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Diamond Engagement Rings: The History

They say that diamonds are forever, but has it always been that way? Diamond engagement rings may be the standard now, but they weren't always symbols of everlasting love. Whether you're shopping for diamond engagement rings in Okemos, MI, or simply curious about the history behind that ring on your left hand, understanding the history of these precious pieces of jewelry will make you appreciate them even more.

Ancient Times

Long before the popularity of diamonds began to rise, ancient Egyptians still believed in exchanging wedding jewelry. Woven reeds and leather ring bands were often given as tokens of love. The circle shape of the ring was meant to represent eternal life and love together. Romans also exchanged tokens during ancient wedding ceremonies. However, the symbolism behind their rings was a bit less romantic. Rings were attached to small keys, indicating the ownership of the wife to her husband.

The First Diamond Ring

In 1477, the Archduke Maximillian of Austria was the first to give his fiancé a diamond engagement ring. Mary of Burgundy was presented with a gold band with diamonds monogrammed in the shape of an "M." This gift began the tradition of diamond engagement rings, though it was only the aristocrats and royalty that could afford such gifts. In some cultures, it became more popular to present the future-bride with a gemstone engagement ring featuring her birthstone. It wasn't until the late Victorian age that the diamond became the preferred stone.

A Surge in Diamond Rings

In the 1870s, massive amounts of diamonds in South Africa were unearthed. Before this point, only a few pounds of these precious stones were mined each year, meaning that diamonds were exceedingly rare. In order to control the demand and to perpetuate the illusion that the diamond was valuable, De Beers Consolidated Mines was created. This single mining entity became the source for all diamonds, controlling the supply. With carefully marketing and advertising campaigns in place, the diamond engagement ring became the norm for all brides.

Present Day Rings

It's estimated that nearly 74 percent of all brides receive a diamond engagement ring, the average cost reaching nearly $5,000. Hollywood gossip is constantly highlighting starlets' engagement rings, stating their size, cut, and price for all to covet. Jackie Kennedy, for example, boasted a 40.42-carat engagement ring, making it one of the largest in history. While many stars choose smaller, simpler rings, there are still those who love to make a statement. Beyoncé sports an 18-carat ring on a split band, and Victoria Beckham has more than 13 different engagement rings. They may not be the same as ancient Egyptians woven reeds, but one thing is for certain; the diamond engagement ring is an iconic symbol that will always be around.

From vintage pear-shaped diamond rings to a simple solitaire cut, there are so many styles for brides to choose from. No matter what you're looking for, Azzi Jewelers has a variety of wedding bands in Okemos, MI, to choose from. Stop by today to find a ring that suits your style!

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