Gold Wedding Rings in the Victorian Era

During the Victorian Era it wasn’t as common for men to wear wedding rings as it is today, but it was certainly considered a gentleman’s duty to pick out just the right band for his intended. 

Antique French wedding ring with engraved fern motif, c. 1900. 

Antique French wedding ring with engraved fern motif, c. 1900. 

An 1852 advice book titled The Etiquette of Courtship & Matrimony lays it all out in the chapter entitled “Buying the Ring, And it’s Consequences.”

It is the gentleman’s business to buy the ring –and he must be sure not to forget it.

But what sort of ring was considered proper for such an occasion?

The ring should be, we need not say, of the very purest gold, but very thick—a return to the old fashion of the common people.

We find many 19th century wedding bands that clearly heeded “the old fashion of the common people.” Here are a few currently in our collection that date c. 1870 – 1890:

Three gold wedding rings dating c. 1890, 1870 and 1884 respectively. 

Three gold wedding rings dating c. 1890, 1870 and 1884 respectively. 

The Etiquette of Courtship goes on to explain why a simple, hefty gold band is the right way to go:

1) It may not break—a source of great trouble for the young wife
2) It may not slip off the finger without being missed—few husbands being pleased to hear that their wives have lost their wedding rings
3) It may last out the life-time of the loving recipient, even should that life be protracted to the extreme extent.

Aww.