Over the years, wedding traditions have evolved with weddings that took place several decades ago looking completely different than weddings occurring today. One area that has changed involves wedding rings. In the past, the groom typically selected the wedding rings or the bride received an heirloom engagement ring. So how do you know what traditions you might want to embrace or which ones you want to begin anew? Before you begin planning your big day, you should learn a little history about wedding rings and who's responsible for purchasing them.
Engagement Ring History
The engagement ring has a long tradition of commitment and betrothal since it symbolizes lasting love between spouses. According to the American Gem Society, in 1477, Archduke Maximilian of Austria commissioned the first diamond engagement ring on record when he sought one for Mary of Burgundy. After this occurred, it spurned an increase in diamond rings among European nobility and aristocrats. Shortly thereafter, Victorians popularized ornate engagement ring designs often adorned with various precious stones and enamels. Many of these rings featured flower shapes and were called "posey rings."
It wasn't until 1947 when the jewelry company DeBeers launched the classic slogan known as "A Diamond Is Forever" that the popularity of using diamonds in engagement rings took off. The diamond's durability correlated with the belief that a marriage lasts forever. Since the inception of this slogan, a diamond's purity and sparkle have translated into the symbol of two people's commitment to each other.
Engagement rings have become a global custom, albeit with several different cultural adaptations. Take the time to learn more about how engagement ring customs vary across the globe and how you can incorporate these traditions into your custom-made engagement ring.
- Ireland: You're probably familiar with the Claddagh ring, which consists of a crown that symbolizes loyalty, hands that symbolize friendship, and a heart that represents love. This ring is traditionally used as an engagement ring. When worn on the right hand with the crown facing the wearer, it signals the person is single. Worn on the right hand but with the crown outward, it indicates the wearer is in a relationship. Once moved to the left hand and facing inward, it indicates engagement. After the marriage, the ring is worn on the left hand with the crown facing outward.
- France: Unlike in the United States where many women prefer diamonds, French women tend to gravitate toward colored gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, or emeralds. Those that do opt for diamonds tend to prefer smaller ones.
- India: The engagement ring is usually worn on the right hand since the left hand is looked upon unfavorably. Also, in certain areas of the country, women receive bracelets adorned with gemstones instead of a ring.
- Latin America: In many Latin American regions, it's customary for the bride and groom to give each other rings, which they wear on their right hand until the day of the wedding. Once they're married, they symbolically move those rings to their left hand. Also, in Argentina, both the bride and groom wear a silver engagement ring before their wedding and then switch to a gold band on their wedding day.
- United States: Women and sometimes men wear the engagement ring and wedding band on the left hand. The order of the rings on the finger depends on the wearer's preference. Diamond rings are the most popular, with the most common cut the round diamond.
Wedding Ring Purchases
According to The Knot, the groom and his family are the primary parties responsible for purchasing the engagement ring while the bride and her family typically buy the man's wedding band. However, these rules are binary and they assume that all weddings involve a woman and her groom.
Nowadays, the person responsible for buying the wedding rings is pretty much up in the air. Some couples split the costs of the wedding, especially if they've combined their finances before the wedding. It doesn't mean that both people need to contribute an equal amount to the bands. For instance, if one person makes more money than the other, the costs could be divided in proportion to the total income. As with most relationships involving money, it's about communicating and coming to a mutual understanding as to what's best for your situation.
Wedding Band Considerations
Most couples head into the jeweler to select their wedding bands together. That way each person can give an opinion on what ring they will wear for the rest of their lives. The wedding bands might not match each other, but that's completely fine. You want a wedding band that represents your style and what the band symbolizes. However, before you purchase wedding bands, you should consider the following factors:
- Lifestyle: If you're active, work with your hands frequently, or travel, you might want a wedding band that you can wear without worrying about cleaning it or losing it. Consider a simple band without stones as this option can be practical and timeless.
- Style: The number of stones and type of engraving you want is practically limitless on your wedding band. Depending on the choices you make, the jeweler might be able to create symbolic connections between the two rings without making the rings too similar.
- Type of metal: Some of the more popular metal choices include rose gold, white gold, yellow gold, and platinum. If you don't want your wedding bands to match completely but look like they're part of a set, selecting the same metal type is a perfect choice. Otherwise, select the metal that you like the best.
When it comes down to it, there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to who buys the wedding rings. Choose bands that reflect your style and relationship to ensure that you're both happy for years to come. If you're in the market for wedding rings near the New York City area, let Martin Busch Jewelers help you. We offer several different types of jewelry, ranging from custom engagement rings to men's and women's wedding bands. Contact us today, and we can provide you with the perfect rings to complete your wedding day.