The paper band that surrounds one end of the cigar is known as the ring, although many call it the vitola, a name that actually refers to the format of the cigar. The ring is used to identify the format and the brand, in addition to providing an attractive touch to the cigar and even, on many occasions, it is a luxurious badge that can be considered a work of art.
Numerous stories have been written about the origins and functions of this small lithographed paper and, as is to be expected, not all of them agree on the facts or the dates. Here we will tell what we have found most interesting to highlight, although nothing can really be said with much certainty because the information is very diverse.
It is said that they began to be used in the mid-nineteenth century and it is believed that, before becoming the individual "belt" that we know today, a wrapping paper was used to cover the small thread with which the layers of the tobacco were held before putting them in the drawers. Names and themes that manufacturers chose to fully identify their products were printed on that paper.
Later, when the number of cigars that were stacked in the drawers was reduced to one hundred, fifty and twenty-five, a lithographed paper label began to be used where the brand, the manufacturer, the address of the factory, the vegas from which the tobacco came, and some other data.
A little later, to cover the smaller boxes, beautifully lithographed prints called set of ratings are incorporated, which contained different parts, including the guarantee seal.
Finally, the rings that individually surround each cigar arrived, which seems to have happened around 1870. According to some experts, they had their greatest splendor in the period between 1870 and 1910-1915; many consider that it was a golden age because, in general, the rings with the greatest artistic value come from that period and, of course, they are the most sought after by collectors.
It seems that the first to use rings similar to the current ones was Anton Bock, a European immigrant established in the US, who commissioned his signature to be lithographed on one of these paper rings to identify his export cigars.
Beyond the fact that its original use is not clear, it was very convenient for the tobacco industry at the end of the 19th century because it made it difficult to fraud and counterfeit its cigars, which began to be generated when massive exports from Cuba to Europe and United States increased markedly.
At the moment
Today and for nearly 150 years, its main function is to show the seal of the manufacturers and provide an attractive and even luxurious touch to the cigar. For this reason, most tobacco companies pay close attention to them and sometimes design and make rings that are true works of art, mainly if it is a special production to celebrate an event or commemorate a special date.
More than a label that shows the brand name, it became a symbol that shows the excellence of a certain tobacco.