The Difference Between An Engagement Ring And A Wedding Ring

Getting married is an exciting and beautiful thing. The wearing of rings is also a beautiful tradition that is deeply steeped in tradition as well as mythology. For example, many people aren’t aware that the reason that the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand is because of of the belief that there was a vein in that finger that led to the heart. This stems from Ancient Egypt, well before the first engagement ring was ever given.
A question that some people do have is in regards to the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring. Simply put, an engagement ring is the promise and the wedding ring is the completion of that promise.

In early history, an engagement ring was just as simple as a wedding band. Often, after metallurgy was discovered, the ring was a band or it would have an image adhered to it, such as a family crest, key and so on. The ring was a promise to love and a promise to remain monogamous in the relationship.
In 1477, the first known diamond engagement ring was presented to a woman. In this case it was the Archduke of Austria, Maximilian. During this time only the very wealthy could afford to give diamonds in an engagement ring, but other gems were common replacements.
While diamond engagement rings weren’t unheard of, it would be hundreds of years before the giving of a diamond engagement ring became tradition. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1930s, when a diamond seller created an engagement ring commercial, that a diamond ring became more traditional.
The wedding ring is first noted in recorded history in Ancient Egypt. The ring was meant to symbolize the joining of a man and woman together for eternity. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the circle of the ring represented eternity while the hole in the ring represented a doorway that led to a new life. The first wedding bands were made from reeds and hemp. They eventually transitioned into bone, leather or ivory.
A wedding ring, unlike an engagement ring, symbolizes that the wearer is married. In early times no documents were signed, instead the bride received a ring and the marriage was legally binding. This is why most wedding require at least one witness for both the bride and the groom. The exchange of rings with men became more commonplace during WWI. This was so that men would have a keepsake of their wives that they could wear.
As you can see, the difference between a wedding ring and an engagement ring is clear. You can also see that the ring exchange has a long tradition that expresses love and care for the couple in love.
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