A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE STYLISTIC VARIATIONS ON THE WEDDING BAND
A plain gold band is the most popular pattern. Medical personnel commonly wear it because it can be kept very clean. Women usually wear narrow bands, while men wear broader bands. In France and French-speaking countries, a common pattern consists of three interwoven rings. They stand for the Christian virtues of “faith, hope and love”, where “love” equates to that particular type of perfect disinterested love indicated by the ancient Greek word agape. Provocatively, this pattern slides off quickly, because the rings flow over each other.
Women in Greek and Anatolian (comprising most of modern Turkey) cultures sometimes receive and wear puzzle rings – sets of interlocking metal bands that one must arrange just so in order to form a single ring. Traditionally, men wryly gave them as a test of their woman’s monogamy. However, with time and practice it takes little effort to re-make the puzzle and any intelligent woman can learn. In North America and some European countries, many married women wear two rings on the same finger: an engagement ring and a plain wedding band. Couples often purchase such rings as a pair of bands designed to fit together.
In addition, some women who have been married a long time wear three rings on their finger (from hand to tip): a wedding band, an engagement ring, and an eternity ring. This three-ring combination is especially common in the UK. Engraving wedding bands is also becoming very popular in the United States. Celtic-style wedding bands have become more popular in the U.S., Canada and other English-speaking countries with large numbers of people claiming Irish or Scottish descent. This style of wedding band will often be engraved or embossed with a Celtic knot design, which is meant to symbolize oneness and continuity. Sometimes a Claddagh design is also used to symbolize fidelity. Russian wedding rings are traditionally three interlocking bands of rose, white and yellow gold, worn on the right hand.