The History Behind Engagement Rings

What comes to your mind when we say, “engagement rings”? Love? A sweet, smiling couple? Diamonds? Well, you’re not alone. Our thoughts would swing towards the same direction. Engagement is an extremely important milestone in a romantic relationship. Undoubtedly, the only piece of jewel representing it holds great significance too. But how did this come to pass? Or better, since when did enigma rings become this important? Let’s find out:

In ancient times, the engagement ring was used as the symbol of a rather disturbing norm – of having “ownership” of a woman that is being passed from her father to her future husband. Nonetheless, this limiting item has gradually transitioned into something much more beautiful. Today, it stands for the promise of eternal love and companionship one makes to their beloved. Read on to find out how the gorgeous trinket transformed over the century to what it is today:

1900s

During this decade, engagement rings finally became a “thing”, but unfortunately, for the wrong reasons. Suffice to say, that women weren’t the most liberated in the early 1900s. However; later in the decade, engagement rings were accepted to be something customary to a couple’s relationship and much more romantic rather than constricting. In fact, this is the time when the left finger in the left hand began to be recognized as the designated spot for them as well as wedding rings. Common choice – Simple and solid metal band rings.

RHAPSODY Diamond IGI Certified Band Ring in 950 Platinum
RHAPSODY Diamond IGI Certified Band Ring in 950 Platinum

1910s – 20s

Leaving plain-Jane days behind, this was the time when simpler and elegant looking rings became slightly glamorous with embellishments. 4 and 6 pronged settings of solitaire stones took centre-stage. Common choice –   Solitaire diamond rings in white gold or platinum.

ILIANA 0.50 carat Brilliant Cut Diamond Solitaire Ring
ILIANA 0.50 carat Brilliant Cut Diamond Solitaire Ring

Later in the 1920s, rings got fancier with decorative collets and mountings. Step-stone setting and basic halo designs were highly preferred. Common choice – Decorative embellishment of Diamonds in white gold or platinum.

14K White Gold Diamond (Center Rnd 0.25 Ct) (I1-I2) Solitaire Ring
14K White Gold Diamond (Center Rnd 0.25 Ct) (I1-I2) Solitaire Ring

1930s

Believe it or not, engagement rings got even fancier! A visual style that we very fondly call “vintage” today took prominence. But surprisingly, another style that ruled the jewellery market was simpler round stone rings set in platinum. Common choice – Marquise shaped mounting with cluster stone setting and fancy bezel setting of Diamonds in White gold

Diamond (Rnd) Cluster Ring in Platinum Overlay Sterling Silver
Diamond (Rnd) Cluster Ring in Platinum Overlay Sterling Silver

1940s – 50s

40s may have been the time of glorious jazz and jive; but sadly, it was also impregnated with war. This also meant that people couldn’t afford to spend much time “shopping” or even had enough resources to buy a luxurious sparkler to commemorate their love for one another. Hence, rings with more metal work in the form of intricate filigree and floral carvings were highly favoured. Such rich metal work also meant that the ring did not require too big of a stone to make it stand out, therefore, proving to be super affordable even for the war-stricken. Nevertheless, stones came back in trend as the legendary De Beers popularized Diamonds with their campaign “A diamond is forever.” Common choice –  Engraved, ornate filigree in white gold with a medium sized solitaire.

Designer Inspired Diamond Ring in Sterling Silver
Designer Inspired Diamond Ring in Sterling Silver

1960s

Aah! The time of the musical revolution that were the Beatles and the rise of the “Hippie Culture”, engagement rings became synonymous to coloured gem stones usually paired with a halo design. Baguette and octagon gem cuts danced in the limelight. However, simple designs with prong setting remained a staple choice of many too. Common choice – Coloured stone in the centre with diamond halo in white gold or platinum.

Tanzanite (Cush), Natural Cambodian Zircon Ring in Platinum Overlay Sterling Silver
Tanzanite (Cush), Natural Cambodian Zircon Ring in Platinum Overlay Sterling Silver

1970s

While music lovers were dancing to Queen and David Bowie’s alter ego Ziggy Stardust, the 70s saw the now beloved “Marquise” cut gaining some fame. Nevertheless, “Emerald” cut reigned for the most part. Often inspired by the look of crowns and tiaras, bar setting became a standard choice. Common choice –  Central stone in Emerald or Marquise cut with smaller accent stones in bar setting and white gold finish.

African Ruby (Oct 8.00 Ct), Natural White Cambodian Zircon Ring
African Ruby (Oct 8.00 Ct), Natural White Cambodian Zircon Ring

1980s

Pear shaped stones were all the rage in this decade of hair-sprays and neon colours. Yellow Gold was a highly-preferred setting, probably because people couldn’t escape their love for colours even when it came to jewellery in this time. Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding in 1981 landed the duchess’ engagement ring  on the covers of top magazines inspiring many to get a similar design for themselves.  Common choice – Pear cut or brilliant cut solitaire in the centre with two taper baguette shaped accents.

ELANZA Simulated Ruby (Pear 10X7mm), Simulated Diamond Ring
ELANZA Simulated Ruby (Pear 10X7mm), Simulated Diamond Ring

1990s 

Designs similar to what was highly preferred in the 80s were popular but not without 90s new touch. Octagon cut almost replaced  the round solitaire and rings with trillion cut stones became a preferred replacement of those with baguette or round shaped accents. Most notably, this was the time when the unfairly forgotten “Marquise” cut of the 60s and 70s finally returned and majestically ruled the world of jewellery. Common choice – Marquise shaped central stone designs in platinum.

Tanzanite (Mrq), Natural Cambodian Zircon Ring
Tanzanite (Mrq), Natural Cambodian Zircon Ring

2000s

Rings with a mix of eternity band and solitaire ring designs offering a brighter and spark-lier look resided on a lot of ring fingers in this decade of hip-hop and rap. A fancy collet was often preferred as an addition to the softer design. Common choice – Three stone designs

J Francis - Platinum Overlay Sterling Silver (Rnd) Three Stone Ring
J Francis – Platinum Overlay Sterling Silver (Rnd) Three Stone Ring

2010s

Given the re-emergence of princess Diana’s famous Blue Sapphire halo ring thanks to the massively publicised matrimonial-ceremony of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in 2011; halo designs have taken the spotlight yet again. Coloured stones are highly preferred and cushion cut diamonds are all the rage. Additionally, 2010s have quickly become a time of self-expression without hesitation. So today, Diamonds are not the only best friends a girl has. People have begun going for special and meaningful stones such as birthstones or those according to their astrological signs like Topaz, Tanzanite, Opal and more. Also, who can forget everyone’s obsession with Rose Gold? Common choice – Coloured stones in cushion cut with rose gold finish and halo design.

ILIANA 18K Rose Gold AAA Maroppino Morganite (Cush 12mm, 6.50 Ct) and Diamond (SI/G-H) Ring
ILIANA 18K Rose Gold AAA Maroppino Morganite (Cush 12mm, 6.50 Ct) and Diamond (SI/G-H) Ring

Gone are the days when engagement rings were nothing more than miniature archaic hand-cuffs (Phew!) Today, they are the ultimate token of betrothment. It stands for the promise that one makes to their partner of everlasting love, respect, care, equality and understanding. Whether it’s for the man or woman of your dreams, an engagement ring holds an irreplaceable position in the hearts of all and after knowing what went behind this momentous jewellery piece, it has become all the more special, isn’t it?

Ready to pop the question? Explore our magnificent collection of engagement rings and choose your favourite today!

Congratulations to you two in advance!

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