An eternity ring is a continuous row of gemstones (usually diamonds) of the same size and also usually the same cut. With no beginning and no end, the endless circle of gemstones represents the eternity of life and never ending love.
The idea of the eternity ring dates back over 4000 years to Egyptian times when the circle was a very powerful symbol. Archaeologists have found Egyptian rings made of many different materials, for example, carved bone, braided reeds and metals.
Prior to it being called an eternity ring it was referred to as a keeper ring and was either a single band ring or a matching pair of rings which were worn on the outside or either side of the engagement ring to protect it from loss or damage.
Romans believed that the vein in the ring finger (the fourth finger of the left hand) ran directly to one’s heart and therefore called that vein the “vena amoris” or the vein of love. Though untrue this tradition has remained and because of this belief the eternity ring was placed onto this finger.
In 1761 Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III, protected her engagement ring with a keeper ring and had it engraved with the date of her wedding and also had it set with diamonds around it, thus starting the trend for eternity rings set with diamonds.
Traditionally an eternity ring is presented as a gift to commemorate a milestone wedding anniversary or to celebrate the birth of a new child into the family. They are also referred to as infinity rings. Mainly set with diamonds they are also found set with other stones (rubies, emeralds or sapphires).
Today eternity rings are more popular than ever and the bands are being used as a wedding band instead of the traditional plain band.