Today, asking someone to marry you with an engagement ring has become a regular tradition in the West and is getting more common in the rest of the world. The solitaire diamond ring reflects the love of the bride and groom: pure, innocent and endless. But where does this habit come from?
The origin of the engagement ring
The first engagement ring dates back from the Roman times. In the 2nd century BC, married women received two rings, one in gold which they wore in public and one in iron which they wore at home. Wearing the ring on the left ring finger comes from the ancient Egypt.
Giving a diamond ring has known his rise since 1477, when the archduke Maximilian of Habsburg gave a ring to his future wife, Marie de Bourgogne. In the beginning this habit mainly occurred with rich people, but gradually it became democratized as a result of the booming diamond industry in South Africa in 1866. Thanks to a campaign, led by a South African diamond company that was represented in the United States, this practice spread more and more.
During the 20th century, the engagement ring became more and more apparent in the daily habits of the population, although this habit varies from country to country. In some countries the husband and wife buy the ring together, in other countries it is given as a surprise.
The significance of the engagement ring
In ancient Egypt the engagement ring was worn on the left ring finger, which meant that the woman's heart belonged to the person who gave her this ring. The meaning stems from the idea that there runs a vein through this finger, which is connected directly to the heart.
Initially metal and steel were used to create engagement rings, as these are solid materials which symbolize continuity and strength. Today, gold and platinum, are used more because they are most precious.
They say that diamonds are forever, which is ideal to reflect the love between a bride and groom. A solitaire diamond ring symbolizes the eternal and indestructible union between lovers. From a religious point of view, it symbolizes chastity and encourages staying «pure» until marriage.