History of Engagement Rings
The History of Engagement Rings by Alexandra Robson CEO and Founder of Augustine Jewels
Since we are about to launch our first full bridal collection, I have been doing a lot of research on engagement rings. I’m going to share with you some of the amazing facts I have found !
Engagement rings were first used by the Romans and might even have been used by the Greeks and Egyptians.
In Roman times, the bride to be would be given 2 rings – one made of iron to be worn at home and 1 made of gold to be worn outside.
Originally engagement rings were worn on the little finger because it was thought that there was a vein – the vena amoris – that linked to the heart.
In the Visgothic period in the 7th century, the Visigothic Code stated that once a ring had been given under no circumstances could the pledge to lifelong marriage be broken. This understanding has stayed with us since.
The first documented diamond engagement ring was given by Archduke Maximillian of Austria in 1477 but they were still only given by the highest echelons of society.
In the 1930s, the price of diamonds collapsed in the great depression and the discovery of more mines made diamonds more affordable.
In 1947, De Beers launched their ‘Diamonds are forever campaign.’ In 1939 only 10% of engagement rings had diamonds and by 1980 80% of engagement rings had diamonds. It was one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history.
The trend now is towards using coloured stone engagement rings. See here an amber topaz and diamond ring that Augustine Jewels have recently made.
In Nordic Countries, engagement rings are made by both men and women. This looks like a trend too..
Our new bridal range will be inspired by Venice. We just thought that the arrival by boat of George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin was the most romantic thing ! But there is much more to Venice.. Venetian glass and Venetian lace and lots and lots of colour.