miners, their families, and their communities. A good alternative to Fairtrade gold is recycled gold. Platinum bands are also becoming very popular, very durable but also more expensive than gold. Silver is not as durable as gold or platinum, therefore, we do not recommend this option for wedding rings.
See our metals guide for full details.
Thickness and Width
It is recommended to choose a minimum width of 2 mm and a minimum thickness of 1.5 mm to ensure the durability of the ring.
Finish and Texture
Several metal finishings are available such as polish, satin or matt. In some cases you can also choose to have a texture imprinted such as a hammered finish.
Brides and grooms traditionally placed a wedding band on the third finger of each other’s left hand because people once believed the “Veina Amoris” (latin for vein of love), ran directly from that finger to the heart. Medical science eventually corrected this belief, however the tradition still lives on.
Today traditions can vary depending on the culture, country, or religion regarding which finger and hand the ring is worn on. Most couples in England and America wear their wedding rings on the left hand just like the ancient Egyptians, whereas Eastern Europeans and Orthodox Christians tend to wear the wedding band on the right hand, which stems from ancient Roman custom. The Latin word for left is “sinister” and carries the same connotation as the English word, whereas the word for right is “dexter”, a word that evolved into “dexterity”, hence therefore the left hand had a perceived negative connotation and the right a good one. Jewish couples wear the wedding ring on the left hand, even though it is placed on the right hand during the marriage ceremony. In the Netherlands, Catholic people wear it on the left and most others on the right, whilst in Austria, Catholic people wear it on the right.
Before tying the knot it may be worth checking out the jewellery customs in your country or culture, however the choice and decision on which finger and hand to wear your ring is ultimately of course your own!
It is important that you get the correct finger measured to determine your finger size before choosing your ring. See our ring sizes guide for more information.
Most couples choose to have their names and the date of the wedding engraved on the inside of their rings; however, this is a personal choice. Engraving usually cost around £10 per letter.