Monday, 19 December 2016

The History Of The Engagement Ring

The engagement ring is a beautiful symbol of being 'betrothed' to be married and is a tradition in the Western world but do you know the history of the engagement ring? In this article, I will look at the history and tradition of the piece of jewellery.



Many people think of the Egyptians as inventing the engagement ring but the origins can be traced back to Roman times, where rings worn on the third finger of their left hands, were believed to be connected directly to the heart by a vein, the vena amoris. These rings were simple affairs of a thin band of silver or gold wire.

In the mid-7th century, a law called the Visigothic Code required that when there is a ceremony of betrothal and a ring was been given then under no circumstance should this pledge be broken

Fast forward to the 13th century and a trend for diamond rings as engagement rings were sparked amongst the upper classes when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy his beloved. The ring was inset with diamonds in the shape of her initial. 


In the United States, as late as the 19th century, a betrothed couple would exchange a thimble, and after the wedding, the thimble's top would be cut off and the rim worn as a ring. This was because at that time engagement rings were considered showy and pretentious.

In the 1870's miners began finding diamonds in South Africa and the influx of diamonds onto the world market made diamonds become more affordable. In the 1880's the company De Beers created a cartel so that the availability of diamonds could be controlled, the scarcer they became the more desirable they became too. 



After World War 1 and the great depression the popularity of the diamond ring declined and the price of diamonds collapsed. Engagement rings were going out of fashion too. Something had to be done. In the late 1930's De Beers spent money on a marketing campaign to increase the popularity of the diamond engagement ring. This focused on education - the 4 C's - cut, carat, colour, and clarity, and in the 1940's the slogan "diamonds are forever" was invented. Diamonds had become desirable again and the only choice at that time for an engagement ring.

Today the classic choice in the UK and the USA, for an engagement ring is a round brilliant cut diamond engagement ring in either white gold or platinum with many men spending between one and two months salary on the ring. 




As a diamond engagement ring can be of significant value it does make sense to shop around for the best ring for the price. When you are buying something classic like a round brilliant cut engagement ring it is easy to see what you are getting and compare. If you focus on quality and get the best for your budget, this can often be done online. 

Look for jewellers that specialise in diamonds, such as Baunat, that are based in the Antwerp diamond district, and offer a 20-year guarantee against hidden flaws in their jewellery. They handmake their rings and offer beautiful diamonds that are untreated and which come with a certificate of authenticity detailing the 4 C's.  They also offer 30 day satisfaction guarantee so you can be assured that you will be delighted with your purchase, and you can see their happy customers on Trustpilot. With any expensive purchase, paying on credit card will give you added protection too. Buying an engagement ring online doesn't have to be scary if you buy from a reputable dealer. 


Tell me did you know about the history of the engagement ring?

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15 comments

  1. My husband proposed to me with a diamond and we then had it set together. I loved reading this as I had no idea as to the history of engagement rings. Very interesting.

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  2. I learned a lot reading your article! I don't have a diamond engagement ring. My engagement ring is a cheap one (still silver) with a non precious gemstone that my then fiance offered to me at my birthday then later on, when we get engaged (7 years after), I said that ring was going to be my engagement ring (small budget). My wedding ring has a tiny diamond. I wanted an extra one for each child we had but we are not that materialist and prefer to spend our money on something else now...

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  3. My husband proposed to me with a diamond ring that I absolutely love. It's very interesting about the history behind engagement rings as I never knew any of this info.

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  4. A fascinating read - I didn't know about the history of the engagement read so thanks for sharing!

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  5. I had no idea! Really informative post!

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  6. I had heard about De Beers controlling the diamond market, and feel sorry that it is these giant conglomerates that dictate what we consider tradition.

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  7. Oh wow this is so interesting, I had no idea! I do love a diamond!!

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  8. I never realized that engagement rings went out of fashion but I am glad they are popular again today. I find history fascinating.

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  9. I had no idea of the history. My stone came out of my engagement ring. It is so old now :)

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  10. My hubby proposed on Christmas Day 14 years ago now. I remember his mum asking whether I prefered gold or silver jewellery beforehand LOL

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  11. No I didn't know any of this history until I read this post. Thanks for informing me. So useful to know.

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  12. Loved reading this. Had no idea of the proper history of it and as you say I thought it was the eygptions x

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  13. I didn't know the history of the engagement ring so this was a great post to read. It's weird to now think that it's just a well engrained part of our society at the moment but who knows - we may devalue them again in the future. I just remember finding my perfect engagement ring was one of he happiest days of my life x

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  14. I knew about the Egyptians and the third finger but not the other ones, great post

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  15. A great overview of the history of the engagement tips and some great tips on purchasing them - thanks for sharing! Engagement rings are a very special type of jewellery to shop for, and it can be difficult knowing just what shape, stone, and metal to go with. At the end of the day, the best ring is a reflection of your individuality and your unique and special expression of love.

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