When we think of engagement rings, we think diamonds. But why are diamonds the most popular choice for engagement rings? We did some research to find out.
The Meaning Of Diamonds
Other than being sparkly and eye-catchingly beautiful, diamonds do have some historical meanings. In Greek mythology, diamonds were thought to be ‘unconquerable’. They are used on the gates to the underworld and also appear in Chronos’ sword and in Prometheus’ ever-binding chains.
Through the years these beliefs have been adapted, and now diamonds are associated with strength, power, wealth and safety as well as romance.
The First Diamond Engagement Ring
The first engagement ring to feature diamonds was given to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. It was commissioned by Archduke Maximillian or Austria, and had pieces of diamond set in the shape of an ‘M’. At this time diamonds weren’t surrounded with meanings of love and eternity, but were used more as a show of status and wealth, fit for a duchess.
As precious gems became more accessible to the wider public, more elaborate jewellery became popular. In the Victorian period it was commonplace to have an engagement ring with mixed gem stones, set in an elaborate or ornate way. These rings were known as posy rings due to their popular flower like shape.
A Diamond Is Forever
In 1947, the slogan ‘A diamond is forever’ started spreading its way through advertising campaigns. Coupled with celebrity endorsement, this single marketing strategy is why diamonds became, and stayed, the most popular choice for engagement rings.
De Beers is a diamond mining company and in 1947 worked with they N W Ayer advertising company to come up with this slogan. It’s now recognised as one of the greatest advertising slogans of the 20th century. The message was meant to convey a feeling of trust, love and eternity. By giving your partner a diamond you were promising to be with them, and in love, forever. Diamond engagement rings worn by celebrities were also used to create the idea of the perfect fairy tale proposal. Within a few years, diamonds were the most popular, and expected choice for engagement rings.
A diamond that is ‘forever’ also means it isn’t resold. As time has gone on engagement rings and diamond jewellery has been passed down through generations. These diamonds are re-used and re-set into new pieces. In some families it’s even become a tradition to propose with a particular diamond.
No matter where diamond rings came from, they remain the most popular choice for engagement rings. They’re strong, beautiful and sparkly. What more could you ask for?
For more engagement ring advice, take a look at our How To Choose The Perfect Engagement Ring post.