Monday, January 2, 2012

The History of Rings

Discoveries made between 1922 and 1934 in ancient Babylonia (Iraq) proved the
existence of Finger Rings from about 2500 BC.

On the picture from well known book "7000 years of jewelry "
Finger rings inlaid with lapis lazuli within a fine scale pattern of gold cells.
During the Medieval period is when rings became especially popular. All classes of people wore rings from the poorest to the richest. Rings were typically made of iron, copper, silver, and gold. The material of the ring worn usually indicated the class of the wearer. It wasn't until around the 14th century that faceted jewels appeared in rings.

Some cultures have rings typically associated with them. Cultures such as Native Americans use silver and turquoise in their jewelry. Early Christians used the Greek symbol, the Icthus, which resembles a fish.

One of the best known is the Irish Claddagh that also has an intriguing story attached to it. Richard Joyce was among the crew of a fishing boat from the village of Claddagh, Ireland that was captured, he was to have been married that very same week. During slavery Richard Joyce was put to the trade of Goldsmith-ing. Through the years of capture neither married. Richard Joyce created a ring for his love with a heart and two hands.  After Joyce escaped capture, he returned to the village of Claddagh and was overjoyed to see his love again and to know she had never married. She always knew he would return to her. He gave her the ring that has become known as the Claddagh ring. If the Claddagh is worn on the right hand with the crown inward (toward the wrist) the heart is not yet committed. If it is worn on the right hand with the crown turned outward the wearer is committed to someone. Finally if it is worn on the left hand with the crown outward it means "Let our love and friendship reign forever,
never to be separated."

Late 14th century. Right one: French, 15th century, engraved with a saracen`s head. British Museum, London.

Rings are worn for a variety of reasons including adornment. There are rings given as a reward for a job well done such as the Super Bowl victory.
They are given to represent commitment as in engagements and marriages. Women religious to signify their commitment to God also wear rings.
Rings can be made of almost any material now. They can be made from plastic, silver, gold, or copper, even wood. They can be made of ceramic materials as well. They can be of simple design or something as intricate as engraved 3D design.

Solomon Ring .The middle band of white gold carries the cut letters, with the yellow gold visible in the apertures. It turns and includes a special inscription in Hebrew with the Magen David symbol.

Article and pictures sourses:


  1. Really interested to hear the story behind the Irish Claddagh ring. My own rings have levels of meaning behind them, and I hope, carry significance and awareness to the wearer. Diane