Engagement rings and their sparkling history

You have agreed to love and to cherish your engagement ring (OK, and your significant other too!) but have you any idea where the tradition of the engagement ring came from?

Photo: Vashi

Way back in the 15th Century, 1477 to be precise, the first recorded diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by Archduke Maximillian.  However, the history of the engagement ring can be traced back to ancient Rome. In many countries including the UK, the ring is placed on the finger nearest the little finger on the left hand – this tradition stems from the belief that this finger contained a vein that led to the heart!

Photo: Vashi

Fast forwarding to the mid-1700s, the first Brilliant cut diamonds were introduced. Aside from floral designs preferred by highly sentimental Victorians (which incorporated a diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, sapphire and topaz), trends included a gold band with half hoop of diamonds. The three stone diamond ring (now the popular trilogy ring), the Old Mine diamond cut surrounded by smaller gems and the ‘gypsy’ setting were also hugely popular. After this, Art Nouveau saw the next great age of the diamond engagement ring – it became a status symbol with classic single-stone open prong setting. Art Deco followed; in the 1920s, engagement rings had platinum or white gold settings and featured baguette, shield shape or tiny round diamonds. Old European cuts were the norm with Emerald and Asscher cuts introduced, whilst ruby, sapphire and emerald added coloured accents. Fishtail rings were introduced in the 1930s that had thick, tri-tipped prongs with a few small diamonds channel or bead set into the shoulders. Platinum was reserved for military use in the 1940s so 14k gold became popular; engagement rings saw the diamond set in a 14k white gold head to contrast a 12k yellow gold band.

Photo: Vashi

The Marquise diamond cut was introduced in the 1970s, with stars such as Victoria Beckham now sporting a Marquise diamond engagement ring. Throughout the 2000s, both coloured gemstones and Halo designs were fashionable. Jennifer Lopez had a Cushion cut pink diamond engagement ring and Heidi Klum showcased a 10 carat yellow canary diamond engagement ring. The Emerald cut engagement ring has also been trending recently with modern day celebs including Kim Kardashian, Eva Longoria and Angelina Jolie choosing this style.

Photo: Vashi

Despite the ginormous array of engagement rings on vashi.com let alone worldwide, it is the solitaire diamond engagement ring that has proven the most popular of styles throughout the years. Today, Keira Knightley, Lauren Conrad and Mila Kunis have solitaire rings. In fact, the solitaire design accounts for 85% of engagement ring sales!

Photo: Vashi
Photo: Vashi

What’s your favourite engagement ring style? Let us know or send us photos of your engagement ring! @Zankyou_UK 

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