Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Do you Ring?

I was doing a little research for a friend on wedding rings, symbolism, history - and I came across some FASCINATING information that I'd like to use somewhere in a WIP.

Check this link out for the website + info that inspired me...

It was a while back that I paid a visit to the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit with my family. That museum isn't just about cars. They have a lot of stuff there, sharing the history of peoples who lived in this area. Some of it is history you can touch. Others are enclosed behind glass cases with information posted nearby.

It was here I realized that people did not always exchange actual rings upon getting married. Only the wealthy or upper classes had money to purchase gold rings (or such) for their brides. Some people were more into hair and brooches - something that really grossed me out at the time, actually.

During the recent research too, I discovered -

1. Guys only recently started wearing wedding rings. They did so during WWII, as a reminder of the gals back home while they were fighting. Historically, only women received that particular item as a part of the wedding. Guys DID wear rings for other reasons, just not to show they were taken.

2. The wedding ring used to symbolize ownership - as in, the woman was property of the guy who wed her.

3. The ring's circular shape symbolizes eternity, which is why it came to be used as a particular symbol of marriage. <- This despite the fact that divorces DID happen during ancient times, particularly Rome.

4. The EGYPTIANS were the first to begin wearing wedding rings. I know I shouldn't be surprised, but still, I didn't expect that.

More to the point, the above link had two items which almost caused a FLASH for me -

The Greek and Roman bridegroom often gave a ring to the bride's father-a practice that was probably a survival of primitive bride purchase. In the second century B. C., the Roman bride was presented with a gold ring. But this she wore only in public. Such a ring was much too precious to wear while tending to household duties; and so the groom gave the bride a second ring - for use in the home - which was usually made of iron and had little knobs in the form of a key. Of course, these "key" rings were weak and could open only those locks requiring very little force to turn, but their significance, in that the wearer had the right to seal up the giver's possessions, was strong.


I was thinking - WOW. Can you imagine receiving a ring that is really a key that opens something special? Yes, I know this has been done before, but I'm still thinking about the possibilities here.

And elsewhere, I came across this:

To Obey
Although the Ancient Romans placed a ring on the fourth finger of their wives hands, the practice had little to do with love and devotion. Rather, wives were a possession to the Romans and the ring was a sign of ownership. Ancient Roman women had no voice in this decision; there was no proposal. Once the women were captured and "ringed," they were married.


The above was taken from here.

And also this:

Some 2000 years ago, Asian puzzle rings were commonly used as wedding bands. It is said that sheiks and sultans required each of their wives to wear one as a pledge of fidelity while he was away.

If for some reason, the woman removed her ring, it would fall apart and be very difficult to put back together without knowing the answer to the puzzle.


The first is a historical romance writer's DREAM. Heheh. And it could work in fantasy too, especially if you are trying to get away from earthian (and Christian) influences.

The other one -

<- A Turkish puzzle ring <- Is something I want to use in a Bluebeardesque story. :]

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