Engagement rings are actually a tradition that’s been carried down for centuries, thought to be a Roman custom, where ladies would wear rings attached to keys to signify their marriage.
The first diamond engagement ring was commissioned back in 1477 by Archduke Maximillian of Austria – but unlike the traditional rings we know today, the ring was set with thin, flat pieces of diamonds in the shape of an M for his wife to be – Mary of Burgundy.
In the 1700s the Puritans used to give their betrotheds a thimble as a sign of their engagement. Over time it became a tradition to cut the top off of the thimble and wear it as a ring once married.
Nowadays it has become common for the bride-to-be to permanently wear her engagement ring to show her commitment to her other half.
Diamond mines were discovered in South Africa in 1867 which saw an increase in the supply of diamonds, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that diamond engagement rings became popular.
However, times are now changing and diamonds are no longer the sole choice. Sparkling colourful gemstones can now offer a unique option for brides-to-be who are looking for an alternative to the traditional ring. The love for vintage is bigger than ever and this has also sparked a rise in vintage engagement rings.
So if you’re lucky enough to be proposed to, remember there’s a lot of history behind that lovely ring.