December 8, 2006, Newsletter Issue #10: Wedding Ring Symbolism

Tip of the Week

The exact origin of the symbolism of wedding rings has been lost in time. Here are some traditions and customs adapted over time through different cultures that will help you understand the symbolism of the wedding ring:

The symbol of the circle means timelessness, wholeness and, for marriage, continually renewed love and commitment. Circles also represent the sun and moon, which are associated with male and female elements in the universe.
The use of gold and silver, associated with sun and moon respectively, is another way of incorporating elemental masculine and feminine energies into the marriage symbol.
Wearing the ring on the third finger of the left hand may be a Roman custom, as Romans believed that a vein in that finger ran directly to the heart.
The practice of both partners wearing a ring is a relatively recent one, beginning with American marketing campaigns in the 1920s. Before then only women wore wedding rings.
The Celtic Claddagh ring can be worn by unmarried and married people, symbolizing the need for love and loyalty in general, with the direction of the heart indicating whether or not the person is married.
The Gypsy wedding ring, of three interwoven rings, symbolizes faith, hope and love.

Gay and lesbian wedding rings have not been in culture long enough to develop a strong symbolism of their own, but the use of gay pride colored gemstones, gay pride triangles and interwoven same-sex symbols represent pride in gay commitment.

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