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A finger ring that is given upon marriage (usually as a part of the wedding ceremony) by a man to the bride, and sometimes also her to the groom.
In Roman days and the Middle Ages the wedding ring was indistinguishable from a betrothal ring or an engagement ring, but since the 16th century it has become customary to use a simple gold (or recently platinum or palladium) band, albeit in recent years some have been engraved on the outside or inside with a sentimental inscription or names, or have been decorated with faceting, diamond-milling, or several varicoloured metals, or occasionally (for the bride) set with gemstones, usually a band of small diamonds.
A recent development is a matching engagement ring and wedding ring. A wedding ring has conventionally been placed since Roman days on the left hand, except for a short interval in the Middle Ages when it was placed on the right hand.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson