Keeper rings, like many wedding traditions, are surrounded by a variety of legends. One of these dates back to Victorian era (1837-1901) when the keeper ring is said to have represented that the receiver was worth “keeping.” It was considered a kind of pre-engagement or betrothal ring and was presented a year before the official engagement. Whether you believe the ring goes back to the 1700s or that the Victorian keeper ring started this trend, the romantic “you’re a keeper” sentiment attached to the ring makes it a popular choice today as a unique wedding ring, engagement ring, eternity ring, and even an anniversary band. These keeper rings continued into the Edwardian era with styles that included elegant braided gold rings.
King George III Era Keeper Ring
|Modern guard rings are designed to enhance the ring they protect.|
Another story dates back to 1761 when King George the III gave his bride, Queen Charlotte, a wedding ring band encircled with diamonds. Diamond rings were a popular ring choice in the mid-eighteenth century, and a second ring – a keeper ring – was worn to protect the more valuable ring from accidentally sliding off the finger. These were also known as guard rings. These antique keeper rings came in a variety of styles from plain gold or enameled bands to diamond or gem-set bands similar to today’s eternity ring.
Over time the diamond ring took on the role of a betrothal ring, and the keeper ring evolved into the wedding band. And keeper rings of today are known as guard rings, but they are often designed to enhance the ring they are protecting.