Learn About Engagement Rings
Buying an engagement ring signifies a major milestone in any relationship. But where has this tradition come from and what should you look for when purchasing an engagement ring.
The History of an Engagement Ring
Engagement rings date back to ancient Egyptians, who believed circles symbolised eternity, as a circle doesn’t have a beginning or end. Wedded couples would exchanged rings of braided reeds, wearing them on the left hand ring finger, as they believed that’s where the ‘Vein of Love’ ran through to the heart. Engagement rings became more popular during ancient Roman times where simple iron hoops were given. The tradition of ‘betrothal rings‘ were believed to have started in lieu of giving the bride money or a valuable object. However this symbol was believed to be more about ownership than love. It wasn’t until the 13th century that betrothed rings were used in Western cultures.
The first documented use of a diamond engagement ring was by the Archduke Maximilian of Austria. In Vienna, 1477, upon his betrothal to Mary of Burgundy he gifted her a diamond set gold ring. Although it wasn’t uncommon then to send your brides-to-be diamond and gemstone jewellery, this is the first noted instance of a diamond ring being given.
Traditionally in Western and North America cultures women receive engagement rings to represent a formal agreement to future marriage with their partner. An engagement ring usually features diamonds or gemstones that symbolise love and commitment. The tradition from ancient Egypt continues as they are usually worn on the left hand ring finger. In other cultures engagement rings can often be used as wedding rings and in some cultures men and women wear matching engagement rings.
In today’s market, diamonds are recognised as the universal symbol of love as diamonds are durable, strong, and beautiful – just like a long lasting marriage. In Western cultures it was only the richest and noblest families that wore diamond engagement rings, however in 1870 diamonds became more affordable and available as several diamond mines were discovered in South Africa. Over the years engagement rings have become more common to wear as an agreement of marriage. Many Jewellers provide a variety of different options to buy engagement rings in different styles with different diamond shapes and characteristics. In current times the top selling diamonds for engagement rings are round brilliant diamonds and princess cut diamonds.