The History of Engagement Rings
Historians believed this tradition started in Roman Times. Wives would wear keys attached to rings to indicate their husband’s ownership.
In the 14th century, diamonds began to be polished and cut. The polish to give it some shine and the cut was a point cut which followed the natural shape of the diamond. Diamonds were incredibly rare and were worn solely by kings and queens.
It was during the 15th century that it was found out diamonds could be cut by their own dust! In 1477, Archduke Maximilian of Austria had the very first diamond ring made for Mary of Burgundy, striking a trend for diamond engagement rings.
In the 16th century, rose cuts and transition cuts became popular. Until that point, most of the mining was done in India.
In the 17th century, the popularity of cushion cuts rose- this cut originated in Brazil. Diamonds were still rare and only worn by aristocracy.
In the 1800’s the invention of a machine enabled diamonds to be cut into a perfectly round shape.
The Victorians would mix diamonds with different jewels, precious metals and enamels. They were often in the shape of flowers which earned the name ‘posy rings’.
In the 1920’s the Asscher cut gained popularity, and was one of the very first patented diamond cuts in the world.
Emerald cuts were standardised in the 1940’s, descending from the step cut.
In 1947, De Beers created the slogan: ‘a diamond is forever’ highlighting the durability of diamond and its suitability as a symbol of enduring love. This campaign helped to increase sales of diamond rings and their popularity has endured to this day.