Rings have been around for longer than man has had a written history. While this makes it unfortunately hard to track their exact origin, it might be a little boring to read about anyway. History shows rings being worn as far back as 3,000 BC and that they are still more than popular today. Throughout history, different ring materials including gold, silver, copper, platinum and even wood have been used, each with their own meaning and use.
Choosing a ring to wear should be based on what you find attractive, a metal that you like and are not allergic to and of course, what flatters your skin color and body type. However, you can also consider the history of rings as well.
Gold is the Most Popular Material for Rings
Left: Heart Ring. Right: Double Drop Fancy Sapphire Ring designed by Gurhan
Gold rings, including yellow gold and white gold rings, have been the most popular rings since pretty much the beginning of time. These bands are popular for use as decorative wear, as wedding bands and in the past, as symbols of status. Gold rings can be plain and unadorned; for most of history simple gold bands had either filigree or patterns or no decoration and occasionally an uncut stone. In the 14th century, jewel smiths began adding cut or faceted stones such as diamonds and other precious stones to gold rings as well. This process made the simple gold or white gold rings much more beautiful than an uncut stone.
Throughout history, gold bands have stood for everything from a promise (such as the promise to marry) to being a status symbol of the wealthy. In fact, you can still see some of the rings’ history as a power symbol in popular culture movies and television where rings are often given magical power.
Other Popular Materials for Rings
Other materials have enjoyed various usage as well. Rings became exceptionally popular during the medieval era of Europe and England and during this time nearly everyone could be spotted with decorations on their fingers. Depending on wealth and status, rings could be made of wood, copper, twine or gold or silver decorated with large precious stones.
Today, the material in a ring says less about your status and more about preference. While gold and white gold rings are still the most popular, many alternatives include tungsten, titanium, copper, silver, aluminum and even plastic or ceramic.
Use of Rings as Engagement & Wedding Bands
Left: The Connie Engagement Ring. Right: The Scattered Diamond Wedding Band by Astley Clarke Bridal
Engagement and Wedding, as well as Eternity bands have been popular for some time. One of the first actual references to a wedding ring appears sometime in the early 16th century. However, history indicates that some form of wedding ring, or bodily jewellery, has been worn by women to indicate marriage since the founding of the institution. Men mostly started wearing wedding rings sometime after and during World War One, as a reminder of their sweethearts and loved ones at home.
White gold rings are the most popular material for both men and women but other materials such as platinum, silver or rhodium are also quite possible. People who are allergic to nickel will often go with a less traditional material such as tungsten or titanium. Many wedding rings are also decorated with cut jewels including various birth stones and the ever popular diamond.
Rings in Popular Culture
Rings have always been and probably always will be part of fashion and popular culture. While it isn’t necessary for you to wear one, nearly everyone, including men, has worn rings at some point in their lives. Rings are relatively small, can be worn to work and are generally very easy to clean and maintain. They are also very customizable and can be purchased in nearly any material, with any stone or even special engravings. Most importantly, the ring doesn’t require piercing or special preparation which makes it very versatile jewellery that anyone can wear. Today, popular rings include over-sized fashion rings, white gold rings and of course, personalized or engraved designs.
You can purchase rings including white gold rings online. Just make sure that you size your finger correctly before you purchase.