From ancient times, circles have been symbols of what is eternal. With no beginning or end, a circle was seen as representative of that which lasts forever. This belief lies behind the tradition of giving a ring to symbolize eternal love. Wedding rings, friendship rings, promise rings all hold the idea that true love remains for all time.
Ancient beliefs held that the ring finger was connected to a person’s heart. Thus, the promise of a ring was that the giver’s heart would be faithful to the love expressed in the symbol. It was also believed that the circle of a ring would hold the bearer’s heart within it, forever enclosed by the love shared.
Giving a ring to someone you love as a token of marriage has been a tradition for thousands of years. In ancient times such a ring would be made from hemp or reeds. It was a symbol not only of love but of status as a married person. Later iron, gold or silver were used for rings, but their use as a symbol of marriage continued. In later times rings would also become a symbol of friendship or engagement.
An interesting sidenote regarding married couples in the US is that, before WWll, few men wore a wedding ring. Wearing one became popular as they were going off to war, however, as a reminder of the person they loved back home.
No matter how the styles, materials, or reasons for giving a ring have changed over time, one thing remains the same. They are still circles. The depth of the meaning of eternal love, with no beginning and no end, has remained the same for thousands of years. It is the promise of love for a lifetime, love without end, that makes the circle such an enchanting symbol.