July 21, 2022
In ancient times, rings were more than just pieces of jewelry—they held great power and meaning. Among the most fascinating and enigmatic rings from this period are Celtic rings. These rings, which were worn by the Celtic people of Europe, are characterized by their intricate designs and unusual shapes.
Some believe that the distinctive spiral pattern of Celtic rings represents the cycle of life, while others interpret it as a symbol of eternal love. Whatever their original significance, Celtic rings have long been treasured for their beauty and mystery.
For 3500 years, signet rings have been used as a mark of identity. The earliest examples date back to the Bronze Age when they were used to stamp seals on documents and clay tablets.
In medieval Europe, signet rings were used by royalty and nobility to seal letters and legal documents. During the Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries, signet rings became more ornate, with intricate designs that incorporated family crests and other symbolism.
Today, signet rings are still seen as a symbol of status and power. They are often passed down through generations and continue to be worn with pride by those who bear them. Though their function has changed over time, signet rings remain a timeless symbol of all that is regal and refined.
The Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring that is often used as a wedding or engagement ring. The ring consists of two hands holding a heart, with a crown above the heart.
The meaning of the Claddagh ring is often said to be "let love and friendship reign forever." According to legend, the Claddagh ring was first created by a man named Richard Joyce who was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery.
While in captivity, Joyce began making Claddagh rings in 1689 as a way to express his love for his home and family. After many years, Joyce was finally able to return to Ireland and he gave the first Claddagh ring to the woman he loved. Today, the Claddagh ring is still a popular symbol of love and friendship.
Few gemstones are as dramatic as garnets. With their deep red hue, they have been associated with passion and power throughout history. Garnet rings have been worn by royalty and commoners alike, and they continue to be a popular choice today.
The history of garnet rings dates back to ancient times. Egyptians wore them as far back as 3100 BC, and the stones were also popular in Ancient Greece and Rome. In the Middle Ages, garnets were thought to ward off evil spirits, and they were often given as gifts to protect loved ones. during wartime.
Garnets continued to be popular throughout the Renaissance and into the Victorian era. Queen Victoria wore a garnet engagement ring, and the stone became increasingly associated with love and romance. Today, garnet rings are still a popular choice for engagement and wedding rings. Thanks to their unique color and historic associations, they continue to capture the imagination and dazzle those who wear them.
Rings have been worn for centuries and will continue to be popular choices for jewelry. Whether they are made of gold, silver, or some other precious metal, rings are sure to add a touch of elegance and beauty to any outfit.
Again dating back to ancient Egyptians, wedding rings are worn as an outward symbol of the commitment and affection of a married couple. Until recently, wedding rings were almost entirely worn by women but during WWI and WWII, men started adopting the trend as a wearable connection to their beloved at home and a reminder of what they were fighting for. Wooden wedding rings are a new trend that are coming in hot to the scene, especially for more outdoorsy and eco-conscious couples who have a taste for things that aren’t mainstream.
Engagement rings now symbolize love but it has certainly not always been so romantic. Throughout history, marriage hasn’t always been about two people’s feelings for another, rather it was often about dominion. Engagement rings are thought to have arisen around the time of Ancient Rome, when a ring showed betrothal, commitment, or ownership. This was a time when arranged marriages were much more common and marriage was a tool to bring together families and form powerful alliances, or acquire land.
Luckily, most of the world decided that marriage should be for love and not a business transaction and we arrived close to where we are today. However that doesn’t mean that engagement rings were always common, in the 1930s, De Beers undertook a massive marketing campaign to increase sales of their diamonds, equating the strength of a couple’s love to the size of the diamond engagement ring. In the next 50 years the sales of their company grew 100x and the diamond engagement ring became a staple of the Western marriage industry. Engagement rings and the materials that make them have caused massive controversies and have grown more opulent by the day. But recently, many have joined the trend back to more natural materials and the popularity of wooden engagement rings has been growing quickly.
Rings don’t always have to be about love or power, sometimes they just show that you did something special. Achievement rings have become incredibly common, especially for school graduations from high school and college. Graduation rings are typically modest rings that show the school and year of graduation and are made from a precious metal like gold, white gold, or silver, and may or may not feature a fairly common gemstone like cubic zirconia.
Championship rings can run the gamut, from modest college championship rings to Superbowl rings, which have become some of the most opulent rings in the world. These rings are worn by athletes and coaches at the highest level of sports like the NFL, NHL, NBA, etc. who win their annual national championship. Championship rings are typically enormous and studded with diamonds, precious stones, and intricate detailing. This is most common in the US.
Though they’re making a strong comeback, wooden rings were actually one of the first rings ever made. Since wood isn’t as hard as precious metals, they didn’t require the refining and machining that we expect today. Wooden rings for men are becoming a great option for a men’s wedding band or just as fashion rings. Wooden wedding rings are also increasingly popular for women and sometimes even as an engagement ring.
While wooden rings don’t symbolize your claim to a throne and aren’t used to wax seal important documents, there’s a beautiful simplicity to them. Their rich tones, natural textures and light weight are a welcomed change from an increasingly metal world and the means taken to create them are much more sustainable. What’s better, they float.
There are many more types of rings out there, too many to list. One thing’s for certain, they’re going to be around for a while..
July 06, 2022
For millennia, rings have been worn as a symbol of love, faith, and achievement. But what materials were early rings made of? Back in the olden times, when the world was not chock full of the technologies of today, humans weren’t able to use the common modern materials we expect today. Prior to the development of metals like gold and silver, rings were often made from more perishable materials like wood, bone, ivory, and even grasses. In this article, we’ll dive into some of the most common materials used to make rings over time and why we chose to focus on bamboo.
As you may have guessed, we lean heavily towards wooden rings and, in particular, bamboo. We love the material because of its gorgeous grain, incredible strength, and its second-to-none sustainability. There are over 1200 species of bamboo, some of which can grow over 2 ft. a day.
Remember that plants are the Earth’s best resource in taking carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it into natural long-term storage. Plants sequester carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and this happens more when the plants are growing, especially during the warmer months. This means that plants that grow quickly are able to sequester much more carbon from the atmosphere and help in the fight against the massive amounts of carbon humans are putting in the air via the burning of fossil fuels (which are full of carbons since they are derived from ancient plants.) So, on top of bamboo being gorgeous and incredibly strong, we love it because it may be one of the keys to saving our planet.
That’s good information about the planet, but how does that relate to rings and why does it make bamboo a good choice? While bamboo is a grass, it is considered one of the hardest “wood” materials on the planet. This is measured by the Janka Hardness rating, which measures the pounds of force it takes to press a steel ball (7/16”) halfway into the wood, hence determining its hardness. This is typically great for determining types of flooring or for furniture materials that can stand up to wear and tear. For rings, it is important for durability and scratch resistance. Another good metric is tensile strength which is strength under tension (as it relates to the weight of the material). While a ring doesn’t directly work under this type of tension, it’s a good indicator of qualities that make a material good as a wooden ring.
Our bamboo has a tensile strength that is higher than steel with a Janka Hardness of 1650 lbf.
While we think bamboo is the perfect “wooden ring” material for many reasons like its stylish look and superior strength and durability, there are many popular woods that make for great rings. Generally these materials have a beautiful color and grain and are robust enough to hold up against the wear and tear of the stresses that rings face in an active human lifestyle.
The Koa Tree is native to the Hawaiian Islands. Known for its deep rich colors and incredibly varied grain, Koa wood has been sacred to Hawaiians and was even, for a time, reserved only for Hawaiian royalty. Koa means “warrior” in Hawaiian and was used to make everything from weapons and bowls, to canoes and the first surfboards. A Hawaiian Koa Wood Ring has become a popular choice for a men’s wedding ring. Janka Hardness: ~1220 lbf.
Whiskey Barrel Rings
Whiskey Barrels are much more than just a wooden booze box. Making a whiskey barrel is a practiced art form passed down for generations via apprenticeships. There is an incredible process required to fit and fire barrels so they can properly store and flavor whiskey. Recycling and upcycling old whiskey barrels and bourbon barrels has become a huge trend and can be great material for wooden rings. Whiskey Barrel Rings have become very popular as wooden wedding bands for men. While Oak trees are found all over the world, whiskey barrels are typically made from American White Oak, which is a hard and gorgeous wood with consistent color and predictable grain. Janka Hardness: ~1360 lbf.
Walnut wood is a very popular hardwood because of its beautiful deep chocolate tones and gorgeous open grain. It is found primarily in the Eastern United States and is often used to make instruments and high end furniture because of its looks and ease to work with. You guessed it, it also looks great on your finger. Janka Hardness: ~1010 lbf.
Cherry is a craftsman favorite in the industry. It’s a wood that is stable, easy to work with, and has an incredibly deep rich red color. While it is a softer wood than some that we have mentioned earlier, it has a great Earthy tone that is another popular wood wedding band. Janka Hardness: ~1010 lbf.
Other Wood Rings
As you may have started to notice, wooden rings can be made from nearly any wood. Choosing the right one depends on your preference of color, grain, and feel. You may also want to choose a material because of a personal connection to a type of tree that you like or something you grew up with.
Metals like gold, silver, and iron have been staples in human history and have always been highly sought after because of their rarity, look, and their physical properties. Metals have been used to construct the modern world and help us do everything from drive cars to communicate through phones. Some metals, like gold and silver, have even been used as, and to back, currency until governments recently removed backing from their currency. Still, these metals have remained extremely popular and have become status symbols with use in jewelry.
For centuries, gold has been prized for its beauty and durability. Early cultures associated gold with the sun and with power, and it was often used in ceremonial and religious objects. Gold rings became popular during the Renaissance, as a symbol of wealth and status. Eventually, the wearing of gold rings became more widespread, and they came to be seen as a symbol of love and commitment. Gold is often thought of as THE precious material, such is the reason that gold wedding rings have been the go-to for decades.
Also very popular, generally more for women’s wedding rings, white gold is typically a mixture of 75% pure gold and 25% zinc or nickel. This mixture changes the color from yellow to a metal that is much closer to silver in color.
Another gold alloy is Rose Gold. Rose Gold is similar to White Gold in that it is typically a mixture of 75% gold and 25% copper and is another precious metal that is popular as a woman’s wedding band.
While Gold and Silver have long been the norm when it comes to wedding bands and engagement rings, there have been recent trends towards other precious metals that were not previously considered ring material. Particularly for men’s wedding rings, there has been increasing popularity among metals such as platinum, palladium, titanium, and tungsten.
Platinum rings and palladium rings have been an “exotic” alternative to white gold or silver, but at a significantly higher price. A driver in the new popularity of these materials is that they are more scratch resistant and durable than gold and silver. Many men have been looking to get away from the silver color and have been doing so with a titanium or tungsten wedding ring, which are a darker color and some of the hardest materials on the planet.
In case you’re wondering if there’s a hardness measurement for metals like the Janka Hardness Rating for wood, there is and it’s called the Mohs Hardness Scale which rates hardness on a scale from 1-10. For the materials listed above, the ratings are as follows: Silver (2.5 - 3), Gold (2.5 - 3), Platinum (4 - 4.5), Palladium (4.75), Titanium (6), Tungsten (7.5).
So, why is that important?
While precious metals are common for rings and wood up-and-coming, here are a few other interesting materials that have been common throughout the history of man..
Ivory is a hard, white substance that is found in the tusks and teeth of animals. It became a prized material surrounded with controversy because of the excessive slaughter of animals to get it. The ivory trade ballooned and threatened the existence of many animals around the planet. Ivory rings have been found in burial sites dating back to ancient times, suggesting that they were once used as status symbols or markers of wealth. In more recent history, ivory rings were often given as gifts between lovers or as symbols of purity and innocence. Whatever their meaning, these rings have always been prized for their beauty. To assist in animal conservation, it is now illegal in many places to create new ivory items.
Carnelian is a semiprecious stone that ranges in color from orange to red, and it has been used in jewelry since ancient times. The word carnelian is derived from the Latin word for flesh, due to its characteristic hue. In the medieval era, carnelian rings were thought to ward off evil spirits, and they were often worn by knights going into battle.
Gemstones have been used in jewelry for thousands of years. Early rings were often made of simple materials like wood or bone. It wasn’t until the late Middle Ages that gemstones began to be used more regularly in rings. By the Renaissance, gemstone rings were quite popular among the nobility. Diamonds became particularly fashionable during this time period.
For centuries, pearl rings have been a symbol of wealth and prestige. Unlike other gemstones, pearls are not found in the ground but are instead created by a special type of oyster deep in the ocean.
This makes them exceedingly rare, and their value has long been reflected in their price. In ancient Rome, only the most powerful citizens could afford to wear pearl rings, and even then, they were often reserved for special occasions.
For example, in 47 BC, Julius Caesar is said to have gifted his wife a pearl ring on the day of their victory at the Battle of Zela. While pearls are no longer quite so rare, they still retain their status as a luxurious item and continue to be a popular choice for engagement and wedding rings.
So there you have it, a quick rundown of the history of popularity and upcoming trends in ring materials. While we appreciate the history and aura around precious metals, we love the wooden ring trend. Aside from the look and feel, it is something that has really helped us reconnect with nature and our roots. It’s funny how something as simple as a bamboo ring can be a simple reminder to keep perspective or help take your mind to a more relaxing place, but it certainly does the trick. When rings act as a symbol of love, achievement, and even fashion, shouldn’t the symbol be sustainability?
June 13, 2022
One day many moons ago, someone said "I like circles, I like fingers, let’s get this party started" and just like that, rings were born. Some maintain that rings were created by a time traveling Vera Wang, but recent discoveries point towards Ryan Reynold in an effort to expedite his 2011 cinematic masterpiece, Green Lantern.
Rings have been around for millennia and, though their exact origins are unknown, it is believed that rings were first worn by Egyptian pharaohs around 5000 years ago. With their meaning and popularity growing and changing over thousands of years, rings have had quite a journey from being made with woven grasses and bone to the enormous precious stone and metal industries that dominate the wedding and fashion industries today.
The first recorded instance of rings being worn is from Egyptian hieroglyphics, which date back as far as 2,800 BC. These early rings were originally plant based, made from grasslike plants such as sedges and reeds that could be braided to form a ring. These materials, unlike our bamboo rings, weren’t durable and ancient Egyptians transitioned to more robust materials like bone, wood, and leather.
Rings continued to be popular in ancient Egypt, with both men and women wearing them. They evolved to use a variety of materials such as gold, silver, ivory, and carnelian which were often decorated with images of gods and goddesses.
Interestingly, Egyptians thought of rings’ circular shape as having no beginning or end and saw them as symbols of eternity that represented the sun and moon and their associated gods, Ra and Khonsu. Not only did the ring itself symbolize eternity, but the open area inside the ring was thought to be a portal to another unknown world (like Stargate for your finger).
As rings began to make their way around the world, their styles and meaning changed. Their use made its way through the Greek and Roman empires, where we first began to see rings used as symbols of betrothal towards the late 800s. These rings became increasingly ornate and in the 13th century the Church told its followers to tone it down and the good people obliged. Wedding bands were much simpler from then on.
From the Middle Ages through modern times, rings began to quickly gain popularity and function. In the Middle Ages, knights wore rings with their lord's crest to show allegiance. They were also outward symbols of power and status, passed down through generations. This marked the rise of the signet ring, which was used to seal important documents, letters, and convey privileges (as we’ve seen in a million movies and all wish we signed documents with a wax seal). They were even bestowed as gifts to mark special occasions.
This is when people really started to get the memo, rings were great, and their popularity took off. For nobility, rings were an essential part of courtly attire, and their selections were carefully scrutinized for political significance. Kings and queens exchanged rings as a sign of peace, while rivals vied for control of powerful rings that had once belonged to fallen enemies. (Watch “Lord Of The Rings” for reference)
In an era when gestures carried great weight, the giving and receiving of rings held immense importance. And for those who wielded them, rings could be the keys to their claim to power or the source of their undoing.
Rings in the Renaissance saw the incorporation of gemstones, with some believing that they even had talismanic powers to ward off evil. Inscriptions also became popular, featuring devotional or romantic messages, sometimes written in the timeless love language of French.
In the Victorian Era, rings were widely adopted. Gold and silver rings with gems adorned the fingers of the aristocracy, while cheaper versions were worn by the working class.
However, all rings shared one common purpose: to show the world that the wearer belonged to a certain group. In a time when rigid social divisions were the norm, rings played an important role in indicating a person's place in society. But rings also had a more personal significance. They could be used to send secret messages or signal clandestine meetings.
In a time when propriety was everything, rings allowed people to communicate in ways that were both subtle and dramatic. In the Victorian era, rings were not just pieces of jewelry—they were pieces of history.
While rings are a very common part of today’s culture, their history is anything but simple. For centuries, rings have been used as a symbol of power, status, and love. Kings and queens have adorned their fingers with lavish jewels, while couples have exchanged modest bands as a sign of their devotion.
In the past they may have had immense power and signified control of a kingdom, today they are most commonly symbols of engagement, marriage, achievement, or just fashion. With advancements in technology, rings have become much easier to manufacture with precision, giving rise to an opulence not before achievable.
The typical engagement ring consists of a precious metal band with a diamond focus. Many have been led to believe that diamond engagement rings are based in centuries old tradition but the truth is that it wasn’t a common practice before the 1930s. Enter one of the most successful marketing campaigns of all time, created by De Beers.
In the 1930s De Beers decided to undertake a massive marketing campaign. The goal: to increase sales of their diamonds. How they planned to do it: equate a diamond ring to the strength of love in a relationship. They even went as far as to set their own price by suggesting men spend 1 month’s salary on an engagement ring (that number has since risen steadily). This is the very campaign from which the famous slogan “A diamond is forever” originated. To say this was a wildly successful marketing campaign is an understatement. As a matter of fact, only around 10% of brides received a diamond ring in the 1940s, compared to around 80% in the 1990s. De Beers wholesale diamond sales between 1939 and 1979 increased from $23M to $2.1B.
But engagements haven’t been all diamonds and forevers since. A major controversy has erupted in recent years due to the origin of the diamonds and the means taken to acquire them. Conflict diamonds, or “blood diamonds” as they are called, generally come from parts of Africa and became a huge topic of conversation and concern. Conflict diamonds are those which have been stolen or illegally mined and sold to fund violent militia or terrorist groups. These groups often commit unspeakable atrocities and force men, women, and children to dig for diamonds under unimaginable conditions. To combat this, the UN and the Conflict Free Diamond Council have put strict regulations in place to ensure these diamonds do not make it to market, in an attempt to discourage the Blood Diamond trade.
Let’s move right on to love, something happier. Wedding rings are an outward symbol of eternal love, about 50% of the time and (at least) temporary love the other half-ish times. Like we mentioned before, back in the 13th century when rings were getting a bit ridiculous, the Church made a stern suggestion that rings should be simple as to let a couple’s love, not their rings, speak for the relationship. While you’ll still see wedding rings with diamonds and gems, they are traditionally less ostentatious than engagement rings. Men’s wedding rings are especially simple, as a standard band made from a precious metal. While gold has typically been the go-to for men’s wedding bands, recent years have seen other metals increase in popularity, like tungsten, titanium, platinum, and other rare precious metals.
It wasn’t always the case that men wore wedding rings, that was typically reserved for women, but a few things changed that. In the 1900s when men were going off to war, some started wearing wedding bands as a way to remember their loved ones at home. Men also started wearing rings as an outward sign of betrothal as to reduce temptation of infidelity. Naughty naughty.
Aside from engagements and weddings, there are plenty of reasons that people wear rings from school graduation to symbols of sports achievement like the enormous Super Bowl rings warn by each year’s winner. Some precious rings were even highly sought after in ill-conceived, greed-filled attempts to control Middle-earth and turn invisible. In other cases, the mere thought of rings has been enough to terrify bachelors for hundreds of years.
Lately, rings have become a huge fashion trend with many different types of shapes, designs, and styles from skinnies and fat rings that go knuckle to knuckle to toe rings. They continue to be a popular choice for jewelry, with many people wearing multiple rings on each hand.
While metal rings are still the most popular choice for engagement and wedding rings, a new trend has emerged in recent years, wooden rings. Made from a variety of different woods, these rings are unique and stylish, and they offer a rustic look that is perfect for those who want something a little different.
The history of wooden rings go back to 1775. In many cultures, wood was the preferred material for making wedding and engagement rings. As a natural material that is strong and durable, wood has a warm, earthy quality that is very appealing and a welcomed choice as we find ourselves increasingly surrounded by metal and glass.
Wooden Rings are a way for us to connect back to our roots and the softer, natural side of life. For us, we chose a material that is both beautiful and strong like wood but is, in fact, a grass. Bamboo has a gorgeous grain that is made up of hundreds of tiny fibers that run the length of the culm through nodes that give it it’s iconic look. What’s incredible about our bamboo is that how we shape and finish our rings gives a different vantage point of these fibers in a 360 degree look. While most wood rings are light and look good, single layer hardwoods can often break easily since the grain runs in only one direction. Our bamboo rings are crafted from 3 plies of bamboo, which makes them extremely strong, durable, light and, best of all, won’t break the bank. As one of the Earth’s most sustainable materials, we thought sustainability was a nicer symbol than over-used, expensive, controversial diamonds.
Rings have had quite the journey and are more than just pieces of jewelry—they are symbols of love, friendship, achievement, and commitment. Throughout history, rings have been used to express the wearer's deepest emotions to their status and now can be as simple as an accent to an outfit. Whether they are given as a gift or passed down through generations, rings are here to stay, and we are along for the ride.