When we think engagement rings, we think love, happiness, and forever spent with our significant other, but little do we realize the history behind this small piece of jewelry. The engagement ring has been a symbolic token for centuries. Journey with us through time as we uncover the history and evolving meaning of the wedding ring.
The history of the engagement ring can be dated as far back as Ancient Egypt! Rings were considered to be symbols of eternity and worn on the third finger of the left hand, which was believed to have a vein that ran directly to the heart. This was the first known culture where people exchanged rings in honor of love.
In Ancient Roman times, men gave betrothal rings to their wives to signify ownership. Women would have two separate rings, one made out of iron that they wore around the house, and one made out of gold that they would wear in public. Historians believed this to be the first instance where rings were used to symbolize marriage.
During Medieval times, wedding rings worn by the wealthy were adorned with various gemstones and considered as symbols of social status. Poesy rings, wedding rings engraved with religious and inspirational messages, also became popular.
It wasn’t until 1477 when diamonds were first introduced to the engagement ring. Archduke Maximillian of Austria was the first to commission an engagement ring adorned with diamonds in the shape of an “M” for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy.
The Victorian era was a highly recognized time for its influence on jewelry, especially the wedding ring. Engagement rings were typically adorned with large, colorful gemstones, such as opals, rubies, and emeralds, and had bold designs. After the discovery of diamonds in South Africa, it became more common for diamonds to be used in engagement rings. Rose and Old Mine cuts rose to popularity and were placed in flower or clustered settings.
Although popularity for diamond rings declined after the first World War and even more so during the Great Depression, the diamond cartel, De Beers, profoundly influenced the diamond industry. Their slogan, “A Diamond is Forever,” helped persuade both men and women that diamond rings were indispensable and the ultimate motif of an eternal bond.
Now, with hundreds of shapes, cuts, and settings, the options for that perfect ring are endless. With a rich and intimate history, engagement rings have proven themselves to be the utmost symbol of love and matrimony (and that’s something we can definitely get behind)!
Check out our collection of unique diamond engagement rings that we individually handcraft to perfection. We are so proud to be a part of an industry founded on romance, love, and eternal devotion. Visit our website to see it all.