Couples in love are spending less on engagement rings — many of them have student loan debt, or they simply see other priorities like home ownership as more important than an extravagant engagement ring.
We know what you’re thinking: if you’re not going to shell out a lot of money for a fancy engagement ring (the old adage of spending three months’ salary certainly seems excessive), then why do you really need a wedding ring either? A wedding ring is an entirely different story, though, and we’re here to explain why.
The History of Wedding Bands
Wedding rings can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, who believed that the vena amoris, or “vein of love,” ran directly from the heart to the fourth finger of the left hand — what we now call the “ring finger.”
The Greeks and Romans also used wedding rings to show their commitment to one another after marriage. In Rome the rings were made from gold for the ruling class, and iron for the working class. Many ancient cultures often fashioned rings from wood, leather, bone, or ivory, since gold was too rare and precious for the average person to afford.
It wasn’t until the 20th century that it became common for men to wear wedding rings. During World War II, men started to wear rings on their fingers when they went off to fight, the idea being that they carried a constant reminder of their wives back home while they were away. The tradition continues to this day.
Wedding ring traditions vary across the world. In the United States, a woman wears her engagement ring on her left hand. When she’s married, she and her groom both wear wedding rings on their left hand as well.
In many European countries, the engagement ring is worn on the right hand and the wedding ring is worn on the left. In some South American countries, an engagement ring is worn on the right hand, then moved to the left when the couple is married. And of course, these national traditions also overlap with religious and ethnic traditions as well. There’s no right or wrong way to wear a wedding ring.
The Meaning of a Wedding Band
For many people, the meaning of a wedding ring is a simple as showing the world that you’re married — that you’ve made a lifelong commitment to the person you love most. The circular shape of a ring with no beginning and no end symbolizes the eternal nature of your love. A circle has goes on forever, just like the love and promise that you two have made.
Types of Wedding Bands
While there are thousands of different kinds of engagement rings, from simple solitaire engagement rings to ornate, vintage styles with dozens of accent stones, wedding bands have historically been much simpler in design.
The classic wedding band is a simple ring of unadorned gold. It’s durable, timeless, and beautiful. Most gold jewelry in the United States is either 14 or 18 karat gold, which strikes the perfect balance between longevity and shine.
In some cases, a wedding band has gems in it as well. You can opt for a single bezel or burnish set diamond for maximum durability. Or, if sparkle is the objective, consider adding small diamond melee to the wedding band. In wedding bands, they are often channel set or bead set to keep them mostly flush with the surface of the band.
Milgrain wedding bands include a bead groove pattern on top that adds a little extra flair to the usual gold, rose gold, or platinum surface of the ring. Many modern rings are also two-tone, with the inside of the ring made of a different-colored metal to the outer, visible surface. Finally, you have the option of buying wedding rings with a more creative surface; including brushed, hammered, and matte surfaces.
In recent years, married couples (and men especially) have started to add a little more variety to the classic gold wedding band that they’ve been wearing for decades. Mokume gane is a Japanese style of metalworking that folds layers of different metals on top of each other, creating a striated or striped woodgrain effect that is beautiful to behold and totally unique.
Some wedding rings incorporate dark materials like carbon, tantalum, or black titanium, which provide excellent contrast to the bright gold and silver colors of the traditional materials.
The Sky’s the Limit
When it comes to a wedding band, the most important thing is that you and your spouse both love it. That ring will symbolize your wedding and your love for years — hopefully decades — to come, and you want it to be perfect.
At acredo, we have hundreds of rings on display in our stores, in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and colors. When you come by the store, you can take inspiration from any of our rings to design your very own, which will be custom crafted just for you. We’re confident we can find a ring that’s just right for you.