History of Diamond Engagement Rings

History of Diamond Engagement Rings - dazzlingrock.com

At times in memorial, couples have been exchanging engagement rings to mark their love for each other. The idea of presenting rings is quite an old one. But there are many who are still in the dark with regards to the choice of diamonds as the stone set in them. This sign of betrothal has come into being after traversing a long way.

Here, we are about to take a closer look at how diamond engagement rings became so popular, as they are now.


In the Roman period, couples getting engaged swapped modest iron betrothal rings; however, they switched to gold in the later periods. The popularity of rings then went through a long period of a lull; say about hundreds of years before surfacing again. It was only in the 12th century, after Pope Innocent III had laid down some novel regulations for weddings, that rings made a comeback.

According to the new ground rules set by him, all weddings had to take place in a church, in the presence of a priest, and the bride had to be presented with a ring. Also, couples had to go through a waiting period, now known as the engagement period that separated their betrothal from marriage.

In time, this led to European aristocrats giving fancy and expensive engagement rings to their beloved for facilitating the countdown until their wedding.


If you are thinking that diamond engagement rings had made their presence in those days, then do take a pause. They weren’t quite as staple as wedding rings in those times, unlike what they are now.

There were other traditional customs that kept on competing with what was supposed to go onto the bride-to-be’s finger.

In England, once, there existed a strange practice wherein the couple had to break a piece of silver or gold and keep one half with each partner. Then, both would have to drink some wine and were proclaimed as being engaged.

As late as 19th century, there were some women in America who received a thimble as a sign of their engagement. After marriage, they had to cut off the bottom side of the thimble and wear the same as a ring.


Now, diamond engagement rings are the most sought-after of all rings and are complementing diamond wedding rings in design and style, and in more ways than one. But back then, it took a long time for them to enter the scene.

So, even though engagement rings of different kinds were doing the rounds, the ones made with diamonds were added to the party after centuries. With diamonds being a rare commodity in the world market, and also very expensive, there were very few couples who could lay their hands on the same.

The rock given to Mary of Burgundy, by Archduke Maximilian of Austria, in 1477, serves to be an early exception.

Despite this very high profile ring making waves, things remained pretty quiet on the diamond studded engagement ring scene, until the late 19th century.


In the 1870s, South African miners began finding huge veins of diamonds, and this stone started flooding global markets.

From being a scarce commodity, suddenly, diamonds started making their appearance in different circles, the ones frequented by those in the middle-income group too. A plan was hurriedly devised to alleviate the concerns of miners desiring to get more dollars for this increasingly common gem that was once so precious.

In 1888, major South African mines announced their merger to create De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. The cartel thus created effectively controlled the flow of rare diamonds from South Africa into world markets.

Now, as diamonds became more valuable and scarcer once again, their popularity as the first choice for gems on wedding and engagement rings started rising again.


Well, the illusion cast by the cartel mentioned above did make diamonds a coveted gem to have. But then, how did these stones become an essential part of the entire marriage process?

For this, some experts would blame De Beers too. Today, even though newly engaged couples think of high-quality diamond engagement rings as being part of a time-honored tradition, it’s but the end result of a marketing plan rolled out in the 1930s, by De Beers.

In 1938, there was a recession in the diamond industry. The cartel had to tap new markets for jumpstarting its revenues. Then began a spate of ad campaigns that lured Americans and made them feel a desperate need for diamonds.

This multi-pronged attack got the attention of Hollywood’s biggest stars and encouraged fashion designers to place diamond rings as an upcoming trend.

The result: In the three years that followed, American diamond sales rocketed by a whopping 50 percent plus!

“A Diamond is Forever,”

this perfect slogan was penned by Frances Gerety for De Beers in 1947. It still being used even 70 years later.

These words described a diamond’s significance as an eternal symbol of love. Thereby making it the first choice for engagement rings. Now, more and more couples are sporting these rocks, and with utmost pride.


The journey of diamonds may continue, but rings made with this rock have certainly come of age. Now, marriage and engagement vows are incomplete without exchange of diamonds on the couple’s fingers. Are you planning to get engaged or married? Well, these sparkling stones are the right way to go.

Invest in diamond rings today – you will not disappoint!

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