Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wrapped Around Your Finger

On my wedding day, February 1998. Was I ever so young?

In honor of William and Kate’s wedding on Friday (which I do believe I will get up early for), I’d like to share a wedding day snapshot of myself, as well as some wedding band facts I learned when researching rings for an article I wrote a few years ago for the Park Slope Reader, a neighborhood magazine. The article was titled “Wrapped Around Your Finger” and focused on tips by Brooklyn jewelry designers on getting the wedding band that’s right for you. The facts presented here were a sidebar called “Wedding Rings in History.”

I’ve read that William has elected not to wear a wedding band. It’s not like he needs it to identify himself as married; after tomorrow he is going to be the most famous husband in the world for awhile.

My husband and I have simple gold bands purchased from a shop in the Diamond District in Manhattan—always an experience, shopping there. You can get a good deal but it’s not nearly as romantic as shopping at Tiffany.

A few wedding ring facts:

-The Egyptians believed the circle, with no beginning or end, signified eternity and they twisted reeds and hemp into the first wedding rings. They wore them on the third finger of the left hand, in the belief that the vein there traveled straight to the heart. This legend was adopted by both the Greeks and the Romans and the vein in this finger became known as “vena amoris,” the “vein of love.”

-Mary, Duchess of Burgundy, became the first woman to receive a diamond engagement ring. Knowing there were many suitors for her hand, Archduke Maximilian of Austria acted on the advice of his counselors and presented her with the diamond ring they believed would impress her. It worked, Mary and Maximilian wed on August 18, 1477. By the 1600s, diamond engagement rings were in vogue all over Europe.

-In early America, Puritans felt adornment such as jewelry was immoral, so men gave their brides thimbles as tokens of love. Some women cut off the top part of the thimble, creating a makeshift wedding ring.

-Men’s wedding rings became popular in World War II. With the soldiers’ long deployments overseas, bands became both symbols of their marriages and a reminder of the wives waiting for them back home.

Do you wear a wedding band? If so, what kind?


Anonymous said...

Fascinating bits of history! I had no idea about any of it. I love most the detail about the Duchess of Burgundy--it almost makes me want a diamond!

Cloud of Secrets said...

This is fascinating! And you look so fresh and pretty and happy on your Big Day.

I wonder if William has decided against a ring because of his physically active military career. It does seem odd, otherwise.

My husband and I both wear simple white gold bands. White gold was more appropriate to our gothy sensibilities back then, and it is still a better match for both of us. I have since stacked a silver filigree band with mine, for a little more ring/accessory effect. For special occasions I'll add my engagement diamond in white gold to the stack.

sacramento said...

My dear Jill you looked beautiful then, but even more now. Always improving, like the good wines.
I will be watching the royal wedding as well. I want to see who wears what hehehehe.
On the ring, I don´t wear any, my husband wears 2. hehehe.
Much love, my dear friend.

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

You are so pretty!! I love the picture... I will have to settle for reports on the wedding! I hope it will be everything everyone is hoping for!!

fashionoverfifty said...

I was trying to remmeber WHEN the diamond thing came into favor--thanks for clearing that up!
Cute post--I was invited to a 4AM Royal Wedding party with hats--I passed on it but I have to say I thought the Queen looked fetching in that yellow hat and coat!

Anonymous said...

I was very interested in the thimbles among the Puritans. I do wear a ring, complete with some very modest diamonds. My husband wears a band...with a secret message inscribed.

jill815 said...

Hi Catherine, I love learning bits of history about common things. I was surprised to learn that the fashion of diamond rings went back to 1477.

jill815 said...

Hi Sarah, I originally wanted white gold but my husband campaigned for yellow gold so we went with that. Since I'm so busy with kid stuff most of the time I just wear the band itself, but I do try to add, on dressier occasions, the nice ruby and diamond ring my husband gave me for my 30th birthday.

jill815 said...

Hi Sacramento, what a nice compliment! It's so funny to see pictures from that time in my life, before kids and all that sleep deprivation started showing up on my face! I loved learning that your husband wears two rings, you wear none. Is there a story there?

jill815 said...

Hi Pam, did you watch the wedding? I have to go to your blog and find out. I know you are helping to plan for a big wedding in your own family! I can't wait to hear everything.

jill815 said...

Hi Paula, I liked what the Queen was wearing for the wedding too. She looked lively and bright in yellow. And I always love her little handbag!

jill815 said...

Hi Terri, I found the facts on Puritans and thimbles to be fascinating too. I love that you have a secret message inscribed inside your ring!

Veshoevius said...

Thank you for sharing your wedding photo - you look every bit the blushing bride (I'd love to see the dress in full) and very interesting facts about wedding rings. I never got married so no rings for me.

jill815 said...

Hi Veshoevius, not even a little "Baby I love you let's stay together forever, but who needs to get married" ring?

mark lawrence said...

Interesting information about wedding rings. You are looking lovely in your wedding picture by the way. Me and my fiancé will also be heading out to pick our wedding rings tomorrow. We are getting married next month and are organizing an amazing wedding at one of my favorite venues in Los Angeles.