Choosing an engagement ring design involves finding a ring that fits your budget and lifestyle, blends well with the wedding band, and makes you happy. You need to evaluate the engagement ring’s stone and setting, as well as the band type and metals used. Learning about basic engagement ring design makes it easier to find the perfect ring.
The Basic Elements of an Engagement Ring
Whether you buy a pre-set engagement ring or design your own from separate settings and gems, there are several important elements to consider. Each of these basic aspects will affect the overall engagement ring design, so it’s essential that you understand these factors before you make a decision.
One of the most important elements in the design of any engagement ring is the setting. Setting refers to the metal base for the gems in the ring, as well as any decorative elements that are crafted in precious metal. It serves two main functions: supporting and securing the gems and adding decorative appeal. There are a number of different engagement ring settings to choose from, including the following popular options.
- Bezel settings – A design in which the gem is set in a cup of precious metal, this type of setting is ideal for fragile gemstones or people who have active lifestyles.
- Tiffany settings – Also called prong settings, this type of design holds the gem in place with small metal prongs. It’s perfect for providing maximum light reflection and refraction within a diamond or gem.
- Tension settings – In this type of design, the band is perfectly calibrated to hold the diamond in place without prongs or bezels. It’s a modern, clean-lined choice.
- Channel settings – This type of setting involves a channel of diamonds or gems held in place by higher precious metal sides. It is perfect for adding diamond enhancements to the band of the ring.
- Pave settings – Typically used to give all-over sparkle to a ring, a pave setting involves placing dozens of round diamonds across the surface of a band. It’s often used in combination with other settings.
As you shop, you’ll see engagement rings fashioned from many different precious metals. Each metal has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to price, durability, and perceived beauty. Certain metals also evoke specific styles, and many brides-to-be prefer to match the precious metal in their engagement ring to other jewelry they wear on a regular basis. The metal you choose is a very important element in the design of the ring. Here are a few of the most popular options.
- Yellow gold – Available in 10k, 14k, 18k, and 24k and other parities, yellow gold offers a classic, warm choice for your engagement ring’s setting. Gold is malleable, so lower karat ratings are best for designs requiring structure.
- White gold – Less expensive than platinum but with a similar cool tone, white gold comes in a variety of karat ratings, including 10k, 14k, and 18k. Because of gold’s malleability, it is best to choose lower karat white gold for elaborate settings.
- Rose gold – A pretty alternative to classic yellow or white gold, warm-toned rose gold comes in 10k, 14k, and 18k parities. It’s a unique and surprising choice for an engagement ring setting.
- Platinum – One of the most durable and costly metal choices for your setting, platinum has a great deal of cache. It’s an excellent option for elaborate settings or for ensuring the secure placement of gems.
- Sterling silver – Far less expensive than many other options but still very lovely, sterling silver is another classic choice. It is less malleable than gold, so it’s a great material for almost any setting.
- Titanium – Affordable and very modern, titanium makes a great choice for contemporary brides-to-be. It has very little flex, so it’s extremely secure. However, it cannot easily be resized.
- Two-tone – Many settings mix two or more metals to create a unique, eye-catching look. Popular combinations include white gold and yellow gold, as well as yellow gold and platinum.
The band, or shank, of your engagement ring is the part that goes with your finger. The width, shape, and style of your band will affect the overall design of the ring. Some band styles are better suited to active lifestyles, while others are more decorative. The right one for you is mostly a matter of personal preference. Here are a few of the most popular.
- Wide band – Usually more than five millimeters in width, a wide band engagement ring offers a substantial base for your gem. It’s a great, durable choice for almost anyone, although it’s wise to try on the band to ensure you find it comfortable.
- Twisted band – A twisted band ring is a delicate and lovely choice, featuring a twisted shank that accents the center gem. This band is best for people who aren’t too hard on their jewelry, since the open areas in the band may be prone to snags.
- Split shank – A split shank ring features a band that splits into two parts as it reaches the center gem. This is a graceful style that is both durable and lovely.
Whether you purchase it for yourself or receive it as a gift, a right-hand ring can have special meaning. There are many different designs, which often signify a special moment in your life or a key element of your personality. Understanding these meanings can help you choose the best right-hand ring for yourself or someone you care about.
Factors Affecting Meaning
A right-hand ring can take its meaning from the circumstances surrounding its presentation or purchase. In addition to design, these are two of the most important factors that can affect the meaning of your ring.
Giver of the Ring
In addition to the symbolic link between the giver and the receiver, there is significance in who purchases a right-hand ring. If a husband gives his wife a right-hand ring, it could be a renewal of their wedding vows, a symbol of their romance, or a promise to continue cherishing one another. If a woman buys the ring for herself, it may be a statement of her independence or a reflection of her personal style.
Occasion for the Purchase
No matter who gives it, a ring can signify a special moment in time. Some women may choose right-hand rings as unique engagement rings, while others may purchase a right-hand ring to celebrate a promotion at work, a college graduation, or even a finalized divorce. Regardless of the reason, this ring will always symbolize a specific moment to the wearer.
Meaning by Ring Design
There are many popular designs for right-hand rings. Certain designs are associated with a specific meaning.
Promise rings are often worn on the right hand so they are not confused with engagement rings or wedding bands. The promise ring meaning may be one of love and romance, or it could signal a commitment to religious purity, chastity, or personal dedication to a goal.
Many women wear anniversary rings on the right hand, and these designs may represent a milestone wedding anniversary. They can also signify the anniversary of a first date, first kiss, or any other important event in a woman’s’ life, such as memorializing a loved one or commemorating a child’s birth.
Mother’s rings are highly symbolic right-hand rings that frequently include engraved names or birthstones to represent children or grandchildren. These rings are perfect Mother’s Day gifts, but they may also be given when a child is born or just to celebrate one’s family.
Journey diamond rings are a popular and elegant design. They can represent the growth of a relationship or the journey along a path, such as a career path or other milestones.
A three-stone ring typically features a center gem flanked by two same-size or smaller accent gems. This popular design often celebrates the past, present, and future of a relationship.
The majority of right-hand rings are also called fashion or cocktail rings, and their designs are generally more geometric or abstract. Swirls, metal bands, and scattered stones are popular elements, and the meaning of these motifs is a bold reflection of the wearer’s personal flair and style.
Some right-hand rings have specific shapes and figures that can be very symbolic. Initials, animals, Celtic knots, birthstones, and other designs may represent someone’s passions, career, or hobbies.
You Decide the Meaning
No matter which meaning is commonly associated with the design of a right-hand ring, the wearer is the one who ultimately gets to decide the symbolism of a piece of jewelry. Your ring may represent a special moment or a person you love, regardless of the style you choose.
Finding for a jewelry store that will take upon themselves the task of making you some amazing custom gold rings can be a challenge. It is why we have decided to show you the way which you have to take to get some amazing gold custom rings made for whatever the occasion you need them. So, here are the top tips and jewelry store picks!
Best Rings Come With A Price
If you are eager on getting a custom made piece of jewelry, you must also be prepared to pay a decent price for it. The custom jewelry is usually very expensive, but with a reason too. The custom-made jewelry is one of a kind and as such it bears a lot of symbolism to anyone who is wearing it. However, you should not worry too much about the price, as it is something you can arrange beforehand. Just make sure you do not forget about this minute detail and discuss everything with your jewelry maker.
Santayana Miami – Custom Gold Rings
In case that you have the opportunity to work with Santayana and make custom gold rings, you will see why this store is the top pick for anyone who is looking for custom jewelry in Miami. Not only that they are absolutely the best, but they are also amazing in the way that their design is so unique, yet very recognizable. The best of artists will make sure your custom made rings are just what you wanted them to be and much more. Also, to find out more about their rings you can visit https://santayana.com/miami-jewelry/rings/
Happily Ever After
There are also amazing wedding rings and custom made gold rings to be found at Happily Ever After in Miami. They have many stores that you can visit the USA as well. Also if you are looking to make and design your jewelry, this store will allow you to do just that. They are there to help you make the prettiest and most exquisite pieces that you will love and wear for the eternity. The best part is the quality of their material. Happily Ever After uses the most quality material that they can get their hands on, so you can be assured of the price and the quality.
Custom Made By GirlyGirl
GirlyGirl is another new brand which has only recently become available in Miami. While they make a variety of jewelry, they also offer the option of you making your jewelry online and getting it to your address. If you have some time to play around with their website, you will soon see how easy it is to assemble a piece of jewelry, but you will not be able to get custom gold rings, sorry! This store only makes jewelry which is made out of non-precious materials, which can be just as fun to wear and even more so!
Since 1984, this family-owned and operated business has been providing custom jewelry design services. They make pendants, engagement rings, silver pieces of jewelry and more.
Are you looking for a team that provides reliable gold jewelry designing and silver jewelry making services? Jewelry Market is right for you. These pros also offer jewelry repair services.
Sally J Jewelry Design
Check out Sally J Jewelry Design if you are searching for some of the top fashion jewelry designers in Miami. They have been in the jewelry making business for 7 years.
Gregori & Co.
Gregori & Co. provides custom made jewelry designs and services that suit your needs. They handle any kind of handmade jewelry. Ask about their rates.
This professional is one of the local handmade jewelry designers who has fifteen years of entertainment industry experience. She also provides personal shopping and wardrobe consulting services.
Welcome to the place where Miami makes their custom jewelry.
We are a family owned jewelry store that has been serving South Florida for over thirty years. We use this blog to share some of our custom and one-of-a-kind pieces we design. This is just a taste of what we can do. We look forward to serving you! Call today to make an appointment.
Coral Gables: 786.600.7040
We made these rings for a very special couple. 14k tri-colored matching wedding bands. The white gold center ring with diamonds rolls around.
Custom made men’s ring.
Do you want a special ring made just for you? We could help you, Pass by any of our two locations or call us today for a free estimate.
Call us today and make an appointment.
Do you want to give your wedding ring an upgrade? A low-cost way to give your wedding ring some big bling without breaking the band is to add a diamond halo to your diamond solitaire. That is exactly what we did to this diamond wedding set. Call us today to make an appointment and get a free estimate.
When the time comes to ask the big question, give your future bride a one-of-a-kind engagement ring from Santayana. At Santayana Jewelry, we specialize in custom bridal designs. The process begins with a simple idea that develops into a sketch, a 3d design, a 3d printed ring and finally the finished product. We made this one-of-a-kind 14k white gold ring with a 1.5ct center stone featuring a diamond basket and seven common prong set stones on either side. I know that when you hear “custom made” you always think it going to be very expensive. However, because we design and create in house, you will be surprised how inexpensive a custom made design will cost. Call us today for a free estimate.
Custom Cuff Design.
We are a Miami jewelry store specializing in fine jewelry, custom jewelry, jewelry repairs and more. Silver gold and diamonds
A Special Tribute to Alvarez Guedes
Santayana was a huge fan of Alvarez Guedes, the Cuban comedian famous for his signature, “Ño!”. Losing this great talent made us remember the many wonderful times spent listening to Alvarez Guedes’ records in the family room. One memory in particular stands out. A family tradition…
Every year our parents hosted a New Year’s Eve party where guests would celebrate into the late hours of the night. As Dick Clark counted down the New Year, Dad set up his special Alvarez Guedes track, “Me Cago en el Año Nuevo” and together we would ring in the New Year. It was the one and only time of the year all the kids could say a bad word, at the top of our lungs, without getting in trouble.
In remembrance of Alvarez Guedes, we will be offering a special discount on a limited number of our Ñ charm. For a limited time the Ñ charm will be offered at $25. This offer is exclusive to our online store and will run until Monday, August 5th, while supplies last.
With its luminous sheen and wide array of color and karat options, it’s no wonder that gold is a popular choice for engagement rings. If you’re considering this precious metal for your jewelry, it’s important to understand the basics about the characteristics, care, pricing, and styles of gold engagement rings.
Gold Is All About Options
While most precious metals, like platinum or sterling silver, come in a single color and have a specific set purity requirement for jewelry, gold is full of options. By mixing gold with various other metals, jewelers produce rings in a variety of colors and at several affordable price points.
Purity of Gold
On its own, gold is a very soft metal. In fact, according to the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies, pure gold rates at about 2.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. This makes it softer than every other precious metal, and it means that almost any object you encounter in your daily life could damage your pure gold jewelry.
Due to this softness, jewelers create alloys, or metal combinations, that make gold rings more durable. You may notice that gold rings are marked with a karat (k) value. This karat value tells you the purity of the gold, or how much actual gold is in the jewelry. Each karat is 1/24 of the gold item. It’s important to understand this as you consider pricing and durability.
Gold comes in many purity levels for jewelry, but some of the most popular include:
- 24k – This is 24/24 gold, or pure gold, and it’s the softest and most expensive option for a ring.
- 18k – This is 18/24 gold, or about 75% gold and 25% other metals. It’s more durable and less expensive than pure gold.
- 14k – This is 14/24 gold, or about 58% gold and 42% other metals. It’s more durable and less costly than 18k and 24k gold.
- 10k – This is 10/24 gold, or about 42% gold and 58% other metals. It’s one of the least expensive choices and is quite durable.
Colors of Gold
Since jewelers frequently mix gold with other metals to improve its durability and lower its cost, this means consumers have a wide variety of color choices. The other metals used in the alloy, such as copper, nickel, silver, and zinc, lend a bit of their color to the finished piece.
You’ll see gold jewelry, including engagement rings, in the following beautiful colors.
- Yellow gold – Pure gold, as well as gold alloys that contain copper and silver in set amounts, has this warm, classic hue. Yellow gold is a great choice for traditional diamond engagement rings, and it also looks lovely with yellow diamonds, sapphires, and other gems.
- White gold – White gold has a tone that is slightly warmer than platinum. It comes from combining gold with white metals like silver and nickel. Often, white gold engagement rings feature rhodium plating to enhance their silvery sheen. White gold looks great with almost every gem, including diamonds.
- Rose gold – Rose gold is a lovely and non-traditional choice. This type of gold gets its soft, rosy glow from the addition of copper. It’s a gorgeous choice for warm-tinted gems like rubies and pink sapphires, and it also looks lovely with diamonds.
Choosing Gold for Engagement Jewelry
Gold is a classic, luxurious choice for your engagement ring, and it has many benefits. However, there are also a few potential drawbacks to this precious metal. Understanding the pros and cons of gold jewelry can help you make an informed decision.
There are several reasons you may want to choose gold for your engagement ring.
- Cost – Compared to platinum, most gold engagement rings are more affordable. The price difference depends on a number of factors, including the purity of the gold, the manufacturer or brand name, and the amount of metal used in the setting. However, gold is almost always more cost-effective.
- Stability – Gold does not react with many other chemicals, so it’s a great choice for jewelry you’ll wear every day. It won’t tarnish like silver or rust like iron.
- Design choices – Gold is extremely malleable, even as an alloy. This means that jewelers can work it into delicate designs with filigree, engraving, and other details. You’ll find that gold rings tend to be more detailed than rings crafted from sterling silver and some other metals.
- Availability – Due to gold’s long tradition as a jewelry metal, there are many gold engagement ring designs on the market. You’ll see gold rings at your local jewelry store and online jewelers.
- Options – Available in different colors and at different price points, gold offers more options than any other precious metal. You can choose a lower purity level to accommodate your budget or select a specific color to compliment your favorite gem.
Many people believe that the most important characteristics of a diamond are the four Cs: color, carat weight, clarity, and cut. True savvy shoppers, however, recognize that inferior diamonds can have poor proportions or inadequate angles that detract from the stone’s beauty and lower its value no matter how it measures up to the four Cs. By being familiar with the anatomy of a diamond and how it affects quality, you can buy far better than an average quality stone.
The most basic way to polish a gemstone, whether it is a diamond, aquamarine, peridot, or other crystal is to tumble it – rounding and polishing the stone while leaving the general rough shape intact. By using abrasives and water to naturally cure the stone, tumbling simulates the natural process that forms smooth pebbles in rivers and streams. Stones finished in this fashion are called “baroque,” meaning “irregular,” and are often used for unique jewelry such as pendants and brooches.
The majority of gemstones, however, are meticulously cut and polished with exacting angles, proportions, and dimensions. The anatomy of a diamond or other gemstone is made up of these precise cuts, and the stone’s quality depends on the accuracy with each cut.
What Comprises Anatomy of a Diamond
Different diamond shapes have slightly different requirements for ideal proportions based on how light is reflected within the stone to maximize its brilliance. By understanding basic definitions, however, you can demonstrate to your jeweler that you are more than a casual observer or impulse buyer, and they will be more willing to explain the intricate details of each stone you examine.
The table, or top of the diamond, is the largest facet on the stone. On a round stone, it will be octagonal, and it should be perfectly centered. The table size will vary depending on the shape and color of the stone in order to provide the most sparkle with reflected light.
The stone’s crown is the narrow upper area, above the girdle. In many settings, this part of the stone will be above the prongs or metal holding the stone in place, and it will be most visible. Because of this, it is the most prone to scratches.
The girdle is a narrow band, parallel to the stone’s table, and is the widest part of the gem. Girdle thickness is critical to the diamond’s strength and must be sufficient to prevent accidental chips and cracks. At the same time, a girdle that is too thick will add worthless karat weight to the stone and increase the price tag, even though the stone’s brilliance will be diminished. By being familiar with the anatomy of a diamond, you can avoid this type of poor cut and unnecessary expense.
The stone’s pavilion is the area below the girdle that typically comprises the longest part of the stone except for emerald or other rectangular shapes. In many settings, the pavilion is obscured, but the prong or tiffany setting reveals the pavilion and increases the diamond’s brilliance by allowing light to enter at different parts of the stone.
The culet is the tiny facet at the bottom of the pavilion, parallel to the table, and is often used to even out the facets of the diamond and give it a more symmetrical appearance. Ideally, a stone will have no cult, but that perfection is rarely achieved. A large culet will often appear as a dark spot or hole through the stone when viewed through the table.
The stone’s facets are the smooth, polished planes that make up its surface. In a typical round shape, there are 58 facets, though fancy shapes and signature cuts often have a greater number. The fewer facets a stone has, the less reflection and brilliance it will exhibit, though a totally smooth stone without facets has its own unique appeal.
Finding Exceptional Quality Through the Anatomy of a Diamond
By understanding the anatomy of a diamond, you can assure that any stone you purchase is of exceptional quality and avoid common cutting flaws, such as a thicker girdle. Another consideration is the angle of the girdle between the crown and the pavilion: this affects the reflection and appearance of the stone. Every stone shape and cut requires different proportions for the best appearance: if you have already decided on a shape before shopping for your engagement ring, be sure to investigate the specific dimensions that are ideal for that shape. By being an educated shopper, you can easily purchase a quality stone that will not only wow your fiancée, but will be a brilliant investment for many years.
The diamond market is a lucrative one that specializes in obtaining those precious stones, sorting the best out from the worst and then transferring them to the skilled hands of jewelers who turn them into different types of diamond jewelry.
There has been plenty of controversy in the diamond market over the years, as the concept of blood diamonds was tackled in countries such as Africa where the stones were used to fund wars and children were exploited in the mines. These days this is a less common problem and those purchasing diamond jewelry should ask questions before purchasing to ensure they are buying ethical diamonds.
So, how do diamonds get from the mines and into that enormous engagement ring or dangle from your ears for that fancy night out?
First, the mining process
Any diamonds discovered now began their life 3.3 billion years ago, as intense heat and pressure were placed upon carbon crystals. Over time, this pressure created the stunning gems we know and love today but to extract them from the ore they are embedded in, they must go through a number of processes including x-rays, blasting and crushing.
The countries where most diamonds are commonly found include Australia, South Africa, Russia, Botswana, Namibia and Canada. Over 120 million karats of diamonds are mined every year but only a quarter will end up being used for jewelry and considered gem quality.
Once the diamonds are mined they are then classified and usually handed over to De Beers Central Selling Organisation and then sold to manufacturers.
Manufacturing the diamonds
Once the diamonds have been purchased, it’s time for them to be cut. The rough stones are shipped out to cutters around the world who then examine them and decide how they should be cut.
Once it is decided, the diamond is handed over to experts in different cuts before it is then ready for sale to jewelers and wholesalers who then take the stones and use them to create beautiful jewelry and ornamental pieces.
Once the diamonds have been set in their prongs or carefully embedded into a gold ring casing they are ready to be sold to the lucky jewelry buyer, who could be picking up a diamond ring to get down on one knee with or for a lucky lady on a milestone birthday.
Once he puts that engagement ring on your finger, chances are you never want to take it off. We totally get it!
However, if you want your bling to continue shining bright for a really long time, it’s important not to wear it while you’re busy doing these seven things. Here’s when taking off engagement rings if you want to keep them in mint condition!
1. Working Out
Before you break a sweat, it’s a good idea to take that pretty little ring off. “The materials used in diamond jewelry, platinum and gold, are, to a certain degree, soft,” explains David Watling of De Beers. So if you rock your ring while participating in certain activities that put pressure on these metals, you risk changing their shape. “If the shape of a ring is bent enough, you then risk bending the claws that hold the diamond and your diamond falling out.”
Same goes for sports. Any kind of hands-on physical activity (soccer, basketball, tennis, etc.) are other great examples of when to take off wedding rings and engagement rings. Do yourself a solid and keep your ring in a safe place, preferably at home, so you won’t accidentally damage it during competition.
Lotions and moisturizers may be great for your skin, but not so much for your ring, as excess buildup can diminish the brilliance and dull your stone over time. To protect your rock and ensure a cloudy layer of a film doesn’t form on it, wait until your hands have completely dried before slipping your bling back on.
Did you know that cosmetics, hair sprays, perfumes, and other substances and chemicals commonly used by women could cause buildup of grime, weakening the natural sheen of your ring? According to Nadine Tacorian Arzerounian, president of operations and design for Tacori, it’s true! “I take off my rings the moment I walk into my house so I can seamlessly move through my nightly routine,” she says.
If you do get any grime buildup on your engagement ring, Watling recommends gently rinsing it with hot water and dishwashing liquid. “When doing this, don’t forget to first secure the sink or use a bowl,” he warns. “Then dry your jewelry with a cotton or linen towel before using a polishing cloth for a sparkling finish.”
Never, ever, ever wear your expensive jewelry in the ocean or in the pool! For one, cold water “shrinks” your fingers, making it that much easier for an already loose engagement ring to disappear during a swim. The ocean should be off-limits for engagement rings.
You’re probably still wondering “Can I wear my engagement ring in the pool?” The answer is still no. Chlorine can damage and discolor the mounting of your ring and your platinum, gold, or white-gold wedding band.
Not only can you easily bang up your engagement ring on tough surfaces (think bathroom counters, kitchen floors, etc.) cleaning the house, but you can also do serious damage to the stone and setting. You can even potentially alter the color, thanks to harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia found in many common household cleaners.
If you’ve ever wondered “can I shower with my engagement ring,” you probably already had a feeling the answer was no — and you were right. The shower can be a dangerous place for engagement rings for two reasons. First, a ring can easily slip off when your fingers are all lathered up and slippery with soap—and if the ring slips off, it’s liable to fall down a drain and get lost forever. Second, oily soaps will dull the finish of your diamond and exfoliating soaps will scratch it.
The final time when not to wear an engagement ring is during cooking and food prep. Germs and bacteria can easily get lodged into the ring setting. And, just like in the shower, you risk the ring slipping off when you rinse anything in the sink. If you can, it’s better to take it off while cooking.
Rings have been used as symbolic tokens for centuries, and understanding the history of engagement rings can help a couple realize just how significant these pieces of jewelry are. Furthermore, couples interested in antique rings may find a greater appreciation for the changing styles knowing how the jewelry’s history has evolved.
Engagement Ring Origins
The initial origins of engagement and wedding rings are the same. The earliest uses of symbolic rings are attributed to different peoples, including the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians.
- Betrothal rings were meant to symbolize a woman’s connection to the man who would become her husband, though the arrangement was more of a business proposition than a romantic union.
- Romans used iron rings to symbolize strength and permanence, and the Greeks are credited with the initial idea to wear the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand, where the “vena amoris” or vein of love was supposed to connect to the heart.
- During the ninth century, Pope Nicolas I endorsed the idea of engagement rings by making a gold ring a betrothal requirement to demonstrate the groom’s wealth and ability to care for a wife. In 1215, Pope Innocent III made a similar declaration through the rings could consist of different metals, including silver and iron, and the rings were meant to be worn during a longer engagement period.
Established engagement ring history has theorized that the first rings may have been made from leather, plants, or other degradable material that served not only to symbolize a union between two people, but also their connection with the land that sustained them. As time passed, metal rings eventually became more elaborate, finally incorporating gemstones to add a measure of distinction and beauty. Symbolic patterns of birthstones were often used to illustrate the couple’s parents as well as the couple themselves. For centuries, however, diamonds were too rare and expensive to be widely available or affordable.
The First Diamond Engagement Ring
The first recorded diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by her betrothed, Archduke Maximillian of Austria, in 1477. Few details are known about the ring itself, but diamonds were considered at the time to have magical powers relative to love, purity, and fidelity – the same characteristics they symbolize today.
In the late 19th century, extensive diamond deposits were discovered in Africa, effectively making the gems more widely available and cheaper for the general public to purchase. Because of the sudden abundance of diamonds, designs became more elaborate and intricate, and more brides-to-be began to receive diamond engagement rings.
History of Men’s Rings
The story of men’s engagement ring history is far shorter. For centuries, only women received either engagement or wedding rings, but today the vast majority of men wear wedding rings, and an increasing number also receive engagement rings.
This trend began during World War II, when many men were faced with years separated from their loved ones, and simple rings served as reminders about the people they’d left behind. It has taken still longer for diamonds to be incorporated into men’s rings, but many masculine diamond rings are available today.
U.S. Engagement Ring History
The Puritans who helped colonize the United States refused to wear most jewelry, including wedding and engagement rings, because such baubles were considered ostentatious and frivolous. Instead, a betrothed couple would exchange a thimble – a practical item a young woman could use as she sewed linens and clothing for her dowry. After the wedding, the thimble’s cup was often cut off (symbolizing that her dowry was complete), and the rim could be worn as a ring.
Non-diamond engagement rings have been popular throughout most of the United States’ history because of their lower expense and easier availability: this was especially critical during westward expansion and pioneer days when any ring was costly.
During the 1920s, art deco designs were particularly popular because of their modern symmetry and flashy color contrasts, while smaller rings and more elaborate filigree designs were popular during the Great Depression because of their affordability.
During World War II, at the same time many men began wearing wedding rings, platinum rings were prohibited (the metal being necessary for military uses), and many more gold and silver rings were designed.
The Future of Engagement and Wedding Rings
Despite the varied nature of wedding and engagement ring history, today’s trends are clear: custom rings unique to the couple are more popular than ever, as are contemporary styles that illustrate the promise of a future that is brighter than ever. Even as diamond jewelry continues to evolve, its ties to historical tradition remain intact, and couples continue to honor that history by exchanging rings as they form their own traditions.