When we see a man get down on his knee and pull out that tiny box, we all know what he’s about to ask. But what our eyes really focus on is what’s inside of that box. Like Beyonce said, “if you like it then you should have put a ring on it.” But what we don’t see is the history behind the engagement rings and how this global trend actually started.
It all started with an ad
There’s an argument about when the first engagement ring appeared. Some say it went back as far as Ancient Egypt, however, the first documented evidence of an engagement ring was in the 15th century. This was when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a gold diamond. However, what really jumped started the idea of engagement rings was an ad campaign in the 1930s with the “A Diamond is Forever” slogan. And from there, the ball started rolling with diamond sales increasing from $23 million to $2.1 billion between 1939 and 1979.
People wear engagement rings differently
Most of us think that traditionally, we all wear our engagement rings on the left hand. However, all nations are different and how they wear the ring varies from country to country. For example, if you’re from Canada, the UK, the USA, or France, you’ll wear your engagement and wedding rings on the left hand. If you’re from Russia or India, you’ll wear them on your right hand.
What did they actually symbolize?
Today, an engagement ring may symbolize love and commitment, but throughout history, the engagement ring was a symbol of a business contract. The “diamond is forever” campaign was simply a marketing ploy to get the masses believing it was a tradition and a “must-do” in order to propose marriage to someone. Though today, regardless of its initial purpose we still use engagement rings, as they now signify what marriage is about: a mutual commitment.
A shift in traditions
Previously, choosing an engagement ring was left to the man. It was assumed that he knew his soon-to-be fiance well enough to pick out a ring that she would love. Plus, it added an element of surprise when he’d show the ring. However, those times have changed and now, more than 50% of men consult their girlfriend when it comes to choosing the ring.
Millennials are changing the ring industry
Up until today, if there was no engagement ring, there would be no wedding. The engagement ring was the thing you needed if you wanted to take that next step. But, millennials are actually changing the rules. Yes, they may seem superficial, however, 55% of millennials sold diamonds in order to prepare for their future. On top of that, 69% are looking for alternative engagement rings which don’t have the hefty price tag of a diamond. Though millennials want to show that they love their partner, they’re also more practical than other generations before them.