Jewelry History - Uncategorized

Diamond engagement rings, where did this tradition start?

Within traditions that we hold not many are as widespread as giving a diamond ring as a sign of engagement. Not many either sparkle as brightly as the diamond engagement ring. It is used as a symbol of love that’s endured over centuries, although as you will see it has not always involved the now inevitable diamond, evolving with each era while holding steadfast to its core message: eternal commitment.

Our journey begins in the sands of ancient Egypt, where simple rings of reeds and leather were first used as symbols of commitment although they were not yet using gemstones, and were not yet symbols of love. They were simply the sign of an wedding alliance between the bride and groom. These humble beginnings laid the groundwork for what would later become a global tradition of affection and fidelity.

Engagement rings evolved alongside society throughout the years. becoming more durable, using different metals, and decorations. In medieval times, gemstones became more and more prevalent as valuable gifts within higher levels of society. They also became a way to show the importance of a family and their financial situation. They might have also had a more emotional meaning as well, but given the prevalence of arranged marriages tat isn’t typically the primary reason that is given.

One of the first recorded diamond engagement ring would be in In 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria, presented his beloved Mary of Burgundy with a ring adorned with small diamonds in the shape of an “M.” This historic gesture marked the birth of the diamond engagement ring as we know it today, setting the stage for centuries of romantic tradition.

But it was the 20th century that saw the diamond engagement ring truly come into its own. De Beers, a company that for years had a near monopoly on the world’s diamond industry and marketing. The diamond company that forever changed the game with their iconic slogan, “A Diamond is Forever.” Suddenly, diamonds weren’t just gems—they were symbols of everlasting love and devotion. Their marketing strategies surrounding diamonds would also be replicated by jewelers around the world, taking inspiration in how they would now sell their stones.

Fast forward to the present day, and diamond engagement rings remain as popular as ever. Whether it’s a classic solitaire or a modern masterpiece, each ring tells a story of love and commitment that transcends time. An engagement with a diamond center stone has become almost unavoidable and often seen as a measure of the love felt. It has evolved to a point where many assume that a proper engagement ring should be worth 3 months salary of the future groom, which opens a whole separate discussion about how appropriate/inappropriate/toxic that can be in this day and age, and today’s economy. This standard was set by social pressure and marketing campaigns from brands hoping to sell more products. My personal opinion here, is to spend what you want to spend not because of peer pressure but because that is what you are comfortable spending. You can also target smaller jewelers where you can get a nice ring without the “brand” price. And if this is something you like you can also go the lab-diamond rout, that are typically lower price than natural diamonds.

As we admire the sparkle of these cherished symbols, let’s remember the centuries of romance and tradition they represent. For in every shimmering stone lies a promise: that love will always endure, shining bright through the ages.

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