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The History of The Engagement Ring

Have you ever wondered why engagement rings are worn and not engagement necklaces or bracelets? Today as I was perusing the internet, I found the following information on the Wedding Gazette's website at http://www.weddinggazette.com/

The engagement ring of today also has its own varied and interesting history, some of which is explored below. Engagement rings have been known by many different names, have symbolised a variety of different things and have not always been made of precious metals and stunning gems!

Greeks
The ancient Greeks are thought to have been the forerunners in the rising of the traditional engagement ring. Given as a token of care and affection, the rings used by the Greeks were known as betrothal rings and were given before marriage. However, the giving of these rings was not always a pre-requisite to marriage and was often given in the same way as a friendship ring might be given today.

Romans
As seen by their use of the wedding ring, ancient Romans weren't the most sentimental of people, and the early version of their "engagement ring" were thought to have carved keys on them. It has been debated that this could have been to symbolise the woman's right to access and own half of everything following marriage. However, the more sentimental like to think that the key may have been a key to her husband's heart.

Royalty and the Affluent
Engagement rings as we know them today - stunning gems encased in precious metals - became popular in around the fourteenth or fifteenth century, when the affluent and the royals began to exchange and wear these jewels. However, these items were so expensive that nobody other than the royals and the rich could afford to exchange them. It was to be many centuries before these engagement rings would become more popular or traditional.
Why a ring?
The purpose of engagement rings and wedding bands is to convey deep emotions of eternal love, eternal happiness, eternal commitment, and eternal togetherness. In fact, these rings signify eternity - between the giver and the recipient. A ring, of course, is a complete circle with no break and no end or beginning, which means that it just goes on and on - it is eternal.
And, since folklore has it that the fourth finger of the left hand has a vein leading directly to the heart, it is only natural that both engagement and wedding rings would be worn on this particular finger, which was once reputed to be a direct route to the heart.

Summary
In short, it is clear that the giving of a ring in honor of a union, betrothal, and marriage has been going on since ancient times, and although it may not always have been as glamorous and romantic as it is today, it was still a way of exchanging a contract of betrothal or marriage.
Thankfully, today's wedding bands and engagement rings are not made of hair, grass, plants or twine as they may have been in ancient times, but of beautiful metals set with stunning gems, such as platinum, titanium, white gold, gold, sapphires, diamonds, rubies and emeralds. These incredible items of jewelry are likely to remain as popular as ever as the centuries go by, and even as the rest of the world advances in to a futuristic and technological age, it's hard to imagine a day where a beautiful diamond engagement ring doesn't melt the heart of its recipient.

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