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The tradition of giving an engagement ring as a symbol of betrothal goes back to ancient Roman times. Surprisingly, it had more to do with business than romance. Back then, a woman wore a ring to signify that she was bound in contract with her master, or a husband who had ownership over her.
They used to be made of bone, flint, ivory, copper, and iron. Thankfully, this evolved into something more romantic and beautiful. Today, engagement rings are symbols of mutual love, commitment, and devotion.
When Did Diamond Engagement Rings Start?
Engagement rings have become coveted tokens of love and luxury. This is largely due to Archduke Maximillian of Austria who presented the first diamond engagement ring in recorded history to Mary of Burgundy in 1477.
Since then, European nobility and aristocracy have embraced the practice and the rest is history.
In the 1500s, gimmel rings became popular. This ring design consisted of two to three hoops worn separately by the man and woman during betrothal. The hoops would then be symbolically unified during the wedding ceremony and be worn by the bride.
When Did Engagement Rings Start in America?
Engagement rings reached the New World in the 1840s during the Edwardian Era. Consistent with the elaborate designs associated with the age and the time before it, early engagement rings in America featured complex metalwork designs.
They had diamonds as the center stone and many other smaller colored stones around it along with the band. The lavish, lace-like design had a vintage, aristocratic feel. These rings usually featured European cut diamonds from the turn of the century until the early 1900s.
The 1920s saw the advent of the art deco design which also became a trend in engagement rings, bumping off the ornate Edwardian era ring design. Other diamond cuts, settings, and patterns were introduced in the following decades.
Later, in the 1953, GIA introduced the world to the grading system known as the 4Cs.
“A Diamond Is Forever”
When the Great Depression happened in the 1930s, it caused a decline in diamond purchases. Diamond company De Beers responded by rebranding the diamond as the stone for engagement rings to revive the public’s interest.
The popularity of diamonds in engagement rings returned with De Beers’ massive 1984 campaign that used the slogan “a diamond is forever” — a fitting description given the fact that diamonds are the hardest and most durable natural substances on Earth.
It was a marketing success that led to the general social psyche embracing the idea and relating it to what marriage should be — an enduring, shining union of two souls.
Many A-list Hollywood celebrities were seen bedecked in diamonds, flooding films and television ads. Diamonds became famous again and were coveted by women and soon-to-be brides worldwide. It became popular even among the middle class and the demand for it surged.
Previously, only 10% of engagement rings featured diamonds. After the successful De Beers campaign, that statistic rose to 90%, making the diamond more popular and in demand than ever.
Classic Elegance and Current Expressions
From royalty to celebrities, engagement rings with stunning diamonds continue to make headlines and their classic appeal transcends time. From the ornate filigree setting rings of the Victorian and Edwardian eras to the minimalist bands and prong trends, the diamond engagement ring has come a long way.
Othergems: A Tradition Excellence and Quality
Diamond engagement rings rely on diamond artisans who combine creativity with modern techniques. Today, you can enjoy a wide variety of choices from Othergems that include natural and lab-grown diamonds in exquisite designs.
An Othergems diamond engagement ring comes with the assurance that the stone is GIA-graded for authenticity.
After over three decades in the industry, we continue to honor our legacy of quality diamonds and jewelry. We strive to make timeless and valuable pieces more accessible and affordable to more people.
We understand the big milestones that our jewelry is used for. We thus endeavor to make them worthy of auspicious occasions and ensure that they can be enjoyed for a long, long time.
Contact us and we will assist you with your selection. We can even help you with custom-designed jewelry. Let us help you find the perfect diamond ring for your engagement or other special occasions.