Have you ever wondered how the idea of an engagement ring got started? The history of the engagement ring is a storied one and quite interesting. I promise that it isn't a gigantic scheme by the jewelry industry to sell precious gems and metals, that honor is reserved for Valentine's Day! That might be a joke, I'm not really sure.
What I do know is that engagement rings are ingrained in modern culture and are the very best way to show your commitment to the one that you love. Not only is it a symbol to other potential suitors that they're too late, but it will remind your betrothed of your mutual promise every single day!
While not breaking your promise should come naturally, that ring will still need regular maintenance just like a relationship! Simple Shine has you covered on all fronts. Our shine stick diamond cleaner will keep the ring sparkling like new and is portable enough to maintenance that engagement ring anytime. If you're looking to be a bit more thorough I'd highly recommend an all natural jewelry cleaning kit!
History of Engagement Rings
Now that you've got that engagement ring looking fine with a shine, it's time to discover what made it become a must-have for any serious relationship. The first recorded instance of an engagement ring was a ring commissioned by Archduke Maximillian of Austria in 1477. His betrothed was Mary of Burgundy, and this act sparked a huge trend for diamond engagement rings among European nobles and aristocrats.
There were rings before this point, but they certainly weren't made of diamond. The Ancient Egyptians exchanged rings that were made from braided reeds. Now that's cost-effective! They saw the circle as a symbol of eternity, and that interpretation has managed to stick around. The Egyptians also wore the ring on the left ring finger, which apparently had a vein that ran directly to the heart, called the vena amoris. This is another tradition that has become inseparable from the engagement ring. You have to be impressed with the longevity here!
In the 2nd century B.C. Pliny the Elder described the engagement process of the ancient Romans. During the engagement a woman was given a golden band to wear. She would wear this gold band at special events and ceremonies. Once the marriage ceremony took place, it was exchanged for an iron band that was worn at home to symbolize her husband's ownership. Not exactly the most romantic process, but it was a very different time to be alive... Still, it's amazing how much Egyptian traditions stuck around while the Roman ones fell by the wayside.
Back to Austria
Rings didn't have stones or adornment of any kind for an extremely long time. They consisted of just a simple metal or even braided band worn on the finger. These were where the idea of engagement rings started, but where did the precious gems that adorn them originate? This all brings us back to that diamond engagement ring in 1477. From this point on diamonds were the chosen stone to signify the eternity symbolism that began with the simple circle shape of the ring. It makes a fair amount of sense, since diamonds are some of the hardest stones. They seem indestructible, just like lovers want their love and marriage to be.
The truth is, that around half of all marriages won't stand the test of time. When the breakup comes, who gets legal ownership of the ring? It might seem like a petty question to those that don't place too much emphasis on material possessions, but the average engagement ring costs around $4,000 which is no small chunk of change to just walk away from. Personally? I probably would simply let it go just to have the situation over and done with, but that largely depends on the level of scorn that I felt. Thankfully I've never experienced this myself, but the question still begs to be answered.
Well, the ownership of the ring varies from place to place obviously. Some jurisdictions will consider it a gift and offer no recompense, but others claim it is the property of the purchaser until the legal agreement of marriage is met. I can't speak from the law and order side of things, but I do know a thing or two about etiquette. It's generally accepted that whoever initiates the breakup loses the ring. Sometimes pinpointing exactly who walked away first is simple, other times? Not so much.
For instance, let's say that the betrothed cheats on their spouse-to-be but never actually broke up with them. The spouse finds out and breaks the engagement off with the cheater, but who gets the ring when all is said and done? You might go to a couple of different courts and get a variety of different answers, but in my view the cheater should lose the ring every time. They might not have broken up directly, but actions speak far louder than words.
Conclusion on Engagement Rings
I hate to go out on a sour note, so I will conclude by stating that marriage is a beautiful union between to people. It isn't for everyone and that's just fine. Some people spend their entire lives together with no official contract, but my personal opinion is that the binding legal agreement does a fine job of forcing two people to work out some differences that might cause most non-married couples to simply part ways. Even if you never decide to get married, a pair of couple's promise rings might be exchanged because a ring is really all it takes to solidify the bonds between two people. Always be understanding and patient with your partner and an engagement will blossom into a wedding, which can then lead to a lifetime of happy memories.