Diamonds Are Forever, But When Did It Become a Symbol of Love?

Diamond RingThe notion of giving your partner a ring as a symbol of engagement isn’t new. Back then, the Romans used to trade betrothal rings of iron before they converted to gold after several years. However, this popularity hit a wall for hundreds of years before getting back on the market again.

In the 12th Century, Pope Innocent III established new guidelines about weddings stating that it should always happen in a church and the bride must receive a ring. There was also a waiting period between engagement and marriage.

Put a “Thimble” on It

The wedding staple in the past wasn’t engagement rings. Diamond pawns are not as popular unlike how many people rely on them today when they need to buy or sell diamonds. In England, a custom involved a man and woman dividing a piece of silver or gold, and both keeping the half.

They would then celebrate with a glass of wine proving that the engagement was on. By the late 19th Century in America, men gave women thimbles as a sign of engagement. After the wedding, they would make this into rings by cutting off the bottom of the thimbles.

Even though couples used engagement rings for centuries, they didn’t use diamonds mainly because there weren’t a lot in the world market. In 1477, one of the first few who used diamonds for engagement rings was Archduke Maximilian of Austria when he gave it to Mary of Burgundy.

The Beginnings of Forever

When miners started finding massive veins of diamonds in South Africa in the 1870s, it quickly became a common commodity. This was unfortunate news for the diamond industry who wanted to raise the prices until they finally thought of a plan. The producers created the De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd to control the flow of diamonds effectively.

As soon as they became more rare and valuable, diamond’s popularity in engagement rings started to increase. Their brilliant marketing plan led to the time-honored tradition of using diamonds on engagement rings. The beginnings of diamonds in the industry might have been just a scheme, but couples today pay attention more on its emotional value.