A wedding band is a ring made of precious metal, worn on the ring finger to symbolize marriage. A wedding band is indicative of the fidelity of the spouse. It is usually worn on the left ring finger. It was a Greek belief that the vein in the left ring finger goes directly to the heart. The vein was called vena amori. However modern medicine has proven the belief incorrect. The custom of wearing a wedding band is European and has now spread widely across the world. However in Eastern Europe and some parts of Western Europe like the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany the wedding band is worn on the right hand ring finger. Some people wear wedding bands over the neck on a chain. Traditionally the wedding band is worn nearer to the base of the ring finger than the engagement band. Most of the times on the engagement band the spouse’s name is engraved after marriage and the engagement band changes status to become the wedding band. In traditional marriages it is the duty of the best man to take care of the wedding bands and produce them at the time of the ring giving and receiving ceremony. Often the ring bearer (usually a young boy related to the bride or groom) carries the wedding bands on special cushions or pillows.
The ring symbolizes the couple’s love for each other. Making overtures to a man or woman wearing a ring is frowned upon in society. The rings of men and women are a little bit different in design. The bands of men are usually broader than the wedding bands of women. The usual thickness of the bands range from 2 mm to 10 mm. Generally more women wear wedding bands than men. Some people due to their occupations like police men, soldiers, electricians, actors etc do not generally wear wedding bands.
There are thousands of designs of wedding bands available in the market. Generally they are made of precious metals like gold (white gold & yellow gold), titanium, platinum, tungsten carbide, gun metal, stainless steel, nickel etc. Poisonous or corroding metals like aluminum, silver and brass are never used. However as per customs wedding bands can be made of any material. The designs available are domed bands, milgrain bands, two tone bands, flat bands, fancy bands, diamond bands, designer bands, engraved bands, knife edge bands, brushed center bands, plain flat bands, Celtic bands, Irish bands, antique designs, etc. Usually the wedding bands for couples are sold in pairs with matching designs. Sometimes the names of spouses are engraved on the wedding bands. The most common pattern is a plain gold band. It is easier to clean it and gives an elegant look.
Wedding bands are available in attractive designs, studded with gems, with bright polish etc. The gems are available in many shapes like round, marquise, heart, emerald, trillion, multi cut, pear, princess, oval etc. In France and French speaking countries generally the wedding bands are made of three interwoven rings. They represent love, faith and hope.