Past, Present and Future of Engagement Rings

History of Engagement Rings - a Look into the Past

You can say that the history of engagement rings dates all the way back to the time of the Ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians believed that circles represented eternity. When they would find their special someone, they would wed, and then exchange tiny, braided bands made of reeds. These circular bands were thought to symbolize an eternity of life and love. The braided rings would then be worn on the fourth finger of the left hand which was said to have a vein running straight to the heart (later found to be true, and was aptly named the Vena amoris, Latin for “vein of love”). Fast forward to the time of the Romans, when men would vow their love to a woman by offering a ring to them that had a tiny key attached to it, showing more of a sign of ownership than love (romance was most certainly dead in these ancient times)! Unlike today, these rings were not flashy, and oftentimes crafted simply out of a piece of iron (a far cry from the engagement rings we know today).

History of Engagement Rings - A Look Into the Past

You can say that the history of engagement rings dates all the way back to the time of the Ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians believed that circles represented eternity. When they would find their special someone, they would wed, and then exchange tiny, braided bands made of reeds. These circular bands were thought to symbolize an eternity of life and love. The braided rings would then be worn on the fourth finger of the left hand which was said to have a vein running straight to the heart (later found to be true, and was aptly named the Vena amoris, Latin for “vein of love”). Fast forward to the time of the Romans, when men would vow their love to a woman by offering a ring to them that had a tiny key attached to it, showing more of a sign of ownership than love (romance was most certainly dead in these ancient times)! Unlike today, these rings were not flashy, and oftentimes crafted simply out of a piece of iron (a far cry from the engagement rings we know today).

The first documented diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy from her lover, Archduke Maximilian of Austria (a beautiful, glitzy ring with diamonds in the shape of Mary’s first initial). This sparked the trend amongst other European aristocrats, which later spiraled to the Victorians who popularized mixing diamonds with other gorgeous gemstones and precious metals and then further adding shiny coatings to the rings. The Victorian’s flashy rings were often crafted in different shapes, like flowers, and were etched with romantic poems and sayings, later nicknamed “Posey rings”.

A Diamond Is Forever

More recently, the 1940’s to be exact, the De Beers brothers famously coined the slogan “A Diamond is Forever” spurring huge sales of diamond engagement rings in the US. This slogan solidified the meaning of a diamond engagement ring; to give someone you love a diamond ring was now a sign of unification, dedication, love and spending an eternity together (just like the ancient Egyptians practiced)! Nowadays, it’s speculated that more than 80 percent of brides receive a diamond engagement ring from their sweetheart. Sure beats the braided reeds back in the time of the ancient Egyptians!  

Current Trends in Engagement Rings - How the Present Marries the Past

Current engagement rings are a far cry from what they once were. Rings of today come in thousands of different shapes, cuts, metals, settings, precious gemstones and carat sizes. Within the last few years, we’ve seen a rise of colorful center stones and bands, as well as an ode to the past with dainty, vintage inspired designs and classic solitaires. Younger couples have been finding that their ideal engagement ring is inherited; an heirloom piece that has been passed down through generations and comes with a personal or sentimental meaning.

As the present meets the past, the popular shapes of engagement rings from the 1900’s are still quite favored in this day and age. We have round and oval-shaped diamonds accounting for more than half of what is sold in the US. Princess and cushion cuts were wildly popular in the 1920’s but are slowly making a comeback onto the hands of lucky lady’s in the 2000’s. In the more present years, we’ve seen a rise in non-traditional bands like rose gold colored, double or twisted shanks, bands with nature-inspired accents like flowers and vines and even stacking bands. Colorful stones have also been gaining more and more popularity, (thanks to celebs like Carrie Underwood and Mariah Carey) like pink and yellow diamonds, making colored diamond engagement rings a hot commodity. For a more wallet-friendly option we’ve also seen diamond alternatives like Moissanite, gray sapphires and white topaz, which all closely resemble the classic white diamond.

The Future of Engagement Rings and Beyond - What Can We Expect?

As we’re inching towards the 2020’s, unique shapes and brilliant colors seem like they’ll become the new norm. A one-of-a-kind, truly unique ring is becoming extremely sought after. We’re moving away from the round diamonds and going for more out-of-the-box shapes like pear, marquise and even sunburst shaped diamonds! Yellow gold bands are surging in popularity, complementing pretty much any type of setting and it works well with diamonds and vibrant colored gemstones. Asymmetrical designs and multiple-stoned rings are also gaining traction in the wedding world, truly showing off the wearers’ personality. While diamonds might be some girls’ best friends, they’re certainly not for everyone. We’re seeing colorful gemstone engagement rings popping up everywhere! From pretty pastels like aquamarine and pink sapphires, to vividly bright emeralds and blue topaz, this is a trend we’re sure is here to stay!

The first documented diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy from her lover, Archduke Maximilian of Austria (a beautiful, glitzy ring with diamonds in the shape of Mary’s first initial). This sparked the trend amongst other European aristocrats, which later spiraled to the Victorians who popularized mixing diamonds with other gorgeous gemstones and precious metals and then further adding shiny coatings to the rings. The Victorian’s flashy rings were often crafted in different shapes, like flowers, and were etched with romantic poems and sayings, later nicknamed “Posey rings”.

A Diamond Is Forever

More recently, the 1940’s to be exact, the De Beers brothers famously coined the slogan “A Diamond is Forever” spurring huge sales of diamond engagement rings in the US. This slogan solidified the meaning of a diamond engagement ring; to give someone you love a diamond ring was now a sign of unification, dedication, love and spending an eternity together (just like the ancient Egyptians practiced)! Nowadays, it’s speculated that more than 80 percent of brides receive a diamond engagement ring from their sweetheart. Sure beats the braided reeds back in the time of the ancient Egyptians!  

Current Trends in Engagement Rings - How the Present Marries the Past

Current engagement rings are a far cry from what they once were. Rings of today come in thousands of different shapes, cuts, metals, settings, precious gemstones and carat sizes. Within the last few years, we’ve seen a rise of colorful center stones and bands, as well as an ode to the past with dainty, vintage inspired designs and classic solitaires. Younger couples have been finding that their ideal engagement ring is inherited; an heirloom piece that has been passed down through generations and comes with a personal or sentimental meaning.

As the present meets the past, the popular shapes of engagement rings from the 1900’s are still quite favored in this day and age. We have round and oval-shaped diamonds accounting for more than half of what is sold in the US. Princess and cushion cuts were wildly popular in the 1920’s but are slowly making a comeback onto the hands of lucky lady’s in the 2000’s. In the more present years, we’ve seen a rise in non-traditional bands like rose gold colored, double or twisted shanks, bands with nature-inspired accents like flowers and vines and even stacking bands. Colorful stones have also been gaining more and more popularity, (thanks to celebs like Carrie Underwood and Mariah Carey) like pink and yellow diamonds, making colored diamond engagement rings a hot commodity. For a more wallet-friendly option we’ve also seen diamond alternatives like Moissanite, gray sapphires and white topaz, which all closely resemble the classic white diamond.          

The Future of Engagement Rings and Beyond - What Can We Expect?

As we’re inching towards the 2020’s, unique shapes and brilliant colors seem like they’ll become the new norm. A one-of-a-kind, truly unique ring is becoming extremely sought after. We’re moving away from the round diamonds and going for more out-of-the-box shapes like pear, marquise and even sunburst shaped diamonds! Yellow gold bands are surging in popularity, complementing pretty much any type of setting and it works well with diamonds and vibrant colored gemstones. Asymmetrical designs and multiple-stoned rings are also gaining traction in the wedding world, truly showing off the wearers’ personality. While diamonds might be some girls’ best friends, they’re certainly not for everyone. We’re seeing colorful gemstone engagement rings popping up everywhere! From pretty pastels like aquamarine and pink sapphires, to vividly bright emeralds and blue topaz, this is a trend we’re sure is here to stay!

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