The long history of Twig Wedding Bands begins in the history of rings for marriage altogether. The use of rings to symbolize the incredible bonds of marriage dates back to Ancient Egypt and has carried on, from culture to culture, until this very day. While wedding bands can seem to have a very universal design, simple gold rings for men and jewel-studded designs for women, this trend is actually quite new in the bigger picture. Even now, new designs are springing up. One such example is twig wedding bands.
Twig wedding bands utilize real twigs of various trees to create the base for a ring of precious metal that is often later inset with gems of various types. This creates a natural, symbolic, and unique ring that is much different from the traditional designs of the last century. In truth however, these new twig bands are actually very much in the spirit of wedding rings throughout history, whose designs have varied as greatly as the people of the world have.
In Ancient Egypt, over 5000 years ago, wedding rings formed of loops of plant fiber, like reeds, were exchanged as a symbol of lasting love. In Egyptian theology, circles represented eternity, and the rings worn by spouses represented eternal bonds. It was also, interestingly, Egyptians who began the tradition of wearing the ring on the ring finger, which they believed was the home of a vein that connected to the heart of each human.
In both Greece and Rome, rings became associated with dowries and vows. Later, the rise of Christianity in Europe solidified the exchange of rings and vows as a part of Christian marriage rites. Trends based off of Christian marriage rites spread through the world, and experienced many evolutions and changes as the traditional rites merged with those of the cultures Christian countries colonized or cooperated with.
In medieval Europe, wedding rings of nobles would often be etched with Biblical imagery. In many Middle Eastern countries, a unique type of ring known as a puzzle ring was very popular. This type of ring was segmented in such a way that it would be easily visible if it had been removed. These were primarily worn by wives in accordance with customs of the time so that their husbands would know if they had removed the ring. Nordic custom held that wives and husbands should wear identical rings of plain design, so as not to be overly showy and to symbolize the equality of the participants necessary for a successful marriage.
It is only since the early 1900s that wedding rings as we know them today arose. Before the 1900s in the United States, only wives wore rings. At the turn of the century, trends changed and became what we now recognize as “traditional” style rings; bands for both spouses that are styled differently based on gender.
Now, in a new century, a part of tradition is changing yet again. More and more people are seeking out new ways to express their love. Twig wedding bands are one such way. These bands speak of an appreciation for nature, an acceptance of a chaotic, but unspeakably beautiful world, and the recognition of the unique nature of every love story. Twig rings are largely made by independent artisans, not the international mega-corporations that have dominated the jewelry industry for the last century, meaning that they are characterized even further with an appreciation of the craft of jewelry and the personality of the artist who makes each ring special.