Since prehistoric times, gold has been considered to be a precious metal due to its scarcity, beauty and enduring qualities. Since 2,000 BC, gold has been used for trading and it is the world's oldest international currency. Similarly, using gold to fashion precious rings and decorative jewelry has a tradition dating back to 3,000 BC - gold in the form of wedding rings (more than any other metal) became the traditional 'currency' of marriage (and of love).
The Tradition of Gold Wedding Rings
Gold prices fluctuate, but investors always consider gold to be a 'safe' bet, so even when gold prices are at an all-time high, people tend to choose gold for their wedding rings. Metals were first commonly used for wedding rings by the Romans including iron that signified the strength of the marriage union. Precious metals such as gold were soon introduced which not only showed the bride and the bride's family that the groom was a man of wealth, but that he trusted his bride with his material possesions. Gold wedding rings were status symbols of course due to the metal's rarity and worth. Until the middle of the 20th century, it was usually just women who wore wedding rings.
Gold Wedding Rings in Ireland
The Irish became to believe that it was bad luck to use any metal other than gold in their wedding rings and in the 18th century, even considered marriages to be invalid unless the ring metal was gold. Irish gold Claddagh wedding rings have been worn since the 16th century and have a distinctive design of two hands holding a heart with a crown on top of it. The hands represent friendship, the heart love and the crown loyalty. Worn as an engagement or wedding ring, the heart faces the woman's wrist to show that her heart is taken.
Royal Welsh Gold Wedding Rings
In 1923, the Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon had their wedding rings made from a nuggest of Clogau gold. The same nugget was used for Queen Elizabeth II's wedding ring and Welsh gold has been the gold of choice for many British royal wedding rings.
Other Wedding Ring Metals
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