A Brief History of the Engagement Ring

A Brief History of the Engagement Ring

Engagement rings have been around for a long time. The Romans believed that diamonds possessed supernatural powers and offered protection to the wearer. They used diamond engagement rings to demonstrate ownership of a future bride. The engagement ring indicated two things. Firstly, it showed that a marriage contract was in place and secondly, that ownership of the future bride would soon transfer from her father to her husband. Perhaps the custom of asking the bride’s father for permission to marry his daughter originates from this tradition.

The first known diamond engagement ring.

Diamonds were rare in the Middle Ages and only actually mined in India. It is thought that the first diamond engagement ring was given by Archduke Maximillian of Austria in 1477 to his future Queen, Mary of Burgundy. At that time only the nobility were allowed to wear precious stones, but still Mary’s unique engagement ring stimulated a demand for cut diamonds set in rings. By 1500, artisans had developed tools to cut facets in diamonds, with the earliest design being the rose cut. In the mid-1700s, King Louis XV of France commissioned a diamond cut in the shape of the mouth of his mistress, Madame de Pompadour. Baron d’Orchamps later claimed that if a diamond was worn on the third finger of the left hand, it would counteract evil spirits and also attract good fortune. Women of the nobility of the time soon made the diamond ring fashionable.

The growth in popularity of diamond engagement rings.

Despite the fact that diamonds have been popular with royalty since the Middle Ages, they have only become more widely used during the past 100 years or so. The nobility were the first to emulate royalty and adopt the practice. But diamonds began to be used more widely in engagement rings during the Edwardian era. From around 1910 diamonds, and sometimes other precious stones, became fashionable in engagement rings for those who could afford them. However, diamonds were still extremely expensive and therefore out of reach for most people.

The art of cutting diamonds.

Diamonds can only be cut with other diamonds and then polished with diamond dust. Artisans who developed this skill became extremely popular. During the Industrial Revolution machines were developed which could accurately cut diamonds.  The most popular cut from this time is now known as the “Old European” or “English Round” cut which had 58 facets. Modern round-cut diamonds still have 58 facets. When diamonds were discovered in Africa in the late 19th century, they became more popular and also more affordable. But for the Victorians, the diamond still wasn’t the stone of choice for an engagement ring. The bride’s birthstone was usually chosen.

Are engagement rings going out of favour?

Some brides are now deciding against a large diamond engagement ring, choosing to use the money for other things, such as a down payment on a house. Some couples are choosing rings mounted with less expensive stones such as sapphires and rubies. Despite the choices of some, the diamond engagement ring with its rich history is a tradition that is here to stay.




The Evolution of Cybercrime Laws in the Digital Age

Previous article

Choosing the Right Column Radiator Size for Your Space

Next article

You may also like


Comments are closed.

More in Beauty