Why Do Men Give a Diamond Engagement Ring?

December 8, 2018

Gleim the Jeweler Art Deco Ring
Art Deco ring from Gleim the Jeweler.

A man presents his future wife with a diamond engagement ring upon acceptance of his marriage proposal. Anthropologists believe this tradition originated from a Roman custom in which wives wore rings attached to small keys, indicating their husbands' ownership.

In 1477, Archduke Maximillian of Austria commissioned the very first diamond engagement ring in recorded history for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy. This started a trend for diamond engagement rings among European aristocracy and nobility.

The sentimental Victorians popularized ornate engagement ring designs that mixed diamonds with other gemstones, precious metals and enamels. Often these rings were crafted in the shapes of flowers and were dubbed “posey rings.” Diamond rings crafted during the Edwardian era continued the tradition of pairing diamonds with other jewels, commonly mounted in filigree settings.

Goldstein Diamonds
Estate Antique from Goldstein Diamonds.

In 1947, De Beers launched its now classic tag line, "A Diamond is Forever." This campaign spurred even more diamond engagement rings. The hardness and durability of a diamond conveyed the meaning in the American psyche that marriage is forever. A diamond's purity and sparkle have now become symbols of the depth of a man's commitment to the woman he loves in practically all corners of the world.The opening of the DeBeers mines in Africa made diamonds more accessible. In the 1930s, when demand for diamond rings declined in the U.S. during hard economic times, the De Beers Company began an aggressive marketing campaign using photographs of glamorous movie stars draped in diamonds. Within three years, the sales of diamonds had increased by 50 percent.

Diamond engagement rings still signify the celebration of a union and cherished memory, though more cuts make more styles an easy option for diamond lovers.

The History of Popular Cuts

Over the years, the most popular cut for diamond engagement rings has always been the round brilliant, consisting of 58 facets that divide the stone into a top and bottom half.  The round brilliant cut diamond is the only diamond shape that is timeless.  All other shapes such as the cushion cut, the princess cut, the emerald cut and the oval cut are subject to changing fashions.  While fashions in the diamond world don't change nearly as rapidly as in the clothing world, diamond shape tastes do change over time.  So if you want a diamond that will never be dated; go with a round brilliant cut diamond.  Then her diamond truly will be forever..

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