With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we can’t help but think of all of the #costellobabe’s who will be unwrapping something shiny on the 14th. From getting down on one knee to finding the perfect pair of earrings, jewelry has become a hallmark of the holiday. While expressions of love come in all shapes and sizes, one accessory acts as the quintessential queen of hearts— the engagement ring. A time-honored tradition that symbolizes commitment, ‘putting a ring on it’ is romance at its peak. Beyonce forever immortalized the term back in 2008 — but where did this popular practice begin?
Dating back to early Egypt, rings were viewed as an eternal symbol due to their circular shape. Typically crafted of woven reeds or leather and exchanged with loved ones, “rings of love” became part of Egyptian culture. Representative of the sun and the moon, the band with no beginning and no end began its societal ascent. Continued by the Greeks after they conquered Egypt, rings took on a devotional significance when given to a lover and commonly featured Eros, the Greek God of love. Following the ‘all is fair in love and war’ trend of the time, the Romans went on to conquer Greece and were subsequently the next bearers of the ring. Despite its previous history as an accessory that simply expressed affection, the Romans were the first to incorporate it into marriage ceremonies. Used prior to signify a business contract or to affirm mutual love and obedience, rings took time to become the romantic powerhouse they symbolize today.
Luckily, for the sake of this love story, the Roman influence contributed beauty over business with the evolution of ring design. Their biggest triumph for future brides-to-be came with the creation of Fede rings — a design that featured two hands meeting as a symbol of union. The Roman Fede ring has gone on to inspire iterations across Europe — most notably the Irish Claddagh ring, which remains popular to this day. Another remnant from the OG days of the ring that’s made it to modern day is the finger on which it is worn. Aptly nicknamed the ring finger, the ancient Egyptians believed that the fourth finger housed a vein with a direct line to the heart. While this belief has been debunked, the sentiment and tradition remain the same — talk about tugging at our heart strings!
Another aspect of the engagement ring that seems like a classic but is surprisingly modern is the introduction of diamonds. Synonymous with saying ‘I love you’, diamonds are currently the most popular stone in the engagement game. Accounting for more that 85% of rings today, this multifaceted stone has only been the standard since 1947. Despite the fact that the diamond engagement ring had made its debut nearly 500 years prior, the introduction of the phrase “diamonds are forever” cemented it as the ultimate symbol of not only status but relationship as well. While brides are still gravitating towards the gorgeous stone in record numbers, unique colors, cuts and stones other than diamonds are also finding their place in the bridal spotlight. Our advice for proposal hopefuls ahead of VDay— go for the stone that shines as bright as your beloveds’ personality. Whether you keep it classic or go for a distinctive design, remember that ‘I do’ is about your partner and you! Lots of love — xx