Egyptian Pharaohs - It’s hard to believe now, but rings were not always a common occurrence. While rings are worn for fashion, betrothal, and achievement in today’s society, they had quite the history and evolution that dates back almost 5000 years to the time of Egyptian Pharoahs. They were seen as symbols of eternity, their sun and moon gods, and gateways to other worlds.
Different Uses - The importance of rings took on many forms like sealing documents, conveying loyalty, as visible representation of status, and fashion. Now, they pretty much look nice, show that someone did something, or show that someone is married.
Materials: Why We Use Precious Metals
While rings today feature precious, rare gemstones, and intricate designs, we are able to enjoy that because of huge advancements in technology. They were not always so clean and wonderful and actually started out with materials that were easily malleable like grasses and reeds that could be woven or braided into a circle. As they evolved, we saw the incorporation of more durable materials like wood and bone. Fast forward a few thousand years and we see materials that are incredibly rare and hard to shape.
Way back in the day, it was much more common to see women wearing wedding bands than men. One day, in an effort to lay claim to their men (and cut down on infidelity), they gently suggested that men start wearing wedding bands as an outward symbol of their betrothal, as well. To be fair to men, many started wearing wedding rings to remember their wife when they were away at war or at work.
Until recently, it was common to see men wear a gold wedding band but now it is becoming increasingly common to see platinum wedding bands or even palladium, tungsten and a variety of wooden wedding rings. Wooden rings for men is becoming a growing trend for younger men. For women, there has been more of a focus on gemstones like diamonds and other precious stones and metals, but they too have been bitten by the wood ring bug.
History of Diamond Engagement Rings
“Diamonds are forever” since 1930... In the 1930s, the De Beers company ran, perhaps, the most successful marketing campaign in the history of the world. In an effort to increase sales of diamonds, De Beers made a push to equate diamond rings to true love and the love-stricken world fell hook-line-and-sinker. Increasing sales from $23M in 1939 to $2.1B in 1979, it seems to have worked out pretty well for them. But recently, people have started to question the exorbitant amount spent on gemstones and where they came from and the means taken to attain said stones.
The New Trend: Sustainability - Return to Earth
As we become increasingly surrounded by metal, glass, and technology, many people find themselves leaning back towards our roots and the natural world from which we evolved. While precious metal rings are impressive and look nice, some find that they’re a bit too much and also constricting in everyday life (and often dangerous because of their unforgiving strength).
Because of this, there has been a trend to alternative ring materials like silicone, plastics, and wood. These materials are much easier to shape, are infinitely more pliable, and have a look that is not as ostentatious. For Bodhi, being the Earth lovers that we are, we turned towards wood rings before it was even cool.. Wooden rings are a way to disconnect from an overconnected world and remind us of a quieter, simpler, natural life. While our rings are not technically wood, they have a similar look and feel, with much more strength and intricate grain pattern.
What Wood Ring Materials are Popular
With thousands of different species of wood in the world, the possibilities for wood rings are plentiful but there are a few that stand out more than others. Wood can range all over the spectrum from color and grain to hardness. Some woods are even more flexible than others. Also, wood can be processed differently; some woods are made into ½” sheets for flooring while others are planed and laminated into multi-layer plywoods that create an incredible multi-directional strength.
When it comes to wooden rings, as is human nature, people are trending towards the rare and exotic. Interest in woods like Koa, Walnut, and Ebony is growing; but Koa wood rings are derived from a previously endangered tree only found in Hawaii so some want to lessen demand on their wood. Whiskey Barrel Rings are also popular and are made from hard White Oak.
Wooden Rings are Popular, but Bamboo is superior
While these woods are beautiful, hard, and have a gorgeous grain, Bodhi rings are the best of both worlds for a few reasons. Bodhi rings are not technically a “wood”, bamboo is a grass. Our bamboo is also made from an outrageously strong 3-ply plywood, which gives it incredible multi-directional strength. Bamboo also grows faster than any other plant on Earth, so sustainability is not even close to an issue. Perhaps bamboo’s most important feature are the thousands of tiny fibers that run the length of each culm (bamboo shoot). These fibers are the reason that it is so strong, yet flexible. Even better for us, when we shape our bamboo into a circle, a gorgeous 360 degree view of the fibers can be seen, creating an amazing speckled pattern that resembles tiny crosses. One top of its strength, bamboo is also unbelievably hard, rated at almost 1800 on the Janka Hardness Rating (even White Oak is only 1360 and Koa is 1220 lbs of force).
Why Wooden Rings and What They Symbolize
As we mentioned before, wooden rings are a return to our roots and a step back from the modernity of today. Wood is a simpler and more sustainable product that has a nice, warm, Earthy feel. In addition to being incredibly light, these materials are more abundant and take much less energy to prepare and shape than the precious metals we are accustomed to today. They are a great choice for people looking for alternative materials for wedding bands, engagement rings, or just for fashion.
Instead of casting and refining, most wooden rings are handmade by artists and craftsmen in a small woodshop. There are many different methods of making rings out of wood and each craftsman has their own preferred method.
For Bodhi Life, our choice to use bamboo was an easy one. Bamboo’s sustainability and physical attributes are second to none. Its flexibility, durability, and strength are among the best of any naturally occurring material and the fibrous grain is absolutely gorgeous. We are extremely confident in our material choice and shaping process that produces not only the best looking wood rings on the market but also rings that are able to withstand the wear and tear of a normal life better than any other wood ring on the market. Our 3 ply material is able to hold up to both inward and outward pressure while being so light you’ll forget it’s there.
Through bamboo, we can learn valuable life lessons; to bend but not break, to give back to our communities, and to live a sustainable life. Important lessons and daily reminders attached to a gorgeous, strong rings.