My grandmother's engagement ring and the ruby ring my husband, Pierre, gave me after our first son was born in July.
Being in the jewelry business I see all kinds of jewelry, most of which is new. What I find most interesting though, is jewelry that customers have owned for many years and wear on a regular basis. When customers bring in their jewelry to be appraised or repaired, I am fascinated at the different designs, metals, and gems that each unique piece has. Rings are worn daily by many and often are worn for more than just a fashion statement—they pay tribute to something or someone very special. I know that behind each ring is a unique story and history, which is why rings are the most personal jewelry of all.
Rings, more than any other kind of jewelry, often symbolize a relationship. They can symbolize your spouse, a parent, grandparent, or anyone else meaningful in your life. You might wear your ring to keep a loved one close or to celebrate someone’s life. Rings are a wonderful piece of jewelry to wear because they can be easily seen by the person wearing them—allowing the owner to look at the ring throughout their day. It can serve as a constant reminder of who or what you might be wearing it for.
Perhaps one of the most common rings to own is an engagement or wedding ring, which is worn to symbolize marriage. In western culture, rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because the Romans believed that a vein (the Vein of Love) ran directly from that finger to the heart.
Commitment rings symbolize a commitment to your relationship that is not marriage. Usually (but not always), they are given to your significant other before an engagement and are a symbol of their commitment to the other person. You are promising or dedicating yourself to your significant other.
Family or Mother’s rings are worn as a way to commemorate and show appreciation for your family. Mother’s rings typically contain gemstones from each of her children and family rings celebrate the heritage of your family. As an example, one of my customers wears a small ring with a moss agate gemstone. The ring is given to the eldest daughter of each generation on her 12th birthday.
Inherited rings can be extremely meaningful, symbolizing a loved one who has passed or your family heritage. The physical wear and tear that is visible on an inherited ring adds to its meaning. You might ponder what every owner of the ring might have endured during their lifetime or how much it meant to them when they wore it.
An inherited ring can also serve as a tribute to a dearly loved person on a special occasion, such as a wedding. Some of my customers have worn inherited rings on their wedding day to keep their loved one close and have said they are “bringing grandma” along with them on their special day.
If you’ve ever reached a huge milestone in your life, you can understand the desire to symbolize it with something special. A ring is something you can wear to reward yourself for reaching a goal or a professional achievement. It can serve as a constant reminder of the hard work and dedication you put into achieving the goal.
Gemstones serve an important purpose in your ring. Not only do they showcase your fashion or sense of style, there may also be something more meaningful tied to them. Certain gemstones are worn for their protective powers such as ruby (brings vitality, power, and passion) or amethyst (promotes healing and offers guidance in spiritual matters). Rings can also have meaning without gemstones, however.
These Irish rings have clasped hands, a heart, and a crown. They symbolize friendship, love and loyalty and have no gemstone at all. There are different meanings that are associated with the way you wear the ring including:
I’ve always been interested in archaeology. I love looking at ancient objects because of the rich history tied to them. I wonder about the person who made or used the item and what they had to endure throughout their lifetime. Ancient jewelry is fascinating and rings are the most poignant jewelry to look at.
Her skeletal remains were found in Herculaneum, which was buried by the famous Mount Vesuvius volcano in A.D. 79. She was found wearing two rings, an emerald and ruby ring, as well as two gold bracelets. It can be assumed based on her age, health, and the jewelry she had that she was a wealthy woman trying to escape the volcano.
Image courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London
These gold rings derived their name from the French word, “poésie” or poem because of the short sayings engraved on them. During the Middle Ages in France and England, lovers exchanged posie rings as a symbol of their love and commitment to each other. Some examples of the sayings engraved include “true love will not remove” and “in thee my choyce I do rejoyce.”
During the 1700’s in England, these rings were given to close relatives or friends of a deceased person during their funeral. They were paid for ahead of time by the honored person and designated according to their will. The design of these rings varied and would include mottoes, skulls, or initials and dates engraved on them.
Throughout time, rings have proven their worth not only by their monetary value, but also their emotional value. They are worn as a symbol of someone very near and dear to your heart. They serve as a reminder throughout your day of who or what you are wearing them for, and as such, they are an extremely personal piece of jewelry to own.
Plante Jewelers is proud to be a local, independent jewelry store that takes the time to get to know each customer. Visit our store in Swansea to look at our ring collections, try on a few pieces, or work with one of our designers to create your own unique ring. You can also bring in your rings (or any other piece of jewelry) to be inspected free of charge.
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