Ancient Greeks and Romans wore bracelets to signify power and authority! But...
Golden rings are as much a historic symbol as they are a fun fashion accessory: having been found in archeological sites across the world – as well as being present in art and literature throughout the centuries – gold rings are perhaps the most timeless of all gold jewelry. Yet who were the first people to start wearing gold rings?
In this blog, we’re going to construct a timeline where we’ll take a look at the beginning – as well as the evolution – of gold rings, and how they’ve become such a symbolic piece of jewelry in modern times.
Who were the first to wear gold rings?
Historians and archeologists remain conflicted on this question, as gold rings have been found in historic burial sites all over the world, from Ancient Rome to Ancient Egtpt. While some believe that the first gold rings were worn by Egyptians, archeological discoveries have proved that gold rings were first worn around 6000 years ago, and have been found in the following regions: MesoAmerica, Mesopotamia, Ancient China, Eastern Europe, Ancient Egypt, India, as well as Ancient Greece and Rome.
Gold rings in Babylon and Sumer (2300 B.C.)
While historians debate over the origin of gold rings, some of the earliest documented evidence of gold rings dates back to Ancient Babylon and Sumer (also known as modern-day Iraq). Here, it was customary for citizens – especially those of higher social standing – to wear thin gold bands, both as a sign of religious rites and personal commitment.
Gold Rings in Ancient Egypt (3100 B.C.)
The earliest evidence of gold rings being worn dates back to the ancient Egyptians. Fashioned from solid or braided strands, these rings were often decorated with carvings and inlaid stones, and those who wore them usually had a higher status in society. Women often wore rings with religious symbols, whereas men would wear ones indicating their profession or title.
Gold Rings in Ancient Greece and Rome (500 B.C.E. - 400 C.E.)
Gold rings were also popular in Ancient Greece and Rome; however, the designs were slightly more varied than those of the Egyptians. Because gold was a durable metal that could be easily shaped and decorated with carvings or stones, it was the perfect material for wedding bands. In fact, the ancient Romans even developed a special ceremony for exchanging gold rings during marriage, which is why marrying couples now exchange wedding rings during traditional marriage ceremonies.
Ancient Greeks also used gold to make decorative pieces such as bracelets and signet rings, however, these tended to be quite plain compared to those made during the Byzantine period. In addition to this, it’s important to note that many Greeks favored other types of jewelry, such as thigh cuffs, armbands, and bracelets.
Gold rings in the 20th Century
As time progressed, gold rings became less a symbol of power and wealth, and became more directly associated with their sentimental Roman origins as wedding rings. Plus, as gold became more widely available to the average citizen across both the West and elsewhere in the world, they were widely adopted as fashion accessories by both men and women.
Gold Rings in the Modern Era
Today, gold rings are still popular fashion accessories, and also hold significant and sentimental meaning to those who wear them; from engagement rings to wedding bands, gold rings are exchanged as symbols of love and commitment, while also being passed down through generations as family heirlooms.
No matter the era, gold rings have persisted throughout the turbulent, messy timeline of human history, from the Ancient Greeks to the Renaissance. Whether you’re looking for a gorgeous 22 carat gold ring, or something sentimental, browse our collection today and explore beautiful, Indian-inspired gold pieces.