Have you ever wondered where the tradition of handing out engagement rings first started? People have been exchanging engagement rings for centuries, but you may be surprised to learn that silver and diamonds were not popular choices until recently. In fact, diamonds weren’t even used until centuries after the first engagement rings were exchanged in ancient times. To learn where it all started, here’s a glimpse into the history of engagement rings below.
It All Started in Egypt
The first exchanging of rings dates back to ancient Egypt. The Egyptians exchanged rings made of braided reels to consummate the formal agreement between one another. Shaped in a circle, the Egyptians saw the ring as a symbol of eternity during that time. And just like today, they also wore the ring on the fourth finger of their left hand. Many believe this particular finger was chosen because it has a vein that connects directly to the heart.
Love vs. Ownership
Centuries later, the Romans started issuing engagement rings as a sign of the binding agreement between the wife and the husband. Instead of offering the ring intimately on one knee, the ring was presented during a betrothal ceremony that involved families on both sides, so there wasn’t much romance involved during this process. And unlike today, the engagement ring was simply a mark of ownership and obedience, not necessarily of love. It was essentially provided as a security deposit as opposed to giving gifts or money. The material used for the ring was also simple, normally made from iron, but it was not uncommon to see gold, ivory, and copper combined with iron which was worn only at home and among wealthier classes.
A Diamond is Forever
Diamonds were not used on engagement rings until the late 1400s. In fact, the first record of a diamond being worn on a ring was in 1477 when the Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy. The ring bore a design of diamonds in the shape of an ‘M’ which set a precedent for engagement rings thereafter. Soon enough, European elites started catching on to this type of design and followed suit, setting more gemstones and diamonds into their wedding rings and it became a popular growing trend. It wasn’t until the 1940s when diamonds were readily mined in South Africa, that DeBeers Mining Company started advertising diamonds as the true staple feature in engagement rings. “A Diamond is Forever” slogan that was launched during that time is still used and admired today.
Today’s Engagement Trends
Many things have changed over the years, but the foundation of engagement rings has remained quite the same. Simple diamond rings are still commonly seen and worn around the fourth left finger, but today, many young lovers are opting for new, trendier designs and swapping out diamonds for other gemstones. With so many unique designs and varieties available, couples can find all sorts of unique designs and personalized options that speak directly to their relationship and their commitment to each other.
Looking for a unique engagement ring designed for your special someone? Allow us to help create the perfect one at Joy Creations. We’ve been designing beautiful and personalized rings for couples that truly represent their special and unique connection, and we can do the same for you! Contact us today at Joy Creations in Ottawa to book an appointment with our team. We can discuss your needs, vision and budget to craft something truly special and one of a kind.