Engagement rings have been used for hundreds of years.
In ancient times, the Romans believed that the left ring finger contained a vein with a direct pathway into one of our most vital organs. In the middle ages, Pope Nicholas announced the use of a ring to represent engagement.
Today, it is common practice to offer a diamond engagement ring along with that all-important question.
Long ago, rings were given to a bride-to-be as a sign of ownership, to ward off any potential suitors and make it clear to them that he had claimed her. Nowadays, the meaning behind an engagement ring is much less about possession and more romantic. Rings are used because their circular shape symbolizes eternal, infinite love. Rings are also symbols of a cycle and the new beginning of your marriage.
Centuries ago, engagement rings were used to showcase a claim on the bride-to-be and display the wealth of her prospective husband. Rings made from precious metals containing beautiful diamonds or other gemstones were used to show others just how wealthy and powerful a woman’s husband was. It showed that he was capable of looking after his new bride.
Women’s rights were few and far between, and they relied on their husbands for financial support. A bride with an expensive and ornate ring would be a happy wife. The mutual exchange of rings between a man and woman during their marriage ceremony only became common practice during the Second World War. Men wore their wedding rings as a reminder of the wives they had to leave behind.
As women have gained independence from men over the years, engagement rings have lost the need to signify wealth and become a form of expression. Couples all over the world are breaking engagement ring tradition when they buy and wear engagement rings. Couples in a same-sex marriage will often buy two engagement rings instead of just one.
The popularity of the classic diamond ring has become less, in favor of other colored gemstones or side stones. Many women opt for engagement ring sets that are worn together or for family heirlooms instead of buying them new.
Ancient Rome is believed to be the first civilization to incorporate engagement rings as a precursor to their wedding ceremony. It is said that they decided to wear engagement and wedding rings on their left ring finger because they believed that it contains a vein that directly connects to the heart. And so began the beautifully romantic tradition of engagement rings and wedding bands being worn on the left hand’s fourth finger- so that the ring could stay close to their hearts.
These days, rings are still traditionally worn on this finger. Most women choose to wear both rings as a wedding set on the same hand, but some brides move their engagement ring to their right hand to free the left hand for their wedding band.
During a traditional wedding ceremony, the husband-to-be places his bride’s wedding band on her finger while reciting his vows. Afterward, the bride does the same to him. This beautiful exchange is perhaps the most important thing that happens to many couples and is extremely meaningful.
When heard, the phrase “A Diamond Is Forever” conjures up images of a 1970s Bond Film, or perhaps of the film’s theme song that Shirley Bassey sang. However, this phrase first gained popularity during an elaborate marketing campaign to raise the market value of diamonds.
Maximillian, the Archduke of Austria, was the first man to propose to his beloved Mary of Burgundy with a diamond engagement ring in the late 1400s. It caused a surge in popularity for the diamond engagement ring among nobility and aristocrats. However, only centuries later, diamond rings became a standard engagement ring choice and became available for ordinary people to purchase.
Diamonds were discovered in Africa in 1867, and diamond mines were created to harvest these precious gems. Diamonds were shipped off to other countries within Africa and many other countries. The success of these diamond mines meant that anyone could purchase their first diamond engagement ring to be worn until their wedding day. But, most often, a marriage proposal still involved “Posie/Posey Rings” – an ornate gold ring with a colored gem -rather than a diamond ring.
In the 1930s, the De Beers group began running a marketing campaign with the slogan “A diamond is forever,” instilling the idea among consumers that the diamonds’ extraordinary strength signifies everlasting love. It created a surge in popularity for diamond engagement rings all over the world, and they soon became traditional.
Regardless of the engagement and wedding ring you choose, whether they are made of white gold or rose gold, taking a look at the history of the engagement ring and exactly what an engagement ring means could help you decide on the piece you will wear forever.
It is common knowledge that diamonds are the hardest stones in existence. They are so tough that they are often used as an abrasive material.
However, that does not mean that they are completely indestructible. Diamonds can scratch or chip if they are not looked after well or if they have been cut poorly. Therefore, it is best to take excellent care of your engagement ring and make sure to buy it from a reputable jeweler.
Don’t remove your diamond rings unless at home to avoid loss or theft.
Avoid touching the center stone to maintain the shine.
Depending on which metal your diamond is set, you may need to polish it with the correct products. However, jewelers often offer a complimentary yearly cleaning and polishing service after purchasing their engagement rings or do so at a charge.
While it is tradition for an engagement ring to contain a solitaire diamond, it has become popular for a woman to have a ring composed of other gems as well. For example, Kate Middleton’s iconic engagement ring has a large blue sapphire center stone and a halo of smaller diamonds encircling it.
The stone you choose all relies on your unique style and preference, as well as your budget.
Your choice of precious metal for your engagement ring depends on your individual needs in terms of budget, style preference, and wearability.
The different precious metals to choose from are:
Yellow gold rings are the most traditional choice for an engagement or wedding ring. Diamond engagement rings are often created using yellow gold. It is one of the harder metals, making it quite durable and an excellent choice for a ring. It is more expensive than other metals, such as silver, but less costly than platinum or its white counterpart. It is, therefore, mid-range when it comes to price.
Rose gold is an alternative to yellow and has become increasingly popular. Named for its rosy pink color, it tends to be a more popular choice among women for their engagement ring or wedding band. However, the unique color does not make it more or less expensive than traditional gold. Hence, it falls within the same price range. In addition, this particular metal often pairs well with vintage ring styles.
Of the three colors of gold, white is the most expensive. It is because it is much more durable and much less prone to scratching, making it comparable to platinum. If you plan on investing and your engagement budget allows for it, this is an excellent choice for a ring that will withstand the test of time! In addition, it has a brilliant shine, guaranteed to draw attention.
Sterling silver is one of the more affordable options when it comes to buying a ring. It has a beautiful shine and even contains some powerful antibacterial properties. Unfortunately, it is one of the softer metals, making it more prone to scratching. It is also a metal that will tarnish over time, which means that it will require cleaning with the right products. Even so, it remains a classic, elegant and romantic choice.
Platinum, known for its incredible durability and brilliant shine, is the most expensive option available. A ring made from this metal would require a larger budget, but it is well worth it! Unlike all the other options, platinum does not wear down over time. That means that your ring will still be the same weight and excellent quality it was the day it was bought fifty years from now. It is a worthy investment, and this quality is also a symbol of eternal love, much like the circle shape of the ring itself, making this a very romantic option.
While not traditional, it is certainly not unheard of for men to also wear an engagement ring after a marriage proposal. Famous singer Michael Buble could be seen wearing a ring after his engagement to his now-wife.
Some men buy a cheaper wedding band and wear it until the day of their wedding, then exchange it for something more expensive.
There are several popular cuts used in gemstone rings. Whether you want to propose to your prospective bride with a modern statement piece or a diamond solitaire ring that has been the tradition for so long- it all depends on your budget and style preference.
Some popular styles for a woman include:
It is a well-established tradition for engagement rings to contain a single, rounded diamond set with prongs.
A princess cut is a more modern, geometric choice for engagement rings, as they have a sharp, rectangular, or square cut.
A cushion cut is similar to a princess cut. It is also square or rectangular; however, it has rounded edges, giving a much softer appearance.
An oval cut is very similar to solitaire, except it has an oval shape rather than a round one. Oval cuts are often used in halo rings and exude soft, feminine energy.
A marquise is a golden mean between soft, classic rings and geometric designs. It is something between an oval and a diamond shape, in that it has two sharp edges and two sides that are rounded. It sparkles brilliantly and is a good choice for someone who wants a regal-looking engagement ring.
An emerald cut is similar to a princess cut or cushion cut in that it has a rectangular form. However, the cut is characterized by a step, making it stand out from other rectangular cuts. An emerald cut is also known for its Art Deco look. It pairs well with vintage settings where something with a more understated shine would work best, like the emerald cut.
A pear cut is so named because of its striking resemblance to the fruit. It is also sometimes referred to as a teardrop. These cuts have become very popular recently, and they pair well with a halo of smaller diamonds or a stackable wedding ring- or both!
Those looking for a unique engagement ring need look no further, as this triangular cut is sure to be a statement piece regardless of the metal or gem it’s comprised of. Trillion cuts used to be most commonly used as accent stones. Still, they are gorgeous as solitaire stones, giving the engagement ring an alternative look.
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