Diamonds are synonymous with engagements, there is no denying it. When we think of wedding engagements, almost all of us conjure the image of beautiful, sparkling diamond rings. Tasked with asking ourselves why though, how many of us can actually answer that question?
Diamonds Are Forever
The famous slogan thought up by the De Beers in 1947 explains perfectly how diamonds came to be the worlds most recognisable and accepted symbol of forever love. Quite simply, diamond is one the hardest materials known to man. Hence, their strength and the hard knocks they are as such able to withstand reflects the strength of love required to ensure the vows we make on our wedding day carry us through the remainder of our lives. Then, opting for a diamond engagement ring is considered by many to symbolise undying love, and to opt for a ring devoid of diamonds as such is to make a statement about ones love and pledge to their lover or fianc.
Equally, the versatility of diamonds as a jewellery stone, their superb beauty, their perceived purity and unfaltering, unfading and seemingly indestructible brilliance further reflect the characteristics that define our understanding of true love. We may love numerous people and enjoy numerous relationships in our lifetimes, but it is only when we feel we have found love that holds the same features so stunningly held by the diamond that we decide to celebrate our feelings and make our vows.
The First Diamond Engagement Ring
Gifting jewellery items as a celebration and symbol of engagement and pledged allegiance to a lover is said to have first been popularised by the Romans. Roman men routinely gave tokens of their affections to their would-be partners and to be worn by their partners to symbolise their ownership and claim to that person and that persons affections. Whilst the notion of a person having ownership of another in modern times is somewhat opposed to our modern sensibilities, the tradition can equally be understood as a tangible offering gifted a person who has given us their heart, which is a slightly more romantic means of understanding the Roman tradition, at least.
The first diamond engagement ring was not created until 1477 when the rather romantically Archduke Maximillian of Austria recognised that both the lore and the characteristics of the diamond symbolised perfectly his love and intentions when he decided to propose to his then lover, Mary of Burgundy. It was the Archdukes then innovative and romantic gesture that first planted the seed for the diamond engagement ring.
Diamond Engagement Rings in Modern Culture
Because of the rarity of diamonds, the lack of modern mining knowledge and technologies and so the extortionate price of diamonds before the 19th century, diamond wedding rings remained a relatively exclusive and elitist custom. Almost exclusively, the only persons who partook in the gifting of diamond rings up until the Victoria period were members of aristocracy and nobility.
When, during the Victorian period sentimentality popularised ornate fashions in ring designs and rings so encrusted and set with gem stones, including diamonds, the popularity of the diamond ring grew. Equally, the industrial revolution, technological advances and the real beginnings of globalisation all affected the popularity and price of diamonds and diamond rings.
Then, by 1930 the diamond engagement ring first began to establish itself as the one true option to present to a woman a man should hope to marry. The custom grew in popularity so quickly in fact after the Second World War that by 1965 80% of all engagement rings bought in America were diamond engagements rings. And, in 2015, the custom is showing no sign of waning. In fact, like the diamond itself, the custom seems to be unbreakable.
Perhaps the only real explanation as the enduring popularity of the diamond engagement ring though can be found through looking at examples of diamond rings. Fortunately, here at Antique Rings Online we stock a wealth of them. Hence, to see for yourself why the diamond ring is an enduring favourite, take a moment to browse our stunning collection!