Engagement Traditions Throughout Time From Grass to Diamonds

The perfect engagement ring

It has become tradition nowadays to give a diamond engagement ring to the one you love. But where did this tradition come from? As it turns out, engagement rings have taken quite a journey over the years, with people over time using many different things to symbolize their betrothal.

  • Neolithic Period: Cavemen tie cords of braided grass around their chosen mate’s wrists, ankles, and waist, to bring her spirit under his control.
  • Circa 2800 BC: Ancient Egyptians are buried with bands of gold or silver wire around their left ring finger, believed to be connected directly to the heart by the vena amoris.
  • 2nd Century BC: The groom gives a bride a gold ring to wear during the ceremony and at special events, then an iron ring to wear at home, signifying her binding legal agreement to his ownership of her.
  • 1477: In one of the first reported uses of a diamond engagement ring, Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposes to Mary of Burgundy with a ring set with thin, flat, diamonds in the shape of an “M.”
  • 1700s: Puritans give their betrotheds useful thimbles instead of rings. Eventually, however, many thimbles get their tops sliced off and are worn as rings anyway.
  • 1886: Tiffany and Co. introduces the “Tiffany setting,” a six-prong ring designed to maximize a diamond’s brilliance by raising it up from the band.
  • 1920s: Manufacturers try to launch the concept of men’s engagement rings, but it sinks like a lead balloon.

As you can see, engagement traditions have changed quite a bit over the years. The important thing is, a gift is being given as a symbol of the love that the couple shares. So the ring you buy does not have to be perfect, since there is no “perfect” ring. Just focus on finding the ring that is perfect for you and your partner.

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