A diamond engagement ring is a widely accepted tradition in western countries to celebrate commitment as two individuals prepare to enter into a marriage. This tradition has a long, yet very interesting history to become what it is today.
The history of engagement rings can be accurately traced back to ancient times to the Roman Era. During this time, the Romans believed that the ring finger on the left hand had a vein that lead straight to the heart. This started the tradition of giving a betrothal ring to a bride-to-be to show affection, but the ring did not always mean a rite to marriage. The rings given were very plain. The bride-to-be was given a gold ring to wear in public and an iron ring to wear around the house while performing various household duties.
During the time of the Middle Ages, these rings began to be decorated with sapphires and rubies. While the ring is still relatively simple, these precious stones added a new dimension that would lead to the diamond engagement ring as we know it today. Pope Innocent III declared a mandatory waiting period between engagement and a wedding ceremony during the Middle Ages. These rings became an even more important role to signify commitment during the process.
The first well-documented use of a diamond engagement ring occurred in 1477 as the Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented his marriage proposal to Mary of Burgundy. This occurrence spurred on other royal and elite citizens to propose with a diamond, as diamonds were rare and signified wealth, strength, and fortitude. The word diamond comes from the Greek word, adamas, which means “unbreakable” and “unconquerable.”
The DeBeers Company opened up diamond mines in Africa, and diamonds began to become more accessible. During the early 1900’s the diamond market took a big hit as demand decreased around the time of WWI and the Great Depression. To counter the decrease in demand, the DeBeers Company created a powerful marketing campaign showcasing celebrities wearing diamonds, and diamond sales increased by over 50% within a three year span.
These aggressive, yet wildly successful marketing campaigns were a major contributor to carrying on the tradition of giving a diamond engagement ring. The diamond engagement ring is now recognized around the world as being a symbol of commitment, love, and marriage. Gold & Silver of Louisiana buys and sells diamond engagement rings in Mandeville, Covington, and St. Tammany Parish.