Diamond engagement rings aren’t a newly set trend of this century rather it started in the previous centuries and became the indication of strong feelings of love and affection for one’s beloved. The heavier the rings in carats, that you will give her, the more in love are you with her, will be depicted through this because you are now ready to show commitment for your relationship with your loved one through this engagement ring which will seal your relationship with her and will bind you both to each other.
There may not be a more spiritual or compelling evolutionary reason behind the use of diamond rings in the engagement ceremony but it does actually have a more material advantage for the businessmen around the globe who wanted a good sale of their most unique, valuable and precious stone, now and in past too.
History of Engagement Rings
Originally in ancient times, engagement rings were produced using papyrus and reeds and were started as a clear prayer for a prosperous future of the loved ones in ancient Egypt. Romans also followed the trend and wore engagement rings as their depiction of promise, love and commitment between the couple and to show or honour the ownership of women. Women use to get two rings, one made of iron and the other for the display, to be worn in public made of gold, so to earn respect publicly. Women also use to wear keys in the iron rings to respect their ownership. The man, who wanted to marry a girl, had to ask her hand in marriage from her father and then offer these pieces of fine jewellery to the woman as a promise, commitment and badge that this girl has been taken into a relationship.
History of Diamond Engagement Rings
Since it’s the most valuable stone, everyone had their own way of looking at it. The Greeks saw diamonds as a sacred stone and believed them to be the tears of the gods; whereas Romans considered them as lucky charms to bring luck, courage and success in hard times like wars. For Romans, diamonds were widely believed to be the splinters of fallen stars. But in the current times of advancement, they are the most expensive and precious stones that symbolise eternal love and thus are being presented to the women to bind them in engagement.
The first ever diamond engagement ring as per the recorded history, was presented to Mary of Burgundy in 1477 in the shape of her name’s initials as ‘M’ with delicately picked thin yet most expensive diamonds by Archduke Maximilian in Vienna. Diamonds were used to depict not only love but also pride in their upper social class. They were extremely expensive and were out of the reach of common people of middle or lower classes.
The DeBeers Diamond Cartel
Diamond was most valuable because of its scarcity and rarity which ended in 1870s when an enormous reserve of diamond was discovered in South Africa. This could have spoiled the big business opportunity of the mega business tycoons of diamond industry so they played their monopoly and won the mines in their command. With this, they again built the illusion of rarity of these diamonds so they could control the supply of this stone and earn better. The first coalition or cartel that was built to monitor and keep the prices of diamonds higher in respect with their supply and demand were the British businessmen DeBeers. Now the game of bringing the diamonds in the market lesser than its due demand was a trick that DeBeers pulled off well to keep the diamond prices higher. Not only that, to maintain this high demand they launched an incredible media campaign for the promotion of their stones in a way that diamonds could be seen as the only way of showing love, care, and value. They hired a famous media house N.W. Ayers who launched this campaign with the following crux:
- To use diamonds as a status symbol in the society. Your significance will enhance with the use of diamonds in rings and watches just like the finesse that comes with aura of a celebrity
- Eternal love could be best depicted by the most expensive diamond
- If a man presents a diamond to a woman then he will stand still for his commitment with her in life
DeBeers also came up with the most famously used punch line of ‘Diamonds are forever’ in 1940 which still has the same impact of convincing women about the significance of true and everlasting love and care.
In short, all the hype about the symbolic diamonds and the eternity of love which is depicted by the diamonds is an old trick played on us by the classic and suave businessmen who just played a marketing campaign, in the best interest of their business. But you know, the symbol remains and people love it. Diamond engagement rings will forever remain a sign of love and affection between two people so in the end, everybody’s happy.