Marriage often begins with a proposal, and is usually accompanied by a diamond ring that represents the promise to spend the rest of each other’s lives together. Sometimes the proposal involves complex planning, such as fireworks or hiding the ring inside dessert. While everyone has a different experience, proposals are rooted in history and tradition.
A Symbol of Eternity
There are many possible origins of the engagement ring.
Ancient Egyptians often wore lots of jewellery, and each piece signified a specific meaning. They believed that the circle was a symbol of eternity, and would exchange rings with each other as a sign of love and loyalty.
In Greece, they would often gift rings with an image of Eros on it to their lovers. Eros was a cupid-like god, who created feelings of love among people, and represented procreation.
Ancient Roman men would gift their brides with rings made of iron to symbolize a lasting and strong relationship. Eventually, the Romans began to carve important symbols, or even the faces of the couple in the rings.
The first recorded diamond engagement ring was used in 1477. Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with a ring that had diamonds in the shape of an “M.” This gesture opened the door for European Aristocrats to add more embellishments to their betrothal rings as well.
After the discovery of the first diamond mine, and the famous marketing by DeBeers that a “diamond is forever,” diamond engagement rings are now a staple for modern couples.
Ring Trends Through the Ages
The once simple engagement ring became more intricate with the advancement of goldsmith techniques in the 15th century.
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, multiple bands with diamonds began to be used to make the engagement ring more prominent.
Today, people are creating their own trends. Some women are even choosing to use gemstones instead of diamonds. The kind of metal used also varies. Where yellow gold was the standard in ancient times, the use of platinum or various colours of gold are the most common choices today.
Why Is There A Specific Ring Finger?
Why not the index finger or the left hand? You may not have given it a second thought, but there is a story behind why the engagement ring and wedding bands are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand.
Historically, rings have been worn on every finger on both hands. However, it was the Ancient Egyptians who believed there was a vein in the fourth finger of the left hand that ran directly to the heart. By placing your wedding ring on this vein, you were able to create that emotional connection to the ring. It was also a clear sign that you belonged to someone.
Here at Alberta Diamond Exchange, we can help you find the perfect ring to fit your style and personality. From diamonds to coloured stones, vintage, classic, or modern styles, your ring will capture more than just that moment of initial love. It will showcase your love for eternity.