Am I the only one that just loves looking at and admiring photos of beautiful brides on their wedding day? It is intoxicating seeing their happy faces, their gorgeous gowns and of course the amazing jewellery that adorns their ears, neck, and hands. 

Ever wondered about the traditions related to the jewellery that brides wear on their wedding day? How traditions change from place to place and the specific reasons behind the type of wedding jewellery worn? The history of wedding jewellery is a pretty interesting one. 

Painting by Edmund Leighton (1853–1922)

Up until the fifteen hundreds, the wedding tradition had been to offer bands of metal to formalize the official union of a couple. However, in 1508 the Archduke Maximilian of Austria offered his love, Mary of Burgundy, a gold ring set with diamonds thus setting the first time for the tradition of gifting a diamond ring as a symbol of betrothal. The famous engagement ring! I know every single one of you ladies who dream of your future wedding have been fantasising of that classy, elegant diamond, ruby or emerald ring your prince charming will offer you one day… Do not lie now, we have all been there! The tradition also shows that the groom has thought about the wedding seriously and this ring is his promise that one day soon the couple will be united.  

Another famous tradition today is that of the wedding bands of the bride and groom. Egyptians believed that the round shape of a ring symbolized undying, everlasting love, a love without a beginning or end! Ancient Romans believed that the vein in the third finger runs directly to the heart. That is the reason why, since the ancient times, wedding rings are worn on that particular finger only.
Today’s tradition of wedding bands in truth also started in the fifteen hundred when couples bought interlocking rings to share while being engaged. The day of the wedding the groom would give his half to the bride as a symbol of eternal commitment. It was not until the late 19th century that a marketing campaign started to get men to wear wedding rings as well, showcasing that them too, wore an emblem of their unity.

Gimmel ring with the hoop opened - British Museum

I am fairly sure you all have heard the old rhyme about the bride wearing something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue on her wedding day.  What does this rhyme indeed signify? You wear "something old" to show the durability of marriage and the continuity of your old life into the new married one. "Something new" symbolizes the start of building your new life together as a married couple. The "something borrowed" is probably the item you should choose more carefully as it has to be from a happily married couple. The borrowed piece shall offer the same happiness to the newlyweds. The "something blue" is used to promise love, fidelity, and purity. At last, something new could be a lovely piece of bridal jewelry.  The significance of this gift to the bride is so memorable to many, and if chosen well, will last the bride a lifetime and be worn again and again.

Different cultures hold different traditions. In India, the custom of the bride wearing jewellery is an ancient and symbolic one. A bride is always adorned with precious jewellery on her wedding day, and this symbolizes power, a cultured status and the financial standing of her family. In Greek orthodox weddings, the bride and groom wear crowns known as stefana. These crowns symbolize heavenly crowns and also that the husband and wife are king and queen of the family. The crowns are united by a ribbon and they are placed on the couple’s heads. In many parts of the world silver jewellery is traditional to wear when getting married. In Africa, many tribes give brides jewellery made by coral and amber as they believe that it keeps away bad luck.

Greek stefana

It is also amazing to see the differences between cultures! In the UK pearls are maybe the most famous to wear during a wedding. They symbolize serenity, elegance, virginity, and modesty. However, in Greece, where I come from, it is forbidden for a bride to wear pearls on her wedding day because the myth says pearls symbolize tears and that is bad luck for the wedding. 

I can keep going on about a million different traditions concerning wedding jewellery but I am sure you do not want to read a thesis on the subject, so I will leave it here. 

Wherever in the world you may live, surely the ritual of marriage is an important one and a whole story has been built around it! The wedding day is one of the most important days in many people’s lives and wearing beautiful jewellery with hidden symbolisation’s can be an integral part of that day. 

Here at Salome, we have a piece for every tradition you would like to honor! You just have to look through our many collections and find what your heart desires. 

Written by,
Evdokia Samara