Diamonds, being the strongest, most beautiful stones on the market, have signified strength and beauty for ages. They are the classic symbol. It’s not wonder then, that when a man pops that eternal question, he also presents a gorgeous diamond engagement ring. Although it’s been customary for centuries for a man to present a woman with a ring to signify his promise of commitment, the ring he’s presented her with has not always been a diamond ring.
Let’s look at the history though. Many anthropologists believe that the tradition of giving of rings started with a Roman custom, one in which wives wore rings attached to keys to show their husband’s ownership of them. The first recording of a diamond engagement ring was made in 1477 as Archduke Maximillian of Austria presented his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy with just such a ring. This act sparked a trend that would continue for centuries among the nobility of Europe. The look of diamond engagement rings morphed in the Victorian era as the popular ornate filigreed look of the time was king. The Victorians added elements like gemstones and precious enamels to the mix and crafted rings in floral and other decorative shapes. During the Edwardian age, diamonds were often mounted on filigree settings.
Now to the history of diamonds. In the 1870s, diamonds were discovered in Africa. Financed by De Beers, mines quickly sprang up in response and miners streamed there hoping to hit it rich. At this point, the uber rare stone became less rare and more affordable to a larger number of people. Prior to that point, other stones has been equally popular, but soon after, diamonds became the way to go. During the Great Depression, the demand for diamonds dwindled in the U.S. due to widespread financial hardship. This decline prompted De Beers to initiate an aggressive ad campaign featuring photographs of the most glamorous movie stars all decked out in carats and carats of diamonds. It did not take long–3 years to be exact–for the demand for diamonds to climb once again, the demand increasing by 50 percent.
1947 was the year that De Beers, eager to make diamonds even more popular presented to the public their ad campaign with that classic slogan, “A diamond is forever,” bringing to be even more sales. This ad campaign’s genius was its ability to awaken in men their conviction that just as a diamond could last forever, they would love their wives forever and their wives would love them for that same eternity. This romantic ideal of love extending even beyond death was immensely appealing and cemented the diamond’s symbolic significance and its popularity.
Now for recent times. In 1992, the average man could buy the average diamond engagement ring for the average cost of $1,500. Today, that price has more than tripled, putting the average cost of a diamond ring at close to $5,000. Consistently, the round cut has been the most preferred cut, the round brilliant to be more specific with its 58 facets divided between the stone’s top and bottom half. Other popular styles–though less popular–are the princess cut, the emerald cut, and the oval cut. Recently, a popular trend has been the custom cut.
For experts in the diamond business, seek the advice of Davidson Jewels, a leader in the business.