I?m With the Band

| June 16, 2003

It?s the annual wedding season, so what better time to explore the mysterious origins of the wedding band. Some 4,800 years ago, Egyptians twisted plants such as hemp into rings that were meant to represent immortal love and the supernatural. The Romans opted for wedding bands made of iron. ?For Roman women, bands signified a binding legal agreement of ownership by their husbands, who regarded rings as tokens of purchase,? writes Nita Rao in The Village Voice. Both Romans and Egyptians were aware of the vena amoris, or the love vein on the fourth finger, which serves as a direct love line to the heart. And though later versions of the wedding ring, which showed up 2,000 years ago in China and during the Renaissance in Europe, may have varied stylistically, the general idea stayed the same. Anyone in the market today for a wedding ring will likely be looking at platinum or colorful ruby and sapphires, but less traditional ways of advertising your marital status can be worn as a tattoo, a gum wrapper, or whatever gets the message across.
?Nick Garafola

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