Victorian women wearing wedding rings
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: kh22-ga
List Price: $20.00
26 Apr 2005 07:08 PDT
Expires: 26 May 2005 07:08 PDT
Question ID: 514391
Did middle-class British women in the nineteenth century always wear wedding rings on the fourth finger of their left hand? When did engagement rings become the norm for this kind of woman?
Re: Victorian women wearing wedding rings
Answered By: kriswrite-ga on 26 Apr 2005 07:52 PDT
Hello kh22~ The average 19th century middle class Englishwoman did wear her wedding ring on what we now call "the ring finger" (fourth finger, left hand). It's true that the 1549 Book of Common Prayer designated the third finger of the left hand the wedding band finger. However, by the 18th century, the placement of the wedding band moved, at least in part because of the way it was placed on the hand. During the wedding ceremony, the groom held the ring over the bride?s hand. Beginning with the left thumb, he said ?In the name of the Father, in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Ghost,? and with each name, moved the ring over one finger. When he said ?Amen,? he placed the ring on what is known today as ?the ring finger.? While most Englishwomen wore a wedding band, engagement rings were not considered mandatory in 19th century England. Nonetheless, betrothal rings go back to ancient times, and it's likely that many, if not most, middle class Englishwomen had some form of engagement ring. However, it wasn't until the 1870s that the diamond solitaire engagement ring came into vogue, made popular by the famous jeweler Tiffany. Still, it's unlikely that the average middle class woman owned such a ring. She was more likely to receive a gold band with engraving on it, or a ring with less-expensive gemstones, or even a "regard" ring. (For the latter, each gemstone used spelled out the bride's name, or some other pertinent word.For example, the word ?dear? was ?spelled? with a Diamond, Emerald, Amethyst, and Ruby.) Kind regards, Kriswrite RESEARCH STRATEGY: Researcher's personal knowledge Book: "A Bride's Book of Wedding Traditions" by Arlene Stewart, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0688127681/qid=1114527000/sr=2-5/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_5/102-6342825-7418531 Book: "Carry Me Over the Threshold" by Kristina Seleshanko (forthcoming), http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0310264766/qid=1114527049/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-6342825-7418531?v=glance&s=books
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Re: Victorian women wearing wedding rings
From: answerfinder-ga on 26 Apr 2005 08:59 PDT
Dear kh22-ga, You may find these contemporary accounts from the Times Newspaper of interest. I accessed them through my library. Times Tuesday, Feb 11, 1840 Wedding of Queen Victoria ?...The Archbishop of Canterbury then took the ring, a plain gold ring, from his Royal Highness, and placing it to the fourth finger of Her Majesty returned to His Royal Highness. Prince Albert put it on, repeating after his Grace these words- With this ring...? Thursday, Feb 11, 1858 Court of Exchequer Killick v. Wilkinson Civil Court case on a breach of promise to marry. Daughter of a jeweller and an army Captain. Father?s evidence ?...He brought an engagement ring for my daughter. It was arranged that the wedding should take place in a fortnight or three weeks.? Tuesday, Sep 01, 1868 Liverpool Summaer Assize Booth v. Hudson Breach of promise to marry bteween a cook and a coachman. During their ?courting? he had given her an ?engagement ring?. Tuesday, Aug 31, 1869 Highgate Petty Sessions Unlawful damage case Doctor Barson, teacher of languages and Doctor of Divinity, gave evidence of purchasing and giving an engagement ring to Miss Cox a daughter of the proprietor of East-End College. Monday, Jul 24, 1876 Midland Circuit Civil Court Morley v. Wiggington Breach of promise of a marriage between the daughter of Post-Master and a chemist. ?There was no dispute there was an engagement, and the defendant gave the plaintiff an engagement ring, though he hesitated for some to do so, thinking it unlucky.? Several other later references during the Victorian period to court cases for breach of promise to marry where engagement rings were given. answerfinder-ga Google Answers Researcher
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