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Sweeping love confessions and emotional marriage proposals have long been staples of mainstream romantic media. Even if you are not a hopeless romantic, something about a person getting down on one knee to ask for eternity with their true love can warm even the coldest of hearts.
With the dawn of social media, the tradition of presenting a sparkling engagement ring with a marriage proposal seems to be more popular than ever. No engagement announcement is complete without a cheeky closeup of the sparkling gems chosen by the person who proposed.
Engagement rings have become hugely emblematic, now considered one of the most important symbols of a long-lasting relationship—but have you ever wondered why they became so important?
In this article, we discuss the long history of engagement rings and how they evolved into such a game-changing figure in romantic relationships.
What Is the Significance of an Engagement Ring?
To begin discussing the significance of engagement rings, it’s important to look back at their long history.
Since the dawn of time, humans have been exchanging tokens to signal love and commitment. For this reason, jewelry scholars have struggled to truly pinpoint the origin of rings being exchanged explicitly to mark a betrothed couple.
Many agree that the tradition began with the Ancient Romans when it became a tradition for brides-to-be to wear rings that signified mutual love or a business agreement for marriage. In 860, Pope Nicholas I described Christian tradition wherein men declared their engagement with a ring of faith and a dowry for the bride’s family.
This tradition spread among European nobles like wildfire—embellished and extravagant gold rings were the norm for betrothed couples. The 1400s marked the first time diamonds were used in an engagement ring when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a ring with diamonds arranged in the letter M.
After a clever marketing campaign by DeBeers in the late 1940s, diamond engagement rings became the most popular symbol of a lifelong commitment. After all, “diamonds are forever.”
Today, every element of an engagement ring is meant to be an irrefutable declaration of love and intention. The circular band represents eternity and completion. The choice of gemstone, setting, engraving, prong, and overall design can be incredibly personal, all describing the relationship of the betrothed couple.
Besides wedding rings, an engagement ring is the most significant, permanent manifestation of love.
Is an Engagement Ring More Important Than a Wedding Ring?
Your wedding ring is the most important ring you will ever wear. It is steeped in symbolism and significance because you receive it when you exchange vows with your significant other during the wedding ceremony. For the rest of your marriage, your wedding rings are tangible proof of your lifelong commitment.
In contrast, an engagement ring is usually only worn by the person proposed to. Traditionally, it is a gift from one person to another to ask for their hand in marriage.
Engagement rings and wedding rings serve entirely different functions, so their importance cannot really be compared.
The next question is, do you need both a wedding ring and an engagement ring? The answer, of course, entirely depends on the couple’s beliefs, preferences, and personal tastes.
There’s nothing wrong with eschewing the tradition of getting both, just as people can’t be blamed for wearing clear markers of their commitment every single day.
Some couples split the difference, in that neither of them has an engagement ring, but they still opt to exchange wedding rings during their vows to symbolize their equal partnership. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do.
What Happens to the Engagement Ring After the Wedding?
When betrothed couples get married, their status is better represented by a wedding ring. But this doesn’t mean that the engagement ring loses its significance. It is still an important symbol of commitment, a commemoration of the moment you decided to stay together forever.
Two rings may be unwieldy for one person to wear, and that’s perfectly alright. But if you want to wear both rings at once, you can stack the engagement ring on top of your wedding ring.
If you want to distribute the burden, you can wear your engagement ring on your right-hand finger and your wedding ring on your left or vice versa.
You can wear both rings every day, or choose just to wear your wedding ring most days. Again, there is no one perfect answer—do what you’re comfortable with and what’s most practical.
Do You Wear Your Engagement Ring on Your Wedding Day?
The exchanging of vows on your wedding day is one of the most important moments in your relationship. It is the highlight of the entire ceremony, and nothing should distract from it.
This is why your ring finger should be empty on the big day, to truly emphasize the gravity of the wedding ring being placed there.
You can wear your engagement ring on your right hand or keep it locked away for the day. You can stack it on top of your wedding ring the day after or during the reception.
Do You Wear Your Engagement Ring Every Day?
Your engagement ring is a very important piece of jewelry, but there are times when it isn’t practical to wear it. If you’re working out, cooking, cleaning, hiking, swimming, or sleeping, it’s best to keep it in a safe place. Otherwise, you can wear your ring as much as you want!
Why Buy Engagement Rings at Othergems.com?
If you’re looking for an engagement ring, Othergems.com should be your go-to site to turn your dreams into reality. We treat each diamond with full attention and dedicated care, and you can trust that we will only deliver the very best quality.
One of our top priorities is providing top-notch customer service. We believe that an integral part of being a jeweler is communication and attentiveness towards our clients.
We offer fully insured, free international shipping for ready-made and custom pieces alike. Reach out to us today!