Marriage is about love – not possessions. However, results from a recent study on proposals and wedding rings suggest that some women view their wedding rings as a serious commitment of money, and more than a mere symbol of love. Women seem to want both a partner, and a ring, for life. After all, diamonds are forever…

According to a recent survey, the top reasons for women feeling disappointed when proposed to, included engagement rings that were too small, untraditional proposals, not asking a parent for her hand in marriage first, and no ring at all.

In fact, many ‘bride-to-be’s feel so strongly about wearing the ‘right’ ring that they are chipping in to the cost themselves, with the survey revealing that 52% of women would consider making a financial contribution towards the ring. The pressure is on between women too: 1 in 15 women said that although they like their friend’s engagement rings, they would never tell them, whilst it is quite common for women to design their own rings as bigger and better versions of their friends!

But don’t be mistaken: the desire for a bling ring is not just a materialistic motive. Almost 40% of the women surveyed considered the ring a symbol of how much their partner loves them. And they have a point: the ring has acted as a symbol of eternal love and commitment for centuries.

Where it all began…

The oldest recorded ring exchange is from 4,800 years ago, when ancient Egyptians would twist and braid sedges, rushes and reeds that grew alongside the papyrus into rings for their lovers. The circle of the ring symbolized eternity of love to many ancient cultures including the Egyptians, as did the hole in the center of the ring, which signified a gateway or channel in which new events and exciting opportunities would occur for the wearers. The flimsy riverside material of the ancient Egyptians did not last long, hence more durable materials such as leather, bone or ivory being used instead. In the Roman times, such betrothal rings were called ‘Anulus Pronubus’, made of iron, often engraved and symbolizing strength and permanence, rather than love.

As time went on, the material of the ring began to become symbolic: the more expensive the material, the more love, dedication and value shown to the wearer, as well as signifying wealth and authority of the giver. Not until 860BC did Christians use rings in marriage ceremonies. They were usually highly decorated with engraved doves, lyres or two linked hands. In 13th century, such rings were simplified to give a more spiritual look to symbolize ‘the union of hearts.’  The first recorded account of a diamond engagement ring was in 1477 when King Maximilian I of Germany (1459-1519) proposed to Mary of Burgundy (1457-1482) and offered her a diamond to seal his vow. Nowadays, the US uses over seventeen tons of gold a year to make into wedding rings.


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