February 21, 2017
Although the earliest finger rings are from Ancient Egypt, the history of engagement rings dates back to Ancient Rome. In many countries, engagement rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. This custom also is believed to have originated in Ancient Rome. It was believed that this finger contained the vena amoris, the “love vein” that leads to the heart. (The latin term vena amoris was popularized hundreds of years later by the ecclesiastical lawyer Henry Swinburne in A treatise of Spousals, or Matrimonial Contracts in 1686, in which he references Roman thinkers Apion and Aulus Gallius.) Ancient Roman brides-to-be would receive two engagement rings, one in gold and one in iron. The gold ring was to wear in public, and the iron ring was for around the house.