One of the first recorded accounts of an engagement ring was in 1477...
when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a diamond ring. Maximilian wed Mary within 24 hours, thus beginning a tradition that has spanned centuries and continues to this day.
“The tradition of placing both the engagement ring and wedding band on the fourth finger of the left hand stems from a Greek belief that a vein in the finger, the vena amoris, runs directly to the heart.”
The Victorians popularised ornate engagement ring designs that mixed diamonds with other gemstones in precious metals. The Victorians often crafted engagement rings in the shape of flowers; these were commonly known as “posey rings”. Diamond rings crafted during the Edwardian era continued the tradition of pairing diamonds with other jewels, commonly mounted in filigree settings.
One of the most well-known Victorian style rings belongs to The Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton. Originally belonging to Princess Diana, the ring was valued at £28,000 when Prince Charles presented her with it upon their engagement. The inherited jewel showcases a 12 carat sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds and is now said to be worth three times more than the Queen’s engagement ring which is valued at £100,000.
After Maximilian’s proposal, diamonds were reserved for royalty and the very wealthy for the next four hundred years. This was the case until 1870, when the discovery of diamond mines in South Africa meant they became more accessible and available to the public.
The DeBeers Company was the sole owner and operator of these newly discovered mines in South Africa. In the 1930’s, when demand for diamond rings declined in the U.S during hard economic times, the DeBeers Company began an aggressive campaign using photographs of glamorous movie stars swathed in diamonds. Within three years, the sales of diamonds had increased by 50 percent.
With the popularisation of the diamond, engagement ring settings became more about showing the pure beauty and precision of the diamonds cut. The Tiffany setting was introduced in 1886 by Charles L Tiffany of the world renowned jewellers Tiffany & Co. The simple six and four claw settings became more and more popular since it offered security for the diamond and allowed sufficient light to enter the stone to maximise sparkle. In particular the Tiffany setting allows more light to enter the stone as the diamond is raised above the finger. This raised setting and the use of platinum were universally adopted for diamond engagement rings and both have become the setting of choice for a diamond, providing a simple yet highly effective method of securing the stone.
Over the years, the most popular cut for diamond engagement rings has been the round brilliant, consisting of 57 or 58 facets that divide the stone into a top and bottom half. Other popular shapes include the princess cut, the emerald cut and the oval cut, with the cushion cut also gaining popularity as a recent trend.
There are no countless designs to choose from, from the very classic cluster to the modern tension-set solitaires.
Just like the long history of the engagement ring, Pravins shares this passion and an understanding of enduring style. Each stage of our jewellery’s design and creative journey is thoughtfully planned. From the love injected into the design process of every collection, to the thorough care with which we hand select each diamond for virtually all of our engagement rings. This dedication ensures that your engagement ring becomes a future family heirloom.
Are you ready to pop the questions? We’ve love the opportunity to show you the full collection of engagement rings Pravins have to offer; so why not book an appointment in one of our boutiques and start your journey today.