I thought this was an interesting articled about diamond rings and other bridal jewelry, and got permission to use it.
The history of diamonds and marriage goes back all the way to 1477. At that time, the Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring in anticipation of their wedding on the following day. Little did the Archduke know that his gesture of love would be wildly popular around the globe for centuries to come.
Maximilian’s gift may be the first recorded diamond given for betrothal, however the exchange of wedding rings dates back much further. The ancient Romans presented each other with iron bands to signify marriage. Iron changed to gold in 2000 AD . Couples in the Roman Empire were the first to place betrothal, or ‘truth’ rings on the fourth finger of the left hand; believing that a vein in that finger, the ‘vena amoris’, runs directly to the heart.
In the Middle Ages, a nobleman would keep a betrothal ring suspended from the band of his hat, ready to give to a chosen maiden . Wedding rings started to be set with colored gemstones. ‘Posy Rings,’ inscribed inside with poems or love messages, were a Middle Age invention and continued to be in demand through Victorian times. Inscriptions inside wedding bands endure to this day.
The choice of the diamond to symbolize unceasing devotion was engendered by affluent people like Archduke Maximilian during the Renaissance, but the only known diamonds came from India, and the common man didn’t have access to such wealth. Metal rings continued to be popular and evolve. The gimmel, made of interlocking rings joined by a pivot to slide together into one, was often exchanged between lovers about to separate for long periods of time. The fede, or faith ring, was a gimmel with the hoops ending in clasped hands. This style is still seen in modern claddegh rings. Jewish wedding ceremonies of the period featured rings of elaborate detail, often with bezels worked in the shape of a synagogue or Solomon’s Temple.
Detailed engraving and the use of designs such as hearts occurred during the Romantic era of the 17th and 18th centuries. Crosses, stars, leaves and branches were all in style and wealthy Europeans showed an admiration for diamonds and rubies, symbolizing eternity and love. The discovery of diamonds in Brazil increased the supply of these precious stones in Europe and as they became more available rings grew more elaborate, set in fleur-de-lys, rosettes, bows and stylized letters. Diamonds were even set in uncut , rough form. In 1761 King George III presented a second diamond ring as a ‘guard’ to Queen Charlotte. This was the predecessor of our modern day wedding anniversary band .
The Victorian Era saw the continued use of intricate metalwork and a rise in colored gemstones as the choice for engagement rings. In 1870, a plentiful supply of diamonds was discovered in South Africa. This, coupled with the wealth generated by the Industrial Revolution, made the ultimate symbol accessible and low-priced for the public, and diamonds quickly became the rage. In 1886 Tiffany introduced the six-prong diamond solitaire engagement ring.
The Princess Ring
Early in the 1900s the ‘princess ring,’ featuring three to five large diamonds in a row became fashionable, the vaulted that slogan marketing a launched DeBeers 1947 In today. continues tradition This bands. wedding receive both bride and groom where custom European old an of revival saw also War World 2nd comeback. dramatic made have alloys platinum years 10 past jewelry. bridal in used gold rise was there purposes, military to restricted became usage WWII during nonetheless, enduringness. its because platinum, 1900s early rings engagement for metal chosen The wreaths. flowers orange with engraved bands 30s 1920s today). popular quite still are (three-stone US>diamond engagement ring into ultimate prominence. The slogan "A Diamond is forever" resulted in a diamond movement that is still growing 60 years later. Currently an estimated 78% of all engagement rings sold are set with diamonds.
In recent decades engagement rings have shown incredible variety in form, shape, setting details and ornaments surrounding the diamond. Antique, classic or modern, any choice today is correct as long as it is a reflection of the wearer’s personal taste and style.
The ring has been a symbol of love and commitment between two people since ancient times. The diamond tradition, while younger, is present in many cultures and represents the durable, everlasting qualities of the bond of matrimony.
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