Proposing to your loved one might just be one of the most important and nerve-wracking things you will ever do. By getting down on one knee and offering a diamond engagement ring to your chosen partner, you are signifying your commitment to them and your intention to spend the rest of your life making them happy.
It's an extremely romantic gesture and one that has been entrenched in tradition for centuries. But have you ever wondered how the engagement ring became such an integral part of our love lives?
The first rings
It is a practice that began in caveman times, when lovers would tie a cord around each others' wrist, waist or ankle to show their devotion to each other. Ancient Egyptians made rings out of reeds that they would exchange during marriage. They believed the circle to be a symbol of eternity and they chose the left hand's ring finger as the perfect place to position the ring since it was thought to contain a vein that leads directly to the heart. Despite us now knowing that this is not true, this is a tradition that has stuck.
Ancient Romans picked up the tradition of wedding rings, although in a less romantic way, offering two rings instead of money or a valuable object to show ownership. One ring was made of gold and was to be worn during the marriage ceremony, the other was made of metal and was to be worn at home.
The addition of diamonds
Diamonds came into fashion in 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with a ring made of diamonds in the shape of an 'M'. Throughout the middle ages, engagement rings became more extravagant, although they were really only accessible to the rich.
It wasn't until the 1890s that affordable engagement rings were sold in shops and catalogues. The rise of diamond mining meant they were more accessible to the masses, although engagement rings for men never became popular. Nowadays, engagement rings come in all shapes and sizes and are used to show an intention to marry the one you love. Surprise her with a ring from Laurelle Antique Jewellery and she is sure to say yes!