There are few wedding traditions as enduring as the exchanging of rings. The tradition of wearing wedding rings dates as far as back ancient Egypt and ancient Rome when people believed there was a special vein located on the left hand. This vein, called Vena Amoris, was thought to go directly from the ring finger of the left hand to the heart. Surviving scrolls and sheets of papyrus show people from this time exchanging rings made from hemp, reeds and other natural materials.
As time went on we learned this idea of a single vein that traverses from the hand to the heart isn’t exactly true, but the tradition lives on and today, more than 3,000 years later, couples continue to exchange rings as they exchange their vows. We’ve also moved on from rings made of materials which can be eroded, such as hemp or reeds, to metal rings accented with a variety of gemstones.
How Gay Wedding Rings Differ
Generally speaking, the rings selected by a gay couple aren’t that different from rings exchanged by heterosexual couples aside from the fact that the sets tend to match more often. Two grooms, for example, often choose essentially the same ring style though it’s not uncommon for two brides to choose different but complementary rings.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some rings which have clearly been designed with the LGBT community in mind. The concept of gay wedding rings isn’t about the exclusion of other couples – it’s about designs and styles developed with LGBT history, pride and experiences in mind.
Gay wedding rings offer a number of options in terms of expressing pride and support for the LGBT community at large. Gay and lesbian couples who are actively involved with LGBT issues and rights often chose rings which reflect their views, passion and commitment.
When it comes to wedding rings options, rainbow colors are popular for a number of reasons. First, it’s perhaps the most easily recognized sign of LGBT pride, making it a popular choice for couples who wear their heart – and their convictions – on their sleeve. Secondly, the diverse colors are also appealing for those who simply want a look that goes beyond the traditional diamond set in silver or gold.
The pink triangle is another recognizable icon of the LGBT movement. Originally developed as a way for Nazis to identify homosexuals sent to concentration camps, the symbol was reclaimed in the 1970s as a part of the gay rights movement. Today, members of the LGBT community proudly incorporate the pink triangle into their fashion and, now, into their wedding rings through collections that celebrate LGBT pride and strength.
It’s Not All About Rainbows
Of course, having pride in the LGBT community doesn’t mean you have to sport its most common icons on your hand. In fact, many gay couples simply want a ring that reflects their own personality and tastes and aren’t interesting in making a political or cultural statement at the same time.
For these couples, it’s still possible to buy gay wedding rings that support, celebrate and give back to the LGBT community. This can be done by dealing with jewelers who are actively involved with promoting human rights and who have a reputation and history in helping LGBT couples achieve marriage equality.
Companies like Equalli, for example, have made a name for themselves within the LGBT community as a company truly invested in equality for everyone. Even when sourcing their gemstones, they work to ensure the stones they buy are of the highest quality and are obtained through fair, ethical and sustainable methods.
Their collections range from the iconic Rainbow Pride collection to their more subdued options, including the striking black and diamond studded Equalli at Night collection. This gives their clients more options and more flexibility.
Choosing the Perfect Set
Deciding on which set to use for your own wedding rings can be a difficult choice. For many couples, choosing these rings is their first time dealing with high end jewelers and it can be overwhelming. The prices are often much higher than people are used to spending and when you’re investing a few hundred – or even a few thousand – dollars in a ring you want to know that you’re getting something with the best quality. You also want to know you’re working with a reputable company and not just some faceless corporation.
The first step is to decide what style you want, both individually and as a couple. Some people want both an engagement ring and a wedding band which others want one ring alone. The rings should be complementary but they don’t need to match. My wife and I, for example, have very different rings in terms of style, but which complement each other with their color. My wife has a simple silver band with black accents while I have a silver and emerald engagement ring alongside an emerald eternity wedding band.
I’ve seen other couples pair solid opals wedding rings with rainbow gemstone bands and, of course, couples who choose the same simple silver or gold band for each other to wear.
Couples can work through various websites or simply make a list of what style they’d like. Some questions to consider during this process include
- Do you like silver or gold in terms of color?
- Do we want something that matches?
- What style type – simple or elaborate?
- What colors do you want to be included?
- What’s the budget?
Answering these simple questions will get the ball rolling and it gives you a place to start once you begin looking at specific jewelers.
Wedding rings can be a significant investment. For many couples, spending that much money makes them want to not only be certain of the ring’s quality but also the quality of the business with which they choose to work.
Finding out the story of a jewelry company is usually easily done by checking their website. Their sourcing practices should be equally easy to find and, if it isn’t, that could be a red flag. The unfortunate truth is that there is a dark side to the jewelry industry that is directly connected with the deaths of millions of people.
Conflict diamonds have become a hot topic thanks to an increase in media attention to the ways wars and insurgencies are funded in countries with diamond mines. Other gemstones have complex issues involving the treatment of people working in the mines, the environmental impact of some mining practices and the sustainability of the regions in which these gems are found. Any ethical company will offer transparency into how their gems are sourced and mined, assuring their clients that the rings they choose to symbolize their love aren’t hiding some dark history.
The wedding ring set you choose will last long after the suit or dress has been stored away, the invitations have been shelved and the honeymoon is over. Wedding rings, like the love they represent, a tough, enduring, beautiful and made to shine even during life’s darkest moments.