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The History of Engagement Rings: From Early Ages to Today - Silveright

The History of Engagement Rings: From Early Ages to Today

Traditionally, the Egyptians symbolized rings like a circle of eternity, as something that has no beginning or an end. Very romantic. But the studies by the gemological institute of America (GIA) show that the ancient Roman women wore rings made from either ivory, flint, bone, iron, or copper to signify “a business contract or to affirm mutual love and obedience.” In other words, a mark of ownership. Not very romantic now?

Archaeologists have found that during the reign of Pompeii, ivory was replaced by gold and silver. Pope Nicholas I from Rome declared that the engagement rings made from gold will represent a man’s intent to marry, in the year 850. Since then, the material was popular for betrothal rings at that time.


The Rise of Diamonds

The first-ever known diamond ring was given by the archduke Maximilian of Austria to his to-be wife, mary of burgundy. Howsoever, he wasn’t a trendsetter, as the diamonds didn’t become popular until the year 1947. The Victorian people did use diamonds in an engagement ring, but along with other gemstones, enamel, and precious metal, the Edwardian followed through the tradition.

It was in the year 1947, when a British company, de beers, launched their slogan, “a diamond is forever.” They commercialized the diamond in such a way, that it was etched in the mind of people that diamonds symbolize that marriage is forever. Within 3 years, the sale of diamond rings had gone up to 50%.


The New Era

In the year 1982, the coloured stone engagement rings made a comeback, when the iconic fashionista, princess Diana picked her sapphire and diamond cluster ring from a Gerrard catalog. The diamond rings from time to time do make a comeback, like in 2002, when ben Affleck proposed Jennifer Lopez with pink Harry Winston diamond, or Paris Hilton’s famous canary diamond, the coloured stones still outlasted them.

Ryan Reynolds presented Blake lively with a light pink oval diamond in a rose gold material. Katy Perry received a unique ruby in a floral halo by Orlando bloom. Even Ariana Grande broke from the tradition in the December of 2020, when she announced her engagement with now-husband, Dalton Gomez, with a pearl and diamond bauble.

In recent decades, the rings are worn by both individuals and have now become a tradition in most parts of the world. It has now evolved as a statement of individuality and partnership from that of ownership and obedience.