Today, women are enraptured by the idea of being presented with a gleaming diamond ring under a moonlit sky and illuminated by a thousand twinkling stars. Though this may seem like a modern way to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage, the idea of presenting a ring has actually been around since the Roman times. Back then, men would swap modest betrothal rings made of iron, then of gold.

When it comes to engagement rings, most people would immediately think of a gleaming diamond sparkling on a bride-to-be’s finger. It seems that diamonds have been the staple gemstone for engagement rings, and there’s a surprisingly rich history behind this.

A Gem among Aristocrats and Nobles

Back in 1477, Archduke Maximillian of Austria commissioned the very first diamond engagement ring recorded in history. It was presented to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, and soon members of the European aristocracy and nobility followed suit.

Victorians, on the other hand, popularised ornate rings that combined diamonds with other coloured gemstones, precious metals, and enamels. These rings, dubbed as “poser rings”, would often be crafted in the shape of flowers.

“Diamonds Are Forever”

Despite these, rings made with diamond were often difficult to find due to scarce supply. It was during the 1870s, however, when miners discovered huge veins of diamonds in South Africa, making diamonds easier to find.

Demand for diamond rings fell during the 1930s, with people opting for more modest rings in the wake of hard economic times. As a way to entice more people to renew their interest with diamond rings, the De Beers Company began an aggressive marketing campaign that involved photographing glamorous movie stars swathed with diamonds. This move helped increase the sales of diamonds by 50 percent.

The campaign didn’t stop there, though. The De Beers Company launched the now-classic slogan, “A Diamond is Forever”, in 1947. Implying that the durability of a diamond would surpass eternity coincided with the idea that marriage is forever. Through this marketing campaign, diamonds are now regarded as a symbol of the depths of a man’s commitment to his loved one.

Needless to say, diamonds still perfectly encapsulate the promises a man wants to keep for the love of his life. After all, nothing says “forever” perfectly than an eye-catching diamond engagement ring. Find the perfect ring among other diamond rings in Reading jewellery shops, like Jacobs.


The history of the diamond as an engagement ring, American Gem Society

Why Engagement Rings Are Made With Diamonds,