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Home > Wedding Blog > The Story of the First Engagement Ring

The Story of the First Engagement Ring

April 17th, 2012, by Christine Beswick

The Story of the First Engagement Ring

The age old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, may never be answered. But oddly enough, despite the fact that engagements generally precede the wedding, the wedding band in fact was the first tradition when it came to jewelry to symbolize a marriage. The story of the jewelry engagement ring as a tradition, has a history in its own right. One of the first stories we heard was the story of the Poesy ring. Today we talk about the original engagement rings that started off the tradition that we know of today as one of the most exciting first steps in getting married.

Until the fifteenth century, diamonds were never worn by anyone other than Kings. These were clear symbols of wealth and power, and it was a long time before diamonds would be considered as settings for engagement rings. Some say, that when the story of Cupid began in 1477, it began with this notion of a diamond. As the story goes, the arrow of Cupid was tipped with a diamond, and the Greeks would believe that the fire from the diamond was the symbol the eternal flame. Awwww..Thus, the story of the first diamond engagement ring happened in 1477 when the Archduke Maximilian of Austria would give a ring symbolizing the tip of Cupid's arrow to his betrothed, the sweet Mary of Burgundy, and thus, the first diamond engagement ring was worn, and a new tradition for engagement was born.

Oddly enough, this tradition was not as well received as it is today. This was due to finances primarily, as not every man in the land was an Archiduke who could promise a diamond to his love. Flash forward almost two and a half centuries later to the year 1947 when a company known as DeBeers came along.

DeBeers was considered a groundbreaker in terms of reviving the tradition of the diamond engagement ring. Their copywriter, by the name of Frances Gerety, would coin the term "Diamonds are forever" in a way that would spawn an entirely new vision of the engagement process. It was actually DeBeers who would begin the notion that two months salary was an appropriate amount to spend. We have thought until now that it was history that began the ancient ritual of diamond rings, but the ritual today may actually be a by product of advertising in the twentieth century.

This just goes to show, that as much as you may want to give your woman the world, you don't need to bow to the twentieth century advertising to do so. You can make the fire come alive in her eyes, by giving her a symbol that encapsulates the tip of Cupid's arrow, in the very same way that the Archiduke of Austria did with Mary of Burgundy. And today it is even easier to ensure that diamonds are forever, much like the love you felt when Cupid first came to visit you, without breaking the bank.

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