It is easy to see why the diamond engagement ring has withstood the test of time; beautiful, bearing an enigmatic and altogether magical mythology and symbolising eternal love the diamond engagement ring is something truly special.
History of the Diamond
Diamonds have come to represent enduring love because they are both the strongest material known to man and one of the most aesthetically enchanting; hence, like love itself, diamonds have been bewitching, seducing and driving man to madness, murder and even war since their discovery almost three thousand years ago. Despite having existed, it is reckoned, for closer to 3 billion years and examples of jewellery having been discovered containing rough diamonds as far back as the 11th century, basic cutting and polishing processes which serve to improve the brilliance of diamonds were not available until the 14th century; modern diamond cutting and polishing methods and tools have continued to be invented and improve ever since. Most recently, laser and computer aided techniques have meant that the facets a diamond has more than tripled; hence, the diamond is not just most enduring material known to man in terms of its actual strength, but has continued to captivate man and shown a strength in popularity unrivalled by all other precious stones.
To learn more and in more depth about the diamonds role in shaping the world and how its seemingly magical properties have captivated and even spelled disaster to different civilisations over its long history, visit GIA online, the worlds foremost authority on diamonds.
History of the Diamond Engagement Ring
Promise rings had long been a recognised and common gift given by men to their brides-to-be. It was not though until shortly after the introduction of the first diamond cutting approach, the point cut, that the first known diamond engagement ring was ever made or given.
The first diamond engagement ring was commissioned to be made for the Archduke Maximillian of Austria who had the idea of setting a diamond within the ring. The receiver of the first ever diamond engagement ring, was Mary of Burgundy, whom of course accepted both the ring and the Archduke as her husband. Despite the fact the diamond wedding ring is now, and has long been, considered the only suitable engagement ring to present to your partner, the cost of diamonds and jewellery when the Archbishop created the diamond engagement ring meant that no ordinary civilian could ever afford a diamond engagement ring. For more information about the history and practise of giving and receiving engagement rings, the American Gem Society website proves a very useful and insightful resource.
The Diamond Engagement Ring in Modern Culture
During the Victorian period, diamonds began to feature in rings used as engagement gifts to would-be-brides. These rings though were usually referred to, not as engagement rings specifically, but by the name posy rings as they were often characteristically sentimental in their designs, featuring numerous different coloured stones often arranged to look like flowers. Today, posy rings have become a fashionable, antique alternative to a new ring for many brides-to-be as their history, for many, adds to their allure.
Prior to African diamond mines in the 1870s, diamonds were a luxury reserved for royalty and aristocracy though. The diamond engagement ring as we imagine and think of it in 2015, did not really exist until the 1930s when De Beers Company, which owned the African mines at the time reacted to dwindling US sales due to economic hardship at the time by staging a huge advertising campaign. The campaign involved the circulation of photographs showing movies stars wearing diamonds and is credited with the sales of diamonds rising by a massive 50% in the years following.
The popularity of diamond engagement rings continued to grow, again helped by the De Beers Company who in 1947 coined the slogan Diamonds are Forever; by 1965, 80% of all US brides-to-be were wearing an example of a diamond engagement ring. A truly remarkable advertising slogan for a truly remarkable product, the phrase Diamonds are Forever can be argued to have either proved prophetic or have at least provided the De Beers company with a very astute self-fulfilling prophecy; the fashion for diamond engagement rings is certainly not showing any cracks. In fact, the average amount of money spent on a diamond engagement ring risen dramatically since the early 1990s. With it, the popularity of antique diamond engagement rings has also increased.