How Did Diamond Engagement Rings Come to Symbolize Love and Commitment?

Diamond Engagement Rings Come to Symbolize Love and Commitment

Diamonds may be forever but they haven’t always been used for engagement rings to symbolize love and commitment. Engagement rings dating back to ancient times have been made of many different materials, including iron, gold, silver, ivory, and even hemp and reeds.

It was actually in the 1930s and ‘40s that diamonds became associated with Hollywood glamor, and a symbol of everlasting love. Their continuing value and use for engagement rings derives from their innate qualities of clarity, light and strength.

Engagement rings through the ages

Early engagement rings in Roman times were commonly made of iron and symbolized possession. Rings were often worn to symbolize commercial transactions, and engagement rings represented the husband’s possession. Gold rings representing the wealth of the husband were worn by women outside the home.

The ancient Egyptians were somewhat more romantic and believed that the engagement ring represented the endless circle of love between a couple. Their rings, made of woven hemp or reeds, were worn on the fourth finger of the left hand, which has come to be called the ring finger.

However, in medieval and Renaissance Europe, engagement rings continued to signify possession and wealth rather than eternal love. It wasn’t until the reign of queen Victoria in England that a betrothal ring was imbued with sentimentality. The Victorians prized heavily decorated and carved rings with precious stones.

From the 1860s onwards, diamonds from South Africa began to be seen in European jewelry making. The Tiffany setting was first introduced in 1886 in New York, and became the model for modern engagement rings.

A girl’s best friend

It wasn’t until the 1940s that diamonds acquired their Hollywood sheen. A concerted campaign from De Beers, the South African mining company, coined the famous phrase “diamonds are forever”, linking diamonds and eternal love. Associated with the glamor of Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Coco Chanel, Aretha Franklin and Jackie KenendyOnasis, diamonds became the gold standard, so to speak, for engagement rings.

Diamonds have continued to be associated with love and commitment, but the 2000s have seen a trend of millennials choosing different precious stones like sapphires and emeralds to declare their love. To some extent, this has been due to awareness of conflict diamonds and their problematic origins.

However, couples who prefer a traditional engagement ring now have another choice, which is a lab-made diamond engagement ring. Lab-made diamonds have the same structure, clarity and sparkle as diamonds from the mines, but the big difference is that they are ethically sourced. Also, they avoid causing the kind of environmental harm that results from diamond mining.

From here to eternity

The value of diamonds is much more than the product of a clever marketing campaign.Their value, like gold, derives from the purity and symmetry of the molecular structure, which creates their qualities of clarity, sparkle and indestructibility. These symbolize everything that a couple on the brink of a new life together hope for, which is why diamond rings are not likely to go out of fashion any time soon.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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