Hong Kong’s wedding season is about to start, and whether you’re looking for an engagement ring to pop the question or a pair of wedding bands to signify your love and commitment, it’s important to do your research and make sure you get things right (it only happens once, right?). To set you on the right path, we thought we’d dig a little deeper and share with you a few of the myths and facts that surround this symbol of eternal love, so you’ll get a better idea of how to choose the perfect ring.
(Cover image credit: courtesy of Graff)
Snakes are very misunderstood creatures
Though most commonly known as the Satan in the Bible, the serpent is also believed to have a dual personality of both good and evil, and therefore can also have positive associations such as wisdom and good luck. In terms of jewellery, snake rings, especially ones with ruby eyes, were actually very popular wedding bands in Victorian England, all due to the emerald serpent ring Prince Albert used to propose to Queen Victoria. The Queen believed that the coils, which wind into a circle, symbolise eternal love, and will ensure a true ‘happily ever after’.
Pictured: Bulgari’s Serpenti Viper ring
Diamonds were once reserved for royals only
Diamonds weren’t always a necessary requirement for engagement rings. In fact, the first recorded use of diamond engagement rings was in 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy. However, the gem was so rare that it remained exclusive to the rich and powerful, and wasn’t accessible to the public until 400 years later, when the diamond mines in South Africa were discovered.
Blue represents marital harmony
Jewels come in all kinds of colours, and each often has their own symbolic meaning. For engagement and wedding rings, it is believed that those set with a blue sapphire or aquamarine will ensure a long and happy marriage for its representation of faithfulness and sincerity.
Pictured: Van Cleef & Arpels’ ‘Boucle’ ring
The earliest wedding rings were braided from plants
The old tradition of exchanging wedding rings is thought to be originated from ancient Egypt over 4,800 years ago. Lovebirds at the time would take the famous papyrus, and then braid them into rings along with twisted sedges, rushes or reeds.
Pictured: De Beers’ Adonis Rose yellow gold band
The vein of love that might or might not exist
Why are engagement and wedding rings traditionally worn on the fourth finger of the left hand? Because according to a belief that dates back to ancient Greece, it contains a special vein (a.k.a. the vena amoris, or the ‘vein of love’) that leads directly to the heart. Though it’s already been proven to be scientifically incorrect, it’s still one of the favourite myths told today.