Wedding rings originally were not just a sign of love, but also tied the bestowal of wealth.
According to the prayer book of Edward VI: after the words ‘with this ring I thee wed’ follow the words ‘This gold and silver I give thee’, at which point the groom was supposed to hand a purse of gold and silver coins across to the bride.
Historically, the wedding ring was linked to the exchange of valuables at the time of marriage as a symbol of eternal love and devotion. It is a relic of the times in which the marriage was an agreement between families, not by the individuals themselves. Both families were so eager to ensure the economic security of the young couple.
The use of two ring wedding for both partners is a relatively new innovation. The American jewellery industry started a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging this practice in the late 19th century and it quickly spread to the UK. By the late 1960s, double-ring ceremonies made up for most of all UK weddings, as opposed to less than one in ten in 1900.