The wedding ring, that most famous and instantly recognisable symbol of the joining of two people in the institution of marriage, has a long, widespread, and mysterious, history.
Its beginnings lie in ancient prehistory first glimpsed in the deserts of the Middle East where the Ancient Egyptian civilisation sprang up along the fertile flood plains on the banks of the Nile. The river held the fortunes of the Pharaoh's people and the reeds and rushes growing along the banks of the Nile were twisted and braided into rings and bracelets. For the Egyptians and many ancient civilisations, the ring forming a circle, was the symbol of eternity, having no beginning and no end.
The Egyptians wore the ring, as we do today, on the third finger of the left hand because they believed that the "vein of love" ran from the heart to the tip of the third finger of the left hand. This legend was taken up by the Greeks, when they conquered Egypt under the generalship of Alexander the Great in 332BC. It was then adopted by their successors, the Roman Empire, who, having conquered much of Europe left us with many of their customs and beliefs.
In early Rome, iron was the metal of choice as it symbolised the strength of the union between the two people, though rust was a bit of a problem! As they resisted tarnishing, and denoted wealth, silver, gold, and finally at the beginning of the twentieth century, platinum, began to be used for wedding rings. Wedding bands are perhaps the most symbolically significant item of jewellery that any couple will own, and the aim is always to create the perfect design, perfect now, and perfect for the future.