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You’ve found her at last. You’ve made sure she’s the one. You don’t want to lose her. It’s time for action, my friend. Time to take that big step and make her your own with a gold engagement ring. But then you stop to ask yourself: How did this engagement ring thing get started, anyway? It’s an interesting mix of commercialism and romance. Yes, we can become jaded by the idea of big gold merchants getting fat off our sentimentality. But really, there are worse things in life. The most important thing to remember: you’ll only do this once. The ring needs to be the right one, not just for her, but also for you. Yes, she’ll wear it. But every time she looks at it or shows it to someone, she’ll think of you. So be sure that the ring represents you and your love.

Some Gold Traditions
Marriage traditions go back to prehistory. The first brides were stolen by their future husbands and carried off to neighboring villages where they treated as the property of the men who took them. Eventually, life in ravaging hordes was replaced by life in farming communities and a man’s property included cattle and other animals. When the time came to include a wife in the household, her acquisition was the same as for any other living property - the man traded for her. Usually this meant offering cows or goats for the daughter of another farmer. In some cultures, the deal was not finalized until the actual swap of “possessions” in case a better deal is offered.

Which Finger? Which Hand?
As the promise of a deal became more trustworthy, a token was given to seal the deal. Eventually, that token became the engagement ring. In ancient Egypt, married women only wore a pair of gold bracelets as jewelry. This became smaller and worn on a finger instead of a wrist. The ancient Greeks wore the gold wedding band on the index finger, while Indians preferred the thumb. The Romans believed that a vein ran from the ring finger of the left hand directly to the heart. This finger was thought to have great power and became the home for the wedding band.

At times, the wedding ring became the gold engagement ring. In some centuries, the ring was first worn on the left hand then switched to the right hand for the wedding. Later, that was reversed with the gold engagement ring worn on the right hand and moved to the left hand at the wedding service. The Irish Claddagh ring shows two hands surrounding a heart topped by a crown. The symbols represent friendship, love and eternity bringing the marriage relationship into modern times. This ring demonstrated respect for the intended bride instead of ownership. The ring began being worn in the 16th century when it was worn as the gold engagement ring, turning the heart toward the body during the wedding.

The Gimmal, named for the Latin word for “joining,” was made of three bands that fit together. As a gold engagement ring, the bands were separated. Each of the couple wore one band while the intended wedding witness wore the third. At the ceremony, the bands were united and worn by the wife. The gold engagement ring symbolizes purity, eternity and cherished treasure. That’s the best gold engagement ring tradition of all.

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