The Meaning of an Eternity Ring

The Meaning of an Eternity Ring

Written by Francesca Glos on 14 February 2017

An eternity ring carries a symbolic meaning of eternal love and is commonly given as a gift on special occasions. This is often on an anniversary, traditionally on the first anniversary, as a reminder of the love that was exchanged on the wedding day. It is a symbol of the couple’s everlasting love for years to come. The eternity ring can also represent the circle of life and can be the reason why it’s also often given as gift when the couple welcomes their first baby into the world.

Eternity rings date back thousands of years, with evidence revealing that even in ancient Egypt the rings were exchanged and a husband would present the ring as a symbol of his love to his wife. These ancient rings represented the infinite cycle of nature’s endless creation of life and love and were known as ‘Ouroboros’, which is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail and forming a circle. However, the eternity rings of today are less eccentric. They are made from precious metal and are commonly set with gemstones around the whole of the band - diamonds being the most popular choice.

An eternity ring can be worn on any finger of choice but many women opt to wear it alongside their wedding and engagement ring. The eternity ring can have as much meaning as both the wedding and engagement and represents as much promise of commitment and love. When worn together, the trilogy of rings is placed on the third finger on the left hand. This is based on tradition that the vein within this finger runs directly to the heart which is named the Vein of Love, translated from Latin Vena Amoris. During the wedding ceremony, the wedding ring is placed on this finger; the engagement ring is then placed on top to ensure the wedding ring can never be removed. The eternity ring commonly sits above the engagement ring to complete the trio of bands.

To avoid excessive wear between the precious metals, it’s often advised to opt for the same metal for all three rings. Naturally, metals do become scratched and marked; they are worn daily and are in constant contact with surfaces and other objects. For this reason, half eternity rings are a very popular choice. Setting the gemstones set around just the front half of the ring gives the same look as a full eternity band, but reduces the risk of damaging any stones at the back of the ring. Despite the gems only being set around the front of the band, the continuous line of stones is still said to represent eternity.

There are many styles of eternity rings available and their designs are often chosen to complement both the wedding and engagement ring. The continuation may be reflected in how the stones are set or perhaps the amount of stones to represent a specific number. If the eternity ring is presented for a milestone anniversary later in life, birthstones are a popular choice, with each gemstone representing the month in which each family member is born. Ultimately, the design of the eternity ring doesn’t necessarily have to follow tradition; it simply represents a couple’s love and commitment and is a symbol of the next stage of their life together.