If you are getting engaged, chances are that you are getting an engagement ring. Even more likely is that it will have a diamond in it. However, have you ever wondered why? Why do we have engagement rings at all, and why they have a diamond in them.
There are numerous types of engagement rings like https://emersonandfarrar.com/pages/die-struck-engagement-rings but do you know where and why everything started?
The first known instance of engagement rings comes from ancient Egypt. There, the couple to be married exchanged rings made of reeds or other plant material. The symbolism of engagement rings was pretty similar to the modern one. They considered the circle to be a symbol of eternity, so they incorporated it in their wedding ceremonies.
Ancient Greeks and other nations which existed at the same time weren’t so impressed by rings. They preferred the functionality of a dowry, where both spouses brought something valuable into the marriage.
The second ancient nation which used engagement rings in their culture were the Romans. In fact, they were the ones who decided that the engagement ring should be worn on the ring finger (hence the name) of the left hand. They theorized that there is a vein which goes from there straight to the heart. It was named Vena amoris, which is not hard to understand even if you don’t speak Latin.
With the fall of Rome, much of its culture and customs have been lost and the world experienced a dark age that we know little about. However, the first mention of diamonds used in engagement rings come from the 15th century. An Austrian archduke and the Holy Roman Emperor named Maximilian was to marry the duchess of Burgundy, Mary. As an engagement present, he had a ring made for her. The ring had thin, flat diamond pieces which were arranged into an M formation.
After that, the royalty and the aristocrats of Europe started competing and adding various gems into their rings and the tradition of giving rings as an engagement present was revived and took off.
The trend of giving diamonds and other gems as an engagement present was only accessible to the very rich for a long time. However, all that changed in the 19th century. Large deposits of diamonds and other gems were discovered all over the world, predominantly in Africa.
Diamonds, in particular, saw a surge in production. However, with so much supply, there was a need for a more accessible market. BeBeers is a company which found themselves in control of the majority of diamond trade. They made an advertising campaign which touted diamond rings as the only proper way of proposing to a loved one. The campaign was a great success and it even outdid the expectations.
Today, it is engrained in us that an engagement ring should be diamond and should cost you at least two months’ wages. The campaign and the company which created it are no longer in the public eye, but this cultural phenomenon is still very much present.
In fact, it is estimated that 8 out of 10 brides-to-be expect to get a diamond engagement ring. Despite the price, we adhere to the cultural norm which was only created about a century ago. When you look at the skillful and beautiful craftsmanship of the jewelers, it is not hard to understand why women are so captivated by diamond rings.
Regardless of whether you want the traditional ring, or you have some other option in mind, you should find the best retailer with the widest selection of rings for you to choose from.