“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend…” “Diamonds are forever…” “Shine bright like a diamond…” *presents themselves with engagement ring.
For years we’ve been told that the gift of a diamond is the ultimate symbol of love – which is why the gesture of “will you marry me?” is best presented with a diamond engagement ring. Very few questions are asked about why this sparkling gift is given, but when you look into it, it’s quite simple…
The story of engagement rings
In most cultures, engagement rings have been considered very important as symbols of love for centuries. Whilst diamond rings can be traced back to Egyptian times, the first documented diamond engagement ring was given in 1477 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria to Mary of Burgundy. It was a simple ring – shaped like the letter M and set with diamonds but it was this ring that seemed to start a trend that has lasted to the modern day.
Why is everyone obsessed with diamond engagement rings?
But why a diamond? When diamonds were first discovered they were a fascinating find. The rough gems were an anomaly to anything that had been mined before and it was only once they have been cut and polished that people realised their life and sparkle was definitely something special and unlike anything previously seen.
A diamond is formed over billions of years deep under the earth. Take that in for a moment… Billions of years. This means that the diamonds we wear in rings and other jewellery are almost as old as the Earth itself. It is this symbol of time and change, combined with the beauty of the stone that justifies its use to bring together two people for life ever after.
The distinctive thing about a diamond is that no two are identical – so each engagement ring although similar in design, will always be different, making it as unique and special as its intended wearer. Something that no doubt contributes to allure of these precious stones.
Over the last century, the types of engagement rings given have changed in popularity as style trends and celebrity influence has assisted the market. We’ve seen yellow gold – which was always deemed the most classic and traditional fall in popularity but contemporary metals like platinum and rose gold have seen an influx in choice. However, the custom of gifting of an engagement ring has continued with diamonds being the stone of choice for 80% of all rings given.
Gemstones like sapphires have seen an increased popularity since the engagement and subsequent marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. We’ve also seen synthetic diamonds attempt to enter the engagement ring market but they have failed to receive a reception like their natural counterparts.
While designs are bound to continue changing as fashions and styles come and go, one thing is for certain – a diamond will always be forever.