The ring: origin and tradition of a unique jewel
The ring, meant as engagement ring or donated to set forth different relations, has a rich, ancient and important history that made it so powerful as symbol of eternity. It was born as seal and it had a relevant evolution, until becoming a real symbol of love.
We have already dedicated several articles to one of the most desired and meaningful jewel in the world: the engagement ring.
The engagement ring has a rich and fascinating history that helped to enhance this symbol of love. However, ring as a jewel has proper origins, prior to the ones of engagement ring, so that it is important to pay special attention to ring’s tradition.
Ring’s origin is very ancient as it dates back to the Bronze Age. However, at the beginning, ring did not have ornamental purpose as it was used as seal. This custom has Oriental origins that may be located in Egypt and Mesopotamia, in fact many pharaohs used to forge seal-rings with symbols and images. The use of ring as royal seal or seal for official documents had a great importance because it originated the symbolic idea of authority ad power associated to this jewel.
The power of ring was mainly linked to religious roles. In the ancient Rome, Zeus priests were the only ones who could wear rings, mainly in iron. Later on, these religious rings were forged with gold and they symbolized priests’ privileges. The most famous example surely is the Pope’s ring of the Fisherman, introduced in 1265.
However, the great power represented by this jewel is not simply connected to authorities but it also has a symbolic side. The ring, thanks to its circular shape, is symbol of eternity but it also has a link with material and earthy life. For this, in the past, people used to remove rings form the departed‘s fingers to allow them to leave the earth towards the heaven.
Moreover, healthy and destruction powers were associated to rings and this vision is evident also in many works of art and books, till nowadays. A famous example surely is the trilogy of “The lord of the ring” by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The tradition to associate special values to rings as symbols of union in relationships developed since the Roman age and derived exactly form the powers of ring itself. At that time, the jewel was used to set forth engagements and marriages, with the name of vinculum and anulus pronubus. However, this conception was enhanced later on, not only for emotional relations. The same value of stability and honour was also conferred to rings in heraldry and the act of breaking a ring meant the symbolic destruction of a oath or the risk of incoming misfortunes.
Presently, the engagement ring, decorated with a solitaire diamond or with coloured gems, surrounded by brilliant cut diamonds, surely is the most loved and famous model, however there are other kinds of rings, from the simple wedding ring that, even if surely gorgeous, is more appreciated for its value than for its aspect, to other rings donated with several meanings. Nevertheless, both in case of love rings and power rings, this jewel is destined to be a must in jewelry sector forever.