Congrats, you’ve found the one you want to spend your entire life with and it’s time to take the relationship to the next level. So, what’s the next step? To go out and find an engagement ring, of course! It’s what is expected of you, isn’t it? Well, yes, but why is it expected that you propose with a ring?
Sure, engagement rings just like those at Diamonds.co.nz are stunning, and it seems like a proposal would be incomplete without one. But, why do we give engagement rings?
I decided to explore this question.
The Tradition of Proposing with a Ring
It’s actually a tradition that dates all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. They believed that circles represented eternity. So, wedded couples would exchange rings made with braided reeds. The rings were worn on the left-hand ring finger, which they believed has a vein that rungs directly to our heart. The vein was latter called Vena amoris.
Fast-forward all the way to the second century BC. During that time, ancient Romans are said to have started the tradition of wedding rings instead of giving the bride a valuable object or money. But, the symbolism of the ring wasn’t as much about love as it was about ownership.
According to the elders of the time, the groom-to-be would present the bride with a gold ring to wear during the marriage ceremony and at special events. She would then be required to wear an iron ring when she was at home to signify the binding legal agreement that he owned her.
The Tradition of Diamonds
It was not until centuries later that diamonds began to appear on engagement rings. One of the very first recorded instances of a diamond engagement ring was way back in 1477. It was during that year at the Archduke Maximillian of Austria popped the question to Mary of Burgundy with a ring that was set with flat, thin pieces of diamonds, created in the shape of an M. It was this ring that set the precedent for the noble class in Europe who added even more precious gems to their jewels. We also saw a rise of pose rings during the Middle Ages. These were bands that were engraved with sayings and poems.
But, it all changed when diamonds were discovered in 1880 in South Africa. Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of the infamous DeBeers Mining Company made diamonds famous. Within just a decade, the company controlled 90 percent of diamond production on the globe, turning diamond engagement rings into a sheer advertising campaign.
When the Great Depression came to an end, the company’s advertising agency launched its “diamonds are forever” slogan and set to work encouraging men to spend two month’s salary on a diamond engagement ring. Luckily, you will find a more reasonable price range these days to suit your budget.
By the 1940s, engagement rings were the leading line of jewellery in department stores.
Today, more than 80 percent of brides receive diamond engagement rings, and it is certainly more romantic than the braided grass cords of bygone days.
Keep up with Project Fairytale0