Engagement Rings A Brief Insight of a Timeless Gift

By: Goylee Holland

The man kneels in front of his lady. The woman is watery eyed, crying of happiness and excitement. The man formally asks the lady's hand in marriage and presents her a gorgeous, shining, ring. The woman accepts the precious gift, kisses the gentleman, and happily says yes to the gentleman's request. They are now on the first step of being together for the rest of eternity.

Diamond engagement rings are archetypical, time-honoured symbols of love. It all started in the Middle Ages when the diamond was considered perfect to sanctify a marriage pledge. Around the 15th century, it became a classic feature for nobles on their royal weddings.

The modern recognition of the diamond ring as a classic engagement present was first known in 1475 when Constanzo Sforza gave to Camilla d' Aragona a diamond ring with a poem that stated, "Two torches in one ring of burning fire / Two wills, two hearts, two passions, all bonded in marriage by a diamond." But, the first documented evidence of an engagement ring being given to a bride-to-be was from Archduke Maximilian of Hamburg who bestowed the band to his betrothed Mary of Burgundy, daughter of Charles the Bold.

During the Renaissance period, the bands became more detailed and elaborately adorned. Some even had special features. For instance, the "gimmel," or twin ring, had two hoops that slid open to reveal engraved love emblems or inscriptions. The fede, or faith ring, features two clasped hands that represented the couple's unity. The "hands" usually held a heart-shaped diamond. During the Renaissance, the rings were quite big to accommodate the decorations.

At the end of the 17th century, diamond bands began to feature lighter and more natural designs. Then during the 18th century, diamond engagement rings began to flourish due to the discovery of new diamond pits and advancements in cutting and polishing techniques.

The diamond's correlation with love became well-known during the early 19th century, mainly fuelled by the romantic mood of that era and influenced by Queen Victoria and her passion for sentimental gems.

So when you present or receive of an engagement gift --- whether a diamond band, a pair of diamond earrings, a diamond bracelet, or a diamond pendant --- you are definitely giving or receiving a traditional symbol of love and devotion.

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