Why is the fourth finger (counting the thumb) of the left hand the finger for engagement and wedding rings? The ancient philosophers asserted that there was a very delicate nerve running from that finger direct to the heart; later writers said that it was a fine vein, the vena amoris. In Catholic tradition the first three fingers represent the Trinity, so their ring-giving ceremony consists of putting the ring on the thumb, forefinger and third finger while saying ‘In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost’, and then on the fourth finger, to rest permanently, while saying ‘Amen’. Up until the 16th century it was the custom here and elsewhere to wear the betrothal or wedding ring on the fourth finger of the right hand, a custom that is still echoed when nuns take their vows.
In some cultures it is the custom for engaged couples to exchange identical plain gold bands that are later used for the wedding service, but in this country it is more customary to buy separate rings as wedding rings. The wedding ring is round to represent eternity, and for this reason it is supposed to be completely plain, or to have the same design running all the way around its surface. The gold represents preciousness, as it is one of the most highly valued metals in all cultures (in ancient Rome only a few important people had what was known as the jus annuli aurei, the right to wear a gold ring). These days some couples choose platinum, as it is even more expensive than gold. Gold is also measured in carats (not the same as the carats used for diamonds); in this case it is a measure of purity. 24-carat gold is the purest, but is too soft to use for everyday wear, so the best gold generally available is 18-carat. 9-carat gold has a higher proportion of other metals and is harder, lighter in color, and cheaper. If you buy your engagement ring and wedding ring separately, check that they are the same carat or else one will rub away at the other.
Styles of wedding ring
Wedding rings can be bought in a wide variety of finishes – smooth, flat bands, faceted, carved, engraved, moulded into fancy shapes or decorated with other metals. It is also possible to buy matching wedding and engagement rings in many styles, and men’s and women’s versions of the same style of ring.
Checkpoints for buying an engagement ring
What kind of stones do 1 want?
Do 1 want a solitaire, or a cluster of stones, or a band!?
Do 1 want anything unusual, in style, stones or setting? If so, am 1 likely to find It In the shops or should we have it made?
How much can we afford to spend?
Will 1 still be happy with this ring in several years’ time?
Are the stones good quality and regular in shape and colour?
Are there any rough edges on the stones or settings?
If 1 want something costly, could 1 buy it second-hand?
Will the ring be easy to keep clean and sparkling?
Checkpoints for buying a wedding ring
Are we going to have two rings at the service or just one?
Do we want matching rings?
Do 1 want a ring to match my engagement ring?
Does this ring go with my engagement ring, in looks and fit?
How much can we afford to spend?
Does the ring need altering – if so, is this included in the cost or is it extra?
Do we want anything engraved on the rings)?
Do we want a pouch or case to keep the ring(s) in until the ceremony?
When you have made up your mind about your engagement ring or wedding rings, remember to ask the jeweller for a valuation certificate for insurance purposes, and also to ask his advice on caring for your ring (particularly cleaning), keeping it away from certain substances, etc.
With us, you always have the choice to have your wedding rings produced in grey gold or white gold!