Today, wedding rings are almost universally accepted and expected as signs of marriage and unity. Also as a sign of promise, the circle of a ring is never ending and metaphorically the symbol makes sense. But who started it?
Some believe that in Egypt, natural plant materials were worn as decorative rings. However, it is the Romans that are usually the ones credited with the use of the wedding ring, men wearing rings as symbols of their wealth. So when a man gave one of his rings to a woman, it was an offer to “share” his wealth with her or, as some believe, a symbol of his ownership of her as an addition to his wealth.
In the 11th century, rings became a large part of marriage ceremonies as the church began to incorporate the symbol of the ring. It is believed that wearing the ring on the fourth finger may have been due to Christian ceremonies where the priest would reserve the thumb, pointer, and middle finger for the Holy Trinity and then one the fourth finger, seal the marriage.
It is a common theory that the ring finger is directly connected to the heart. Modern biology has found this theory to be untrue, although it is still a popular theory.
However in Norway, Russia, Greece, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Austria, Germany, Portugal and Spain, the ring is worn on the right hand and other religions also have their own traditions of what finger the wedding ring is worn.
Much like in the roman eras, rings are often bought and worn as symbols of wealth or simply as fashion statements. Costume jewelry rings are often stacked and a large part of modern day fashion and style.
Whether buying a ring for someone else, or buying one for yourself, a ring is a classic fashion statement that has lasted through the decades and has no sign of going out of style.