Black rings can be traced all the way back to the times of the ancients when the Greeks fashioned rings made of quartz called black onyx, and the Romans used black onyx to create rings used for official seals. Nowadays, it’s more a matter of function and fashion to see someone wearing a black ring.
That said, black wedding band meanings range far and wide, and it really boils down to the wearer of the ring as to what it means to them. Context is everything, and while one man might wear a black wedding ring because he feels it’s stylish, another might wear a black wedding ring as a placeholder for a more expensive band that he doesn’t want to be damaged or lost.
Black Wedding Bands as a Style Statement
There’s no denying that black wedding rings are fashionable in today’s culture. Many people choose to wear them just because they like them, not because of any hidden meanings attached to it.
Wearing a black ring stems purely from a desire to differentiate themselves from their more "traditionalist" friends or family members with traditional metal rings and make a statement.
Still, others might associate wearing a black ring with progressive thinking or outright rebellion against social norms. Whatever the motives, a black wedding ring certainly makes a statement and conveys an edginess that you just can’t get with a plain wedding band made from silver or gold.
Custom Black Wedding Rings as Heirlooms
When a ring is custom-designed around the color black, it opens up some interesting design possibilities. The designer gets to bring precious stones and metals together to create something a little different than more classic styles made with yellow gold, sterling silver, or a precious metal like platinum.
For instance, pairing a black diamond with a metal-like black tungsten makes for a unique and exquisite piece of jewelry you can wear proudly for a lifetime. Tungsten wedding bands are perfect as men's wedding rings for those that need something durable, but still looks nice and polished. Depending on what your black wedding band is made of and how well it’s cared for, it can be passed down from one generation to the next, especially if you custom make your ring from a material such as black gold. In this case, the meaning of a black wedding band is money, honey.
Black Wedding Rings as a Nod to Ancient History
For some couples, a black wedding band’s meaning is an ode to ancient history, from back when the Greeks and Romans would carve rings from black onyx, which is a type of quartz. Though some of these rings may have been used in weddings, some may also have been worn for mere fashion or as a status symbol. The Romans often made seal or signet rings as a way to identify themselves and prove their authenticity.
For some couples, it could be they just find "the old ways" to be more romantic and intriguing than other styles that are available today.
Black Wedding Bands as an Emotional Statement
For some, a black wedding ring can symbolize courage and strength. It’s not just representative of physical strength, but strength of conviction, too. Therefore, it “says” something about the person wearing it.
If both people in a relationship wear black wedding bands, it may be done as a way to symbolize a very strong relationship, bound by an unusually strong sense of commitment.
This not only “says” something about each person individually, but it also speaks to their love and devotion to each other. Couples so deeply committed are usually “in it to win it” and rarely stray, or even consider something like divorce.
As a side note, some people wear black rings on the middle finger of the right hand. This isn’t a wedding band per se, but it may be worn to indicate the wearer isn’t open to approach from the opposite sex. It’s a way to assert their asexuality and convey the message, “Back off. I’m not available.”
Black Wedding Bands as a Practical Solution
There are many instances where people do work have jobs that can be damaging to their rings, such as crane operators, construction workers, and other manual labor positions.
Despite the risks, they still prefer to wear their original wedding ring at all times. Often, the metals from which black wedding bands are crafted are quite strong, especially in the case of metals like titanium or tungsten.
By choosing a black wedding ring made of strong, durable material, it can be worn under all sorts of conditions and during all sorts of activities, without causing any undue stress for the wearer.
You won’t be worried you’re scratching it up or causing irreparable damage, because it’s scratch resistant and built to withstand harsh conditions.
Black Wedding Bands for Comfort or Safety Reasons
Asking "what does a black wedding band mean" may not always be the right question. Instead, try asking a person why they’ve chosen to wear a black ring. Sometimes it’s less about wedding rings meaning and more about necessity.
Certain careers make some wedding bands dangerous or uncomfortable to wear. Couples that work in dangerous fields will often go with a black wedding band made of silicone.
Firemen, and men (or women) who do extremely strenuous work find their hands swell up from time to time. The restriction of wearing a metal ring can not only be uncomfortable, but it could also cause actual pain. It can become a real problem, especially if you have trouble removing it because of the swelling.
Imagine a fireman inside a burning building, trying to find and save people, only to discover their fingers have begun to swell and hurt, but they can’t do anything about it. The distraction can impede the fireman’s ability to think clearly under extreme circumstances.
People who work with liquids or wet substances and who get these substances on their hands regularly may be afraid of losing their wedding ring by accident. Massage therapists, people who prepare food for a living, people who work at sea, professional athletes (especially swimmers)—all of these careers come with risks. Many couples avoid these risks by wearing a “temporary” black wedding ring.
Sometimes people work in environments where a ring can get caught on something. This can either cause damage to the ring itself, which is painful if you invested a lot of money into it, or it can cause damage to your finger.
History is littered with stories of people who were just doing their jobs when their rings got caught on something. Before they knew it, they’d lost one or more fingers permanently.
This is a real danger for many people, from automobile mechanics, carpenters, machine operators, electricians, and policemen. Law enforcement, in particular, may be targets of theft and wearing a ring made of certain metals as an electrician is a legitimate safety hazard because some metals conduct energy.
When silicone rings are worn, they can be stretched and removed, or easily cut off if necessary, without causing undue injury.
Black Wedding Bands to Embrace the Macabre
There are plenty of people in the world who are just dark in personality and style. People with a love of theater have a flare for the dramatic, as do goths and people that have a passion for the macabre. For people fascinated with dark things, a black wedding band only seems fitting as both a personal statement and a style preference.
Honestly, if you asked for a black wedding band’s meaning a few decades ago, it would have been immediately been associated with all sorts of negative connotations ripe with death and satanism. Today, gothic people that are inclined toward the darker things in life are much more mainstream and accepted. Ergo, so are their black wedding rings.
Black Wedding Rings as a Political Statement
There are certain groups and organizations that use black rings (including black wedding rings) as a political statement. It’s a way to help them promote ideas like equality in marriage laws. Because some people still don’t have the ability to marry due to their sexual orientation, these organizations use a black ring with the word equality written on it to symbolically protest against something they feel is unjust in our government.
So, just what does a black wedding band mean? Clearly, it depends on who you ask. Whatever the reasoning or meaning attached to black wedding rings, we say they make an attractive, affordable, and eye-catching option for couples everywhere. Are there really any downsides? We think not.