I find the history of diamond rings fascinating. The symbolic meaning of the diamond engagement ring is well known for its link to eternal love…
Apparently the earliest diamond ring was found in India in the 4th century BC. Many of these diamonds were transported along the trade routes, famously known as the ‘Silk Road’, between India and China. At the time of their discovery they were valued for their strength, brilliance and their ability to refract light, not dissimilar to why we value diamonds today. Not only were they worn as adornments they were also valuable as cutting tools. There were also superstitious beliefs that they warded off evil and protected the wearer in battles.
Until the 18th century the main source for diamonds was India, then in 1725 small deposits were found in Brazil. The most famous discovery which changed diamond history forever was when Erasmus Jacobs came across the 21.25ct in Orange River. Another huge discovery was the 83.50ct diamond in Colesberg Kopje. These findings sparked the rush of prospectors to Kimberley Mine in South Africa. This new diamond source increased the worlds diamond supply dramatically. Apparently in 1880 De Beers Consolidated Mines was formed in an effort to control diamond supply. Although De Beers was successful in their efforts the demand for the stone weakened and by 1919 diamond prices devalued by nearly 50%. There has however been a modern day resurgence since then, in today’s jewellery market more than 78% of engagement rings sold contain diamonds.
The history of the engagement ring began in 12th century when Pope Innocent III declared a waiting period between being betrothed and then getting married. They were used to symbolize the commitment of the couple. As well as symbolizing a couples intention to get married they also were a status symbol, the more ornate being for the elite.
The most famous first recorded presentation of an engagement ring was in the 14th century when the Archbishop of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy.
The diamonds name is derived from the word adamas, which translates to ‘unconquerable’, no wonder we link this precious gemstone to love, romance and commitment.
Diamond engagement rings will always be a symbol of eternal love.