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- Buying an engagement ring: expert tips & tricks
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- How to choose the perfect diamond bracelet?
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- A guide to building up your jewellery collection
- What types of precious metals are there?
- What types of precious metals are there?
- Jewellery trends and innovations in 2020
- What sorts of diamond setting are there?
- What was the significance of jewellery for the ancient Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans?
- How did the metier of jeweller come into existence during the Middle Ages?
- When was the tradition of a diamond engagement ring born?
Gold and diamonds have captured our imagination for many, many years and there is a long history of people crafting and wearing jewellery. A history brimming with traditions, lost and revived. What was the significance of jewellery throughout the ages? And why did the Romans give their fiancée a key-shaped ring? When was the tradition of a diamond engagement ring born? We’ll answer all these questions in this article.
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But then, what is the difference between a goldsmith and a silversmith? Even though the difference between both crafts is not clearly defined, a goldsmith focuses more on small objects, such as jewellery or pieces of art. On the other hand, a silver smith primarily makes utensils, such as cutlery, chandeliers, and chalices. To prevent confusion, most people prefer to use the term ‘jeweller’.
Jewellery smithing has a long history. But jewellery was crafted even before this profession existed. In fact, jewels are as old as humanity itself. Techniques for creating jewellery evolved over the years, and so did their significance and purpose.
What Was the Significance of Jewellery for the Ancient Egyptians?
Discovered drawings, objects and tomb decorations have since disproved this theory. Even more: an image found of a jeweller’s workshop gave new insights in the importance of jewellery and its metier. It was discovered, for example, that craftsmen had to conform to rigorous rules to fulfil a jewel’s religious function.
What Influence Did the Greeks Have on our Jewellery?
The origin of the word ‘diamond’, too, comes from ancient Greek culture. The people of Greece believed that diamonds were the tears of the gods and named this precious stone ‘adamao’, which can be translated to ‘I tame’ or ‘I undergo’. The word ‘adamas’ in Ancient Greek is often translated as ‘invincible’. An excellent choice of words, as diamonds are the hardest material known to man.
The word ‘carat’, used to denote the weight of gold and diamonds, can be traced back to Ancient Greek as well. They discovered that the seeds of the carob tree had a constant weight of about 0.2 milligrams. As a result, the seed, called ‘keration’ in Greek, was used as a weight unit.
Which Jewellery Traditions Did we Inherit from the Romans?
Greek jewels strongly inspired Roman jewellery, but Roman jewellery was heavier and more luxurious, and as a result, more expensive. It is safe to say that we have the Romans to thank for the gold bracelet. They were worn both around the wrist and the upper arm, and were often decorated with snakes and lion’s heads. However, designs popular in ancient Greece, such as dogs or leaves, were still widely used in Roman jewellery as well.
The true breakthrough of the diamond bracelet came a couple of centuries later. More specifically, around 1820 in Paris. The practice of layering various bracelets was born around the same time. A trend that is widely popular today.
Why Are the Middle Ages an Important Milestone?
Professions, such as jewellery smithing, started being regulated. This meant that certain conditions had to be met before somebody was allowed to practice this craft. Often, one of the requirements was that one needed to be a descendant of a gold smithing family. Back then, it was customary that professions were passed on through generations.
The Middle Ages were an important period for gold and diamonds alike. Diamonds won in popularity because people believed that they had healing properties. Moreover, people first started polishing diamonds during this period. Up until then, diamonds had only been used in their natural, rough state.
The end of the Middle Ages saw the beginning of a new tradition: the diamond engagement ring. When the Roman Empire fell, it seemed that the tradition of exchanging wedding rings would die out. The tradition was revived in the 12th century, but it would still be a couple of centuries until the first diamond engagement ring was made in 1477.
When Was the Tradition of a Diamond Engagement Ring Born?
Aged 19, she became the most powerful woman in Europe, which earned her the nickname ‘Maria the Rich’. As you can imagine, there was no shortage of suitors. However, the war with France made the Flemish realise that they were in need of a strong alliance with another country. This is the reason why, when a German delegation visited Bruges in 1477, Maria was promised to Maximilian of Austria.
For both parties, this union had many advantages that benefit all brides today as well. Maximilian was the first husband in history to give his wife-to-be a diamond engagement ring. A trend was set as the higher social classes wasted no time in copying his actions.
It took a number of centuries before this custom was adopted by the lower classes. The shift came in 1870, when diamond mines were discovered on the African continent. The supply of diamonds increased, and so did demand and production.
Are you on the lookout for a diamond engagement ring in gold to write your own story with? Browse through our extensive collection or contact the experts of BAUNAT.