Precious stones of every hue adorn engagement rings as symbols of eternal love.
Bequeathing engagement rings to your beloved as a symbol of your undying love is really nothing new, but the custom actually originates from a much less romantic practice. Indeed, during ancient Roman times, wives wore rings as a marker of their husbands’ ownership.
Thankfully, this rather unsentimental convention has given way to more tender leanings in 1477, when Austria’s ruling Archduke Maximillian commissioned the very first recorded diamond ring for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, sparking a long-lasting love affair with these bejewelled creations amongst Europe’s elite.
(Chaumet Joséphine Splendeur Impériale ring / Qeelin Wulu solitaire ring / Harr Winston Golconda diamond ring)
Fast forward 470 years, and diamond merchant De Beers launched its now-iconic slogan “A Diamond is Forever” in a successful marketing campaign that saw sales surge, making diamond rings the go-to engagement gift across every corner of the globe.
(Yeol Deil diamonds ring / Piaget Treasures Collection ring / Chopard Red Carpet Collection 2020 ring / Cartier Destinée Ring)
In recent decades, however, a new trend has emerged, one that sees precious stones of every imaginable hue adorn these sought-after pieces. One particularly memorable example of this was the ring gifted to Kate Middleton by Prince William, which starred a gargantuan 12-carat oval blue sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds.
(Piaget Treasures Collection ruby ring / Tiffany & Co. True engagement rings / Stenzhorn Candy Collection ring)
But whether topped with sapphires, rubies, emeralds or more traditional diamonds, engagement rings remain the most coveted symbol of potential wedded bliss.