Rings.. beautiful, endless, meaningful rings... A ring - is an accessory that probably is in the collection of every person. It seems, what can be simpler than just a ring - just an endless band... But if you think so, you are deeply mistaken, cause there are so many modern ring designs from all possible materials, with and without stones, from invisible to large sizes.
If talking about rings as a symbolic jewelry item, a ring is the most meaningful and romantic one. Engagement, wedding rings... it's not without a reason, that this is a ring that becomes a symbol of true love and endless feelings.
To make the most beautiful and loud speaking gift it's enough to choose a personalized ring. Rings can be engraved with initials and names, with some words of love or appreciation.
There is a romantic gift idea to make the engraving inside the ring, customizing it with a secret message.
Hidden Message Ring
There are more ideas to make the present with a ring even more special. Thus you can engrave rings with the picture of your actual heart beating, that could symbolize, that hearts of you both, you and your loved one, are beating in unison.
You see, how many ideas modern jewelry offers. The band rings you see here are perfect for gift giving not just because of the engraving. They feature an adjustable size, sure to fit.
But let's have a look, where the history of rings takes its origin. It would be interesting to know, isn't it?
Existing for more than six thousand years, rings can be seen in almost all cultures of the world. In addition to decorative purposes, rings always served for various goals, both practical and symbolic. Rings were used for proclaiming love, to seal correspondence and authenticate documents. They served to perpetuate friendship, honor the dead, and as talismans to protect against the evil forces.
Rings were also used as symbolic signs of faith or as tangible evidence of power and wealth.
Such a ubiquitous item, rings of all periods have been preserved, providing valuable historical information about various cultures and as a graph of the main themes of design and materials in the history of jewelry.
Ancient and Classic Rings
It is known that the ancient Egyptians wore scarab rings carved from various stones, such as lapis lazuli, amethyst, rock crystal and turquoise, strung simply with silver or gold wire. They were often engraved on the flat side of the scarab with decorative hieroglyphs, protective symbols or names. During the New Kingdom (1559-1085 BC), Egyptian jewelers progressed and created rings of various metals for the rulers. These rings served not only as visible symbols of rank and authority, but also as a means of verifying the authenticity of documents. The Egyptians wore rings as seals or for religious and talismanic purposes, and although the materials were carefully crafted and the decorative role of stones and drawings was obvious, they were worn for some purpose, and not just as decoration.
The ancient Greeks and Romans wore rings for a variety of purposes too, including though purely decorative ones. The Greeks wore scarab rings, as well as rings engraved with nature motifs and figures of mythology and literature. Rings were adorned with precious stones, which were valued for their beauty, rarity, and talismanic properties. Rings were crafted of various materials in different combinations.
In Rome, during the time of the Roman Republic, the first rings were made of iron and served as seals. The right to wear gold rings was initially granted only to senators and only as ambassadors of the Republic. Over time, the right to wear gold rings was granted to all civilians. In the last years of the existence of the Roman Empire, men and women began to wear heavy gold rings with rare and expensive precious stones, showing more and more noticeable manifestations of wealth and status. Although it was once rare to wear more than one ring, by the first century AD, each finger could be loaded with a lot of jewelry.
The Greeks used rings as signs of love and affection, with corresponding symbols, such as images of Eros or Aphrodite, often engraved on them. However, it is believed that the custom of exchanging rings as a symbol of engagement originated among the Romans. Roman wedding rings often depicted two right hands folded in a symbolic representation of marriage and fidelity, called in Latin dextrarum iunctio. In Roman symbolism, the right hand was considered sacred to the deity of fidelity - this motif reappears in the Middle Ages as a federal ring. According to ancient texts, the engagement ring was worn on the ring finger of the left hand, believing that this finger had veins, 'Amoris' that flowed directly to the heart. Another motive used for engagement rings was the marriage knot or the Hercules knot, a simple and symbolic design of two intertwined ropes, which is probably the origin of the phrase “tie a knot”.
The Middle Ages saw the heyday of chivalry and courtly love. Rings of friendship and love were popular and were often marked by feelings of affection. The fashionable poetic ring was a golden hoop with a short poem “poetry” inscribed either in Latin or, more typically, in the French language of romance. Many of the phrases were often repeated, most popular phrases included: mon cuer avez (you have my heart), duly mon couer (with all your heart) and amor vinicit omnia (love conquers all).
More complex versions were decorated with enamel patterns of leaves, flowers and tears that expressed gentle feelings.
Another popular mood ring in this era was the Jimmel ring (from Latin gemellus for twins), featuring intertwined double or triple hoops representing bonds of friendship and love. It is believed that they had French origin, combined with the motive of ancient Rome. Another marriage ring that was created in the Middle Ages was the Jewish marriage ring. These rings, most often made of richly enamelled and filigree gold, often featured miniature houses symbolizing a marriage house or Jerusalem temple. As such, they were worn as symbols just during the wedding ceremony, being too bulky to wear them daily.
The Renaissance was the era of the jeweler. In contrast to the relative simplicity of the Middle Ages, the golden business in the Renaissance reached a new level of craftsmanship and design. As the art of sculpture and painting reached new heights of craftsmanship, the jeweler's bench was considered the best training ground for achieving the depth of detail and accuracy that characterized the era of the most talented artists. Truly recognized artists, such as the painter and sculptor Donatello, the painter Botticelli and the sculptor and jeweler Benvenuto Cellini, were all also jewelers. Their virtuosity was evident in all kinds of jewelry, but especially in the art of rings. Under the influence of interest in sculpture and painting, the rings were often decorated with arabesques, motifs of sculptural figures, floral patterns and extravagantly enameled in increasingly sophisticated techniques, including en ronde bosse.
Colored stones remained popular among all who could afford them, and the most desired stones were ruby, sapphire and emerald. Rings, as in the Middle Ages, were worn on each finger and in many layers. The high fashion of the late Renaissance included sophisticated ruffles around the neck, large soft sleeves, and cuffs that influenced also the shapes of jewelry that was worn.
Renaissance rings often featured portrait engravings of modern European rulers, such as Henry VIII in England. Roman emperors and other classical objects were among very popular themes. Pearls, carved by skilled artists or preserved from ancient times, were highly valued too - presented in sculpted and enameled frames. Rings of heraldic seals of a more practical purpose, as a rule, were presented in simpler, more functional forms, which were though valued as family relics representing the family tree.
The heliotrope was recognized as a particularly suitable gem for this purpose. Rings depicting guilds or merchants were quite simple and suitable for the use. Initial rings were also popular and more thoughtfully designed with initials connected by knots, or forget me not flowers. In some cases, they were given as wedding rings with the initials of the engaged, intertwined together.
The rings of love and friendship have retained many of the same themes and forms as in the Middle Ages, although in more elaborate conditions. Cupid with a bow, arrows and hearts were two of the familiar motives. More unusual was the deer fed on dittani, grass that was believed to heal wounds, including those caused by the arrow of love. There could also be a depiction of a faithful dog, adopted as a symbol of fidelity between lovers. The gift ring now had its inscriptions, meant as a sign of love and as a wedding ring.
The Georgian era, much later, in 1714-1830 years, was largely associated with the spirit of romance and the celebration of bonds of friendship. There were popular rings, which depicted one bezel with two folded hands holding a heart crowned with a crown.
The motif of the heart was by far the most popular symbol of love in this era, which included many other insignia, such as knots of lovers, keys and locks, turtledoves, burning torches. Hair was also a common element in many rings. The wicker locks of a son, daughter or grandson, as well as the locks of a wife or lover, were embedded in rings in various ways: woven into engraving, hidden in glass details, woven into a bezel and combined with portrait miniatures.
The French company Mellerio used in 1809 the first letter of the gems to denote feelings: ADORE (Amethyst, Diamond, Opal, Ruby. Emerald). French was considered already then to be the language of love, which was used in poetic rings and in visual and phonetic games in rebus rings, which used images and words to express feelings. Pense de moi (think of me) was represented by an enameled pansy, followed by the letters LACD, which are phonetically translated into Elle a Cédé (she lost).
Marriage rings of this era ranged from simple gold or silver bands to the increasingly popular diamond rings. Often both sides of the engagement rings were surrounded with a pair of protective rings, usually made of narrow diamond strings. By the 1800s, diamond rings had become the most common engagement rings; the protective keepers turned into a simple wedding band, which are traditionally given by lovers to each other during the wedding ceremony. The engagement rings were traditionally worn on the ring finger of the left hand.
In France, the couple’s dates and initials were written on the wedding ring, known as the alliance, and this was often accompanied by a symbolic piece of marriage — a medal that also contained the initials of the couple and the date of marriage. The alliance's favorite theme was the romantic drawing of two hearts made of precious stones, sometimes pierced by an arrow of a cupid or combined under elegant giraffes. Another custom of the day was to give the bride an engraved ring to mark the change in her name to her husband's name. It was customary for the bride to receive at the wedding a ring with the initials of her new name, first made in pink diamonds in an open bezel, and in the second half of the century often artfully interlaced, painted on a dark blue background.
Gold Ring for her
So, now when choosing a ring, you will look at it differently, won't you?
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