1. Why the "left hand, third finger?"
In ancient cultures it was believed that the third finger of the left hand, had a special vein called vena amoris, the vein of "love," that ran from the "ring finger" finger directly to the heart.
2. What is the origin of the word "betrothed?"
The word "betrothed" comes from the Anglo-Saxon "troweth," meaning truth.
Betrothed means "giving a truth or pledge" and so, an engagement ring becomes an outward indication to everyone that a woman has pledged her love to one man alone.
3. Where does the word "diamond" originate?
The Greek "adamant" means steadfast or invincible. It is from this word that
the diamond gets its name. Diamonds were believed to be invincible, indestructible, and exceedingly strong.
4. What's a "princess ring?"
The "princess ring" is a type of English engagement ring which contained three, four or five diamonds in a row, across the top. This ring design was very popular in this country, in the early twentieth century.
5. What is the smallest engagement ring ever gifted to a bride-to-be?
The smallest betrothal ring on record was given to two-year-old Princess
Mary, daughter of Henry VIII. When she became engaged to the infant Dauphin of France, son of King Francis I, in 1518, a tiny gold ring, set with a valuable diamond, was fitted to her finger.
6. Where and when did the custom of giving a second (i.e., a wedding band) originate?
Giving a second ring, a wedding band, is a relatively recent practice. Since 1477, when Archduke Maximilian I, emperor of Austria gave a diamond betrothal ring to Mary of Burgundy, the diamond has been the gem of choice to seal an engagement.
7. How and where did the traditional engagement ring and wedding band "guard" originate?
In 1761, King George III first introduced the tradition of the "keeper," or guard ring. He presented a band encircled with diamonds to his bride, Queen Charlotte. Today such rings continue their popularity as a wedding or an anniversary band.
8. In which country is it traditional for the bridegroom to give a ring to everyone who attended the wedding ceremony?
The custom existed in Persia . . . and, by the way, out to be "outdone," Queen Victoria and Prince Albert gave out six dozen rings, each engraved with the queen's profile, at their wedding ceremony.
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