The wearing of a wedding ring is an age-old tradition that has its roots deep in antiquity. The act of placing a ring on a person’s finger is thought to signify eternal love and commitment, the circular nature of the wedding or engagement ring being a symbol of something that is on going and unbroken.
Today, the wedding and engagement ring industry is worth many millions of dollars per year. If you and your partner are looking to make a unique and individual statement about the strength of your love for one another, a leaf through the pages of history might just provide the inspiration that you need.
Some of the most unique engagement rings in history are as follows:
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1. Claddagh Rings
The Celts were renowned for their intricate craftsmanship and expertise in metalwork, skills that were put to stunningly effective use when creating symbols of eternal love. The Claddagh ring features two hands clasping a heart with a crown above it. The symbolic design of the Claddagh ring is derived from the story of an enslaved fisherman who learnt the art of jewellery making from his masters and then used is skills to create a permanent reminder of his lost love.
2. Gimmel Rings
This particular ring from the renaissance period also features two hands clasping. Formed in three parts to be divided between the bride, the groom and a single witness, they were brought together on the day of betrothal to form one unifying ring.
3. Faith Rings
A modern form of the Gimmel ring, which also makes use of the clasped hand motif, originally referred to as a ‘fed’ ring. The clasped hands were situated at either end of the wedding band, forming a strong physical and symbolic bond.
4. Diamond Rings
The Use of diamonds in engagement and wedding rings can be traced back to the renaissance period. Wealthy individuals, such as Archduke Maximilian, were able to make bold and elaborate statements about the depth of their love through the giving of diamond encrusted rings. These days, diamonds are far more affordable for many people, making it much easier for a jeweller to sell a diamond ring than would have been the case in earlier times.
5. Poesy Rings
Being somewhat sentimental, the Victorians were extremely fond of having poems or love messages inscribed inside their wedding and engagement rings, a medieval practice that has endured to this day.
6. Princess Rings
Originating from the early 1900’s and usually made from platinum the princess ring featured a row of diamonds, normally three to five in length. The advent of the Second World War led to a shortage of platinum, making gold the precious metal of choice for this particular style of ring. Even today, three diamonds in a row is a popular choice of engagement ring adornment.
7. Six-prong Diamond Solitaire Engagement Rings
Upon the discovery of an abundant supply of diamonds in South Africa during the latter part of the 19th century, diamonds become accessible to the average person. The advent of the industrial revolution had engendered a large section of the population with relative wealth with which to splash out on elaborate, diamond-encrusted engagement rings. One such notable example was the six-prong diamond solitaire engagement ring.
8. Puzzle Rings
The simple idea behind the puzzle ring was that, being made up of several separate pieces, it was supposed to be extraordinarily hard to put back together. If a husband happened to be called away for a long period of time, he would be able to tell if his wife had been unfaithful by the fact that she had not been able to replace her wedding ring.
9. Truth Rings
The belief that a vein in the fourth finger of the left hand ran directly to the heart was the basis for the Roman use of the ‘truth’ ring.
10. Key Rings
Another favourite with the Romans was the key ring, the very name of this ring suggesting a strong sense of ownership.
The preceding list of historical ring types could well prove to be of help to you and your intended when it comes to garnering ideas for a unique creation.