the ring thing

I love looking at newlyweds’ wedding rings. Everyone seems to have a story to tell about their rings. Next time you’re in the store, ask me to tell you my favourite stories – there are far too many to fit into this tiny space!

There are as many styles of wedding and engagement rings as there are people to wear them. There’s no need to feel pressured by tradition if there’s something else you are more drawn to! The traditional solitaire, princess cut diamond engagement ring is still popular, but there’s also a lot more scope for very individualised, creative design in rings – I’m seeing a lot of incredibly personal designs, with more time and thought, and often less money, going into them. The trend away from the  ‘bling-ring’ means that couples are even opting for no ring at all, or brides using their ‘engagement’ ring as their wedding ring also.

There’s a lot more hand-worked silver around, but the big name in metal for wedding rings seems to be titanium – probably because it’s incredibly strong, but still light, and not too too expensive. Because it is a pure metal, it’s  hypoallergenic, too.

One thing we hardly ever hear about is choosing a ring design that will complement and subtly balance your hand shape – for a larger boned, wide hand, you need a strong-looking, wide, broad ring, for smaller, delicate hands, a more delicate ring will be in better proportion.

Don’t assume that having a ring custom designed for you will necessarily be more expensive than something from a chain-store [unless you’re prepared to camp outside the shop before a big sale!] High Street Jewellers [Paul Harris]  is producing some gorgeous designs, created by the couples who are not only designing, but also making their own rings. They are also able to document the process, creating an album illustrating the step by step process. [In the same boutique, The Jeweller’s Wife range is eminently drool-worthy!]
Paul and Kelly have the rare knack of creating fashionable classics in their jewellery designs – crafting pieces that not only look fantastic today, but will stand the test of time, using traditional jewellery-making techniques and their extensive knowledge, to bring you heirloom pieces.

From Paul and Kelly’s website:
At one time, engagement rings mounted sets of stones. One traditional sentimental pattern contained six to celebrate the joining of two families: The birthstones of the bride’s parents and the bride (on the left), and the birth stones of the groom and his parents (on the right). The parents’ stones were mounted with the mother to the left of the father. The bride and groom’s birthstones would be adjacent in the center. Another similar pattern, for four stones, mounted the birthstone of the parents’ marriages, and the birthstones of the bride and groom. These token rings often disassembled, to expose a channel in which a lock of the suitor’s hair could be treasured.

There are many theories about why we wear wedding rings on the fourth finger of our left hand:

The Ancient Roman theory has to do with safety – when left-handedness was less common,  the fourth finger of the left hand was considered the safest place to wear any ring of value.

Medieval Christians believed that the fingers each represented a type of love – the thumb and first two fingers for the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and the fourth finger stood for the earthly love of a man and woman in marriage

The most common theory is that the ancient Egyptians believed that there was a vein that ran directly from the fourth finger of the left hand to the heart.

According to Paul and Kelly, the wearing of engagement rings started when a love struck Austrian called Archduke Maximilian back in 1477, that came up with the idea of giving a ring set with a diamond to Mary of Burgundy to celebrate their imminent engagement. Believing the ancient Egyptian legend of a vein leading straight to the heart, he placed the ring on the third finger of her left hand, starting a trend that persists to this day!

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