Are gold wedding bands FARBY?

Claude Bauer

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Short answer: yes.

I've often wondered about how "authentic" it is to have hundreds, even thousands, of male reenactors portraying Civil War soldiers while wearing gold wedding bands on the ring finger of their left hand. I've seen reenactors rake each other over the coals regarding authenticity, but many don't realize they're sporting a glaring anachronism.

I've never been in a unit or heard of a unit that asks its members to remove their gold wedding bands for authenticity purposes--there might be some that do, but I've never seen it in more than 20 years of Civil War, Rev War, even F&I. Certainly there were men who wore rings during the Civil War, maybe even a few wore some kind of wedding band, but you can see from pictures that it wasn't the widespread practice it is today--it didn't really take off with men in the US until WWII.

 

captaindrew

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thomas aagaard

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I've never been in a unit or heard of a unit that asks its members to remove their gold wedding bands for authenticity purposes--there might be some that do, but I've never seen it in more than 20 years of Civil War, Rev War, even F&I.
I do know of danish officers back then wearing wedding rings... because there are a few examples of them being return to the wives of dead officers... together with other personal items.

I remove my silvering... (If I remember to) since it is a silver reproduction of an early 16th century gold ring.
(might be an engagement ring for a woman, but most likely a friendship ring that a man could give to a good male friend)
So that in it self makes it anachronistic... by being of a style way too old.

And to me wearing or not wearing jewelry is just as much part of the "kit" for what ever period one do as everything else is.
I got 3? crosses, two in silver and one in wood for when doing medieval stuff...

(But admittedly, Iam now so use to wearing my ring, that I do sometimes forget to take it off)


Also note that in a good part of Europe we wear the ring on the right hand... And it is my impression that it started to become part of German culture during the middle of the 19th century.
So soldiers who where German immigrates who might have done it... and on the right hand.
 

LoyaltyOfDogs

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Short answer: yes.

I've often wondered about how "authentic" it is to have hundreds, even thousands, of male reenactors portraying Civil War soldiers while wearing gold wedding bands on the ring finger of their left hand. I've seen reenactors rake each other over the coals regarding authenticity, but many don't realize they're sporting a glaring anachronism.

I've never been in a unit or heard of a unit that asks its members to remove their gold wedding bands for authenticity purposes--there might be some that do, but I've never seen it in more than 20 years of Civil War, Rev War, even F&I. Certainly there were men who wore rings during the Civil War, maybe even a few wore some kind of wedding band, but you can see from pictures that it wasn't the widespread practice it is today--it didn't really take off with men in the US until WWII.


Interesting question @Claude Bauer. Although, as you say, it wasn't common and doesn't look authentic to see whole companies of reenactors wearing their wedding bands, I couldn't help immediately thinking of this soldier as I read your post. He's evidently wearing his wife's wedding band, and she's wearing his. It would be a lovely tribute to this family (and no doubt others like them) if some reenactor would swap rings with his wife before his next battle. (This family portrait is from the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsca.38355/)

1586053172061.png
 

JPK Huson 1863

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I don't know? Thought the same thing until poking around in the topic for a thread. I'd had an idea men rings weren't common for men or women 150 years ago. Maybe it wasn't as common as we consider them today but don't seem to have been uncommon?

Love to hear the conversations anyway, some nice man explaining to his wife exactly why he's taking his ring off for the weekend. " No, really honey, I'll put it back on the second I get home, promise! "
 

Irishtom29

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In my experience men who do rigorous physical work remove rings when working as they can be hazardous. I doubt very much that mid 19th Century men from farms commonly wore rings at all, much less when engaged in a job of work, including soldiering.
 

DixieRifles

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I don't know? Thought the same thing until poking around in the topic for a thread. I'd had an idea men rings weren't common for men or women 150 years ago. Maybe it wasn't as common as we consider them today but don't seem to have been uncommon?
Maybe common to wear wedding bands but I thought the Question was specifically about Gold wedding bands. Could your average Gawga private afford a gold wedding band even if he was above average age??
 

thomas aagaard

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Maybe common to wear wedding bands but I thought the Question was specifically about Gold wedding bands. Could your average Gawga private afford a gold wedding band even if he was above average age??
Also the fact that there where a lot less gold around back then... making the price higher.

Early Spanish exploitation of south america was to a larger extent silver then gold.

The California gold rush had happened and there where others in the 1850ties.
But Klondike was later, so was Australia and New Zealand.

The one in Transvaal (South Africa) was in 1886 and 10 years later it was responsible for about 25% of the world production.
 
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NH Civil War Gal

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I now have a number of wedding bands that were dug from temporary graves many years ago at Trevellian Station. They aren't gold but brass covered with gilding. So while I don't know the question to "how many," at least a good number of married men were wearing wedding bands but they weren't solid gold because the average soldier couldn't afford solid gold. Calling @Tom Hughes because he just dug some in a Camp in Mississippi not graves.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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I was thinking about this a bit. I think what probably looks Farby is how shiny modern wedding bands are being between 12K to 18K gold. Very few wedding bands from the average married soldier would have been like that. Brass with gilding would have been partially dulled from work at home before they even got drafted or volunteered into the CW. Plus, the rings I have are much thinner than the average wedding ring you see today. One ring I have is intact but has a small chip out of it. Could have been the War or could have happened at home at work.
 

Claude Bauer

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I was thinking about this a bit. I think what probably looks Farby is how shiny modern wedding bands are being between 12K to 18K gold. Very few wedding bands from the average married soldier would have been like that. Brass with gilding would have been partially dulled from work at home before they even got drafted or volunteered into the CW. Plus, the rings I have are much thinner than the average wedding ring you see today. One ring I have is intact but has a small chip out of it. Could have been the War or could have happened at home at work.

That's what I was getting at--many modern reenactors are wearing shiny, solid gold wedding bands that the average soldier or volunteer back then likely couldn't afford. It's a widespread anachronism in reenacting groups representing all time periods. It's entirely possible that individual soldiers and officers might have worn some type of wedding band or ring, and evidence of that has been found (pictures, dug rings, etc.) but that's not the point I was making.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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I see where the shiny gold part would the issue- here's the thread on rings although have never claimed to be much of a researcher. I'm a poker-arounder-in-history as opposed to a professional. Man in one of the images is wearing a ' shiny' ring but it's been enhanced by the photographer.
 

Craig L Barry

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Ulysses S. Grant wore a wedding ring as he notes becoming despondent about losing it during 1854 while assigned to Fort Humboldt in Northern California. Interestingly, when Grant got married in 1848 James Longstreet was his best man. In pictures of Grant where his left hand can be clearly seen you can make out a plain band on this little (pinky) finger.
 

rebracer

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This is a subject I have actually been thinking about this week, somehow I missed this post. Rings are visible in soldiers photos, but from what I have seen the rings are on the little finger (as mentioned above). An example being the famous Gettysburg prisoners, the man in the middle has what appear to be two rings on his little finger and they are dark colored.
 
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