The history of engagement rings

An engagement ring is indicating that the person wearing it is engaged to be married.

For centuries, diamonds have been widely regarded as the universal symbol of eternal love and commitment. But have you ever wondered how we began our fascination with diamonds and engagement rings.

Legend has it that the tradition began with one enterprising archduke. The first well-documented use of a diamond ring to signify engagement was by the Archduke Maximilian of Austria in the imperial court of Vienna in 1477, upon his betrothal to Mary of Burgundy.

Betrothal rings were used during Roman times but were not generally revived in the Western world until the 13th century. Over the next few centuries, giving diamond engagement rings was largely restricted to only the wealthiest and noblest of families.

This changed in the 1870s when several diamond mines were discovered in South Africa, which greatly increased the availability and affordability of diamonds to the general public.

Cecil Rhodes, who arrived in South Africa in 1873, founded the DeBeers Mining Company with other investors. Within the decade, DeBeers began to control 90% of the world’s diamond production. According to a recent DeBeers study, four out of five brides receive diamond engagement rings.

Engagement rings did not become standard in the West until the end of the 19th century, and diamond rings didn’t become common until the 1930s.

The friendly retailers in Hatton Garden can help you find the perfect diamond ring so that you can keep up the tradition. You will find a lively cluster of jewellery retailers in the diamond quarter of London thus ensuring a competitive price for your precious stone.


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