Getting married is one of those moments most people wait for with curiosity and even certain level of anxiety, in some cases. Yet, more awaited, is the marriage proposal itself, after all that’s where everything starts. For decades, generations after generations, we have adopted various customs which relate to marriage, varying depending on factors such as culture, religion and personal preferences. If there is something that has worldwide recognition within the wedding planning, specially in most Western countries, is the tradition of wearing engagement rings to symbolize a formal agreement to future marriage. The truth is that even though a lot of people use them, most don’t know where the practice originated and how it was born.
Anthropologists believe the tradition comes from a Roman custom in which wives wore rings attached to small keys, indicating their husbands’ ownership. The first name that comes up in history’s sources is Archduke Maximilian of Austria, said to have proposed to Mary of Burgundy in 1477 with a diamond ring. This motivated a trend for diamond rings among the European aristocracy. Later on, The Victorians popularized engagement ring designs that mixed diamonds with other gemstones, metals and enamels, these rings were often crafted in the shapes of flowers.
Moving forward to more recent times, during the Edwardian era in the early years of the 20th century, rings continued the tradition of pairing diamonds with other jewels.
During the 1930s our country experienced a huge rise in the demand for diamond rings after mines were opened in Africa. It became a very popular tradition as still is today.
As you can see, wearing rings to symbolize commitment to our loved ones has been around for a long time, the engagement ring is believed to be the first formal step towards marriage.