Jun 20, 2011

The Royal Wedding Continues to Charm

It seems like forever ago since Kate Middleton lived out the dream of little girls everywhere by marrying her prince and stepping into her new role as future monarch of Great Britain. So familiar have images of loved-up Kate and Prince William become that a time when they weren’t blissfully wed has become a distant memory.

It’s doubtful that the Royal Wedding, which took place on April 29, will be forgotten anytime soon though. The special day will go down in history for obvious reasons but fashion fans will remember it as a catwalk spectacle on the hugest possible scale. The bride looking radiant in a dress designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, guests (including style icon Victoria Beckham and hat-happy Princess Beatrice) making an impression, and – of course – little sis Pippa Middleton scoring admirers around the world in that white dress.

The global interest in the event has manifested itself in the form of fashion items that everyone can enjoy. Summer brides-to-be are taking a lot of cues from the bride of the year, with replica dresses available at budget prices. It’s not just the wedding dress that has caught the imagination though, with Royal Wedding-themed jewellery also continuing to charm...

Following the announcement of the engagement in 2010, which saw Kate wear the 18ct blue sapphire and white diamond ring passed down to William from Princess Diana, similar rings have started to trend with blue CZ offering a cheap and cheerful alternative to the gem stone. Although the ring given to Kate on her big day is made from rare Clogau gold, wedding rings containing the Welsh gold remain available.

Meanwhile, fans of Pandora jewellery – and especially Pandora charms  – can keep a memory of the special day forever with a commemorative bead. The sterling silver heart has a sparkling blue stone at its centre and even features the happy couple’s initials ‘C & W’ engraved on the back. It’s only available until October so any collectors of limited edition Royal Wedding paraphernalia will want to get theirs quick sharp.

So, while the nuptials of the year, the decade, perhaps even the century are a thing of the past, they’ll continue to live on as a cultural event that defined 2011. Now, if only Prince Harry would hurry up and pop the question so we could enjoy the romance, the glamour and – yes – the fashion all over again.

Jun 16, 2011

The Wedding Band in Ancient Cultures

Although popularized in the 20th century, the tradition of the wedding band dates back as far as ancient Egypt, where men sometimes gave their intended brides rings made out of hemp, bone, leather, or ivory. These served not only as visual symbols of a woman's marital status, but were symbolically linked to the spiritual beliefs of the ancient Egyptians.

The ring, as an endless loop, symbolized to the Egyptians the eternal, unending nature of love, and the way that life returned to itself in death. The wedding band was also a gateway, a door, to the heart and spirit, and bore resemblance to both the moon and the sun, which Egyptians worshiped.

The tradition of wearing a wedding band gradually spread, and ancient Romans often used iron rings, to symbolize love's strength. The practice of wearing the wedding band on the third finger of the left hand is said to have begun in ancient Rome, as the Romans believed that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart. Although this has been scientifically disproven, the tradition survives nonetheless.

In many ancient cultures, the wedding ring was not as much a symbol of love as one of trust or ownership, particularly in patriarchal societies. Wedding bands could indicate "ownership" of a woman, or a groom's willingness to entrust her with his valuable property. It was not until much later, in medieval Europe, that wedding bands and engagement rings were inset with gems or other precious stones/metals, when they served to show off a man's wealth and status in society.

Although some modern couples may see the wedding band as a commonplace part of wedding traditions, it has a long, rich history of rich with symbolic meaning and depth for many cultures worldwide.

Tom Moore is an blogger and internet marketing enthusiast currently working for a number of internet companies as a web consultant , marketing expert and investor. Tom has a passion for jewelry and is currently writing for Brillianteers - Diamond Engagement Rings