The Origins of the Engagement Ring
Every little girl dreams of their wedding day: what they'll wear, what song they'll dance with their dad to, and most importantly, who they'll marry. In recent years, every girl also makes a Pinterest account dedicated to her dream engagement ring. Then, when she *finally* gets engaged, she's got to take that perfect selfie to show off her brand new bling.
What we're trying to say is, engagement rings are having a cultural moment right now. But, how did we get here?
Rings in Ancient Times
Even before diamonds were a girl's best friend, engagement rings have been a meaningful part of history. Engagement rings are a tradition that started back in Ancient Egypt, where Egyptians believed circles were a sign of eternity. Wedded Egyptian couples exchanged rings made from braided reeds, which were worn on the left finger because of its alleged vein that runs straight to the heart.
Anthropologists have traced engagement rings back to Ancient Rome, where they believe it was a Roman custom for wives to wear rings attached to small keys to indicate that their husbands owned them. The Romans often chose to wear an iron ring while at home and a gold ring when out in public.
The First Diamond Rings
It wasn't until 1477 that diamond engagement rings came into play when Archduke Maximillian of Austria commissioned the very first one for his fiancée, Mary of Burgundy. The ring featured a gold band with diamonds in the shape of an "M" to symbolize the first initial of both of their first names. This sparked a trend for diamond rings among European aristocracy and nobility.
The Victorians popularized ornate engagement rings that mixed diamonds and other gemstones, enamels and precious metals. These rings were often made in the shape of flowers and were given the nickname "posie rings."
Diamonds Hit Mainstream
The diamond world changed forever when diamonds were discovered in South Africa. In 1880, Cecil Rhodes founded the DeBeers Mining Company. Within the decade, they controlled 90 percent of the world's diamond production. What did they do with that, you may ask? They turned diamond engagement rings into the now-famous "A Diamond is Forever" ad campaign.
By the early 1940s, engagement rings became the leading line of jewelry in most department stores and were now a mainstream staple. Despite the hardships of World War II, engagement rings in the 1940s were often large and bold.
Engagement Rings Today
Engagement ring traditions have continued to evolve, and today, engagement rings are more popular than ever, though brides also have more options for cut and style today than in the past. In fact, more than 80 percent of American brides get diamond engagement rings.
Today, it is also becoming increasingly popular for the man to wear an engagement, or "man-gagement," ring.
Custom Engagement Rings
Custom engagement rings are a very popular way for grooms to show their brides-to-be a little extra special touch to their beautiful ring.
If you're looking for a diamond engagement ring, look no further than David's House of Diamonds. Contact us today! We can't wait to help you find the perfect ring for your sweetheart.