When Love Rings True: Engagement Rings Tradition Through The Ages.
Engagement and marriage are a commitment. They are a declaration of love of one for another for eternity, symbolized by the engagement ring. It is a statement that says “forever”. And if we look back at the history of the engagement ring, the declaration of eternal love of one to another, we see that this tradition goes back forever.
The origin of engagement rings: Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Roman Tradition
Ancient Egypt. As far back as the ancient Egyptians, people were buried wearing gold or silver wire rings. These rings were found on the traditional ring finger of the left hand. The belief was that the vein in the ring finger ran directly to the heart. In Latin it is known as the vena amoris, “vein of love”. What a lovely romantic belief! Even before then, cavemen were supposed to have tied grass braids around the wrists, ankles and waists of their chosen mates.
In the ancient Roman tradition, a ring made of iron symbolized the pledge between a man and a woman to remain true to each other.
Engagement rings in 13th century
The next recorded evidence of rings being used as a symbol of everlasting love isn’t until the 13th century, when the Bishop of Salisbury declared the bestowing of a ring as a legally binding agreement between a man and his beloved.
The beginning of diamond engagement ring tradition
But the big one is the diamond ring. In 1477 Archduke Maximillian of Austria proposes to Mary of Burgundy with a gold ring set with flat, fine fragments of diamonds. This sparked a trend amongst the nobility to proclaim their love and commitment with a diamond engagement ring.
However, the stunning stones were extremely rare and expensive. Until the discovery of the South African diamond mines in the 1870s, people of lesser means were unable to afford them. Even at that time, though, the diamond was not as popular as today and the ring would consist of a different gem that was more affordable such as a pearl or sapphire.
De Beers impact on diamond engagement ring tradition
The ring set with a diamond was not the standard object of commitment until a huge marketing campaign of the South African De Beers diamond company took place in the mid 20th century.
Since then, the diamond ring has become a symbol of great value and prominence, featuring as the stone of desire in movies (Titanic, Pink Panther), capturing the imagination in literature and quoted by the greats, and creating alluring themes in music (Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend).
It has become the ultimate symbol of the beauty, wholeness, and timelessness of love. It is a promise of commitment, reflecting and conveying the durability and permanence of devotion, respect and admiration.
So when the time is right, lean back, relax, and reflect. Think of the eternal stone, deeply embedded in the round ring of eternity. The de Beers diamond company was not mistaken when they came up with the slogan, “A Diamond is Forever”. It stands testimony to the beautiful tradition of the history of I love you. It adds substance to the bond of the wedding band. It is one of the most enduring slogans of all times, inspired by your love.