Ring Tradition | Engagement rings…
You’re ready to pop the question; so what are you going to do next? Buy a ring, of course. That’s what you’re supposed to do…right?
Well, yes, but why? Don’t get us wrong here at the New Continental Hotel we think rings are gorgeous! We are very glad proposals include engagement rings and not engagement cards. But if you are willing to do anything for your soon-to-be spouse, why give a ring?
Actually, it’s a tradition dating back to the ancient Egyptians, who believed circles were symbols of eternity. Fast-forward to when the ancient Romans are believed to have started the tradition of betrothal rings but its symbolism wasn’t so much about love as it was ownership. The groom first gave the bride to be a gold ring to wear before the betrothal ceremony and at special events, then an iron ring to wear at home, signifying her binding legal agreement to his ownership of her.
Diamonds didn’t appear on engagement rings until centuries later. One of the first recorded uses of a diamond engagement ring was in the 14th century. An Austrian Archduke proposed with a ring set with thin, flat pieces of diamonds in the shape of an “M” which set a new president for aristocracy and Europeans of wealth to use lavish rocks on rings.
Everything changed when diamonds were discovered in South Africa in 1880; Cecil Rhodes founded the DeBeers Mining Company. Within the decade, they controlled 90 percent of the world’s diamond production and turned diamond engagement rings into nothing more than an ad campaign. Once the Great Depression ended, the company’s ad agency launched its famous “A diamond is forever” slogan and encouraged men to spend two months’ salary on the rock. By the early 1940s, engagement rings became the leading line of jewellery in most stores and jewellers.
Now more than 80 percent of brides get diamond engagement rings. Sure it can be pricey, but it’s a whole lot more romantic than the earliest mating rituals: A caveman tied cords made of braided grass around his chosen mate’s wrists, ankles, and waist, to bring her spirit under his control!!
Now for Wedding Rings…
It’s pretty much a known fact that everyone wears their wedding ring on the left ring finger. But why?
Here at the New Continental Hotel, we went on the hunt to discover the story behind left hand ring placement and whether you have to follow this custom.
It is said that in ancient times, they believed that a vein ran straight from that finger to the heart, so it became traditional to wear the ring on that finger. The heart is just to the left of your body, so the fourth finger on your left hand is considered the closest to your heart. It is because of this belief that they nick named it the vein of love. A very sweet physical symbol of two hearts being connected, don’t you think?
Western cultures have more or less accepted this age old wives tale to be true, wearing the engagement and then the wedding rings on that left ring finger.
Many people in Europe, however, choose to wear their wedding rings on the right hand’s ring finger so ultimately, the choice is yours!
As for wearing a wedding ring at all, it’s completely up to your personal preference, but it’s of course a nice way to symbolise your union. If not, you may make like some celebrities and get a tattoo on that finger to signify your marriage — you can even do both if you want!