A classic symbol of love and commitment today, engagement rings have gone a long way from their debut in Ancient Rome, when women wore the first bone and flint rings. In fact, the history of an engagement ring may actually surprise you.
Finding someone you want to spend your entire life with is a truly wonderful thing. But before you head out to the best San Diego Jewelry store, wouldn’t you want to know more about the history and significance of engagement rings?
Keep reading to discover fascinating facts about engagement rings and their history!
Where do engagement rings come from?
The tradition of engagement rings can be traced back all the way to Ancient Rome when women started wearing first rings made from flint and bone, and then from copper, silver, and gold in the 2nd century CE. The rings were worn as a sign of love and obedience, but also as proof of a business contract.
According to the GIA, the Gemological Institute of America, gold betrothal rings were popular in Pompeii in 79 CE. Another interesting fact is that Romans often chose to wear an iron ring while at home, and a gold one in public.
When engagement rings became official
It was centuries later that engagement rings finally became an official custom. In 850, Pope Nicholas I proclaimed that engagement rings signified the intent of a man to marry. He chose gold as standard material for the ring due to the metal’s popularity at the time.
But when did diamonds enter the picture? Actually, one of the first documented uses of a diamond engagement ring occurred in the year 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria commissioned a ring with a long and narrow diamond in the shape of the letter “M” to propose to Mary of Burgundy.
When did engagement rings become popular?
It took centuries for diamond engagement rings to become truly popular after Archduke Maximilian proposed with his unique ring. It was only in the 1930s that diamonds started becoming popular in the United States. It all began in 1947 when De Beers, a British corporation that specializes in mining diamonds, launched an ad campaign that featured Hollywood stars and the now-famous slogan, a diamond is forever.
Since De Beers kickstarted the diamond ring craze, engagement ring traditions only kept evolving. Modern brides still adore diamonds but have also broadened their preferences to include more extravagant and exotic diamond ring options with colored gemstones and unusual metals. What’s more, the traditions are changing for men too – many grooms nowadays choose to wear “man-gagement” rings alongside their brides.
Traditions keep on morphing
Tradition will always have its place when it comes to engagement rings. However, it’s always fun to add something new to the mix every once in a while. Nowadays, brides often opt to wear their engagement ring on the right hand, as opposed to the tradition of wearing it on the fourth finger of the left hand. Also, many women choose to combine their engagement ring and their wedding band into one custom piece.
Stop by our incredible San Diego jewelry store!
With such a rich history, engagement rings definitely have a very special meaning. That is why we at Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers work so hard to help you find the perfect design for the love of your life.
Our fantastic jewelry store, located near Downtown San Diego, boasts a sizeable selection of luxe engagement rings of all shapes and sizes. Visit us today!