We are surrounded and filled with countless rules and regulations that predate our existence. Yet we never stop to question most of these traditions that we quickly take up as the norm in our daily life.
The culture of engagements is particularly a thorny issue because of the popular notion that it has to be a diamond ring. Why is this so?
The world is brimming with crystals and gems of all shapes, sizes, colors and more importantly, they are available at very affordable prices that don’t require you to break your bank trying to get them. With all those options available at your very fingertips, it’s puzzling that we still push the diamond engagement ring narrative.
This is the reason why it is interesting to find out why exactly we revere diamonds as we do and why they got to be hand-picked as the ideal engagement gem.
Why Diamonds Are Used for Engagement Rings?
First discovered in India a couple of thousand years ago, diamonds were never a jewelry charm. They were used by the mystical Indians toward bad or evil spirits worn as talismans or also used for decorative purposes.
It was only after a few hundred years of their discovery that the first man ever, Maximilian the Archduke of Austria, who proposed marriage to his long-time girlfriend, Mary of Burgundy.
This gesture set a popular trend among the upper echelon who followed suit until to this day, the proposal with and diamond engagement ring continues.
According to ancient tradition, engagement rings symbolized a husband’s ownership of his wife. Previously, a husband would give his wife two rings. A gold one to step outside with and another metal ring that she had to wear while indoors.
Thankfully, this tradition and the perceptions that went along with it have since faded away and have been replaced in meaning and significance to now reflect the love and a commitment.
Diamond engagements rings simplified greatly the bulk of material possessions that were exchanged or given by the groom to his bride. The small size of the ring that was not only a classic gem to wear packed enough value to settle that.
The general expectation was that the wife would, in times of hardship, pawn the diamond to keep the family afloat.
2.A Diamond is Forever
Diamonds were the first stones to be used on engagement rings and De Beers, the world’s dominant diamond trader was at the helm of this creation. Having discovered an ore of diamonds in South Africa, De Beers proceeded to fiercely market and promote the luxurious diamond gem.
Their most popular advertisement to date was created in 1947 featuring a now, world-famous phrase coined by a female copywriter on behalf of the marketing department.
Though it was not an immediate hit with the De Beer management, “Diamonds are Forever” rang through the airwaves and it captivated peoples’ attention and ignited their desires for the diamond engagement ring.
Soon, everyone who could afford one, got one by any means possible and this further classified it as an exclusive product available to select few. This presented the element categorization of people by social class based on whether they could afford one.
3. Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend
Two years after the De Beers diamond campaign advertisement, a singer by the name Carol Channing performed the infamous song titled “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend”.
She went into painstaking details elaborating on the importance of a diamond for a girl and fiercely demanding it from the men who were props in the video.
The song gained much public acclaim and further propelled the itching desire to nab a diamond ring.
Why is an engagement ring so important?
In respect of the customary marriage laws that state that for a marriage to fulfill its obligations as a legally binding contract an offer or consideration has to be in place to satisfy these requirements.
Because diamond engagement rings are a huge investment, they are accepted as confirmation of having met the legal obligations of marriage.
Having done this, the couple is then free to get married in whatever fashion they see fit but not a moment before.
How much should an engagement ring cost?
The popularly expected cost of a diamond, according to De Beers dictates that a man should commit his salary for about two to four months into buying the diamond ring. You don’t have to follow the notions if your finances can’t afford you that much wiggle room.
As is with most choices that you will make as a couple, the price tag of your engagement ring should be something that you both agree on. This is the very first serious conversation you and your spouse will have about money.
Navigating this brightly lit event of both your lives together will help strengthen your bond or maybe it will reveal weaknesses that you need to sort out before you take the plunge. Either way, both of you win.
It may be hard to shut off the niggling voices of your friends and family who will be constantly pushing and pulling you in different directions. However, it must be done if you are to maintain you and your partner’s sanity through this time.
In the end, after all the flashy events of the engagement party, the wedding ceremony and evening party are done, you and your spouse will be left alone to give you room to make your home.
Now that your finances are joined at the hip, your spouse’s problems become yours as well.
Making a joint plan and sticking to the budget is what will secure you a happy married life which is way more valuable than a diamond ring.
Some couples today have the diamond engagement ring notion so high in their list of marriage priorities that an engagement would never happen without a diamond ring.
Leaning on the hardiness and long-lasting properties of a diamond, most couples feel that a diamond ring symbolizes their undying commitment to each other.
For this sentimental reason, this popularized engagement ring has to be the rock of choice.
The other group of modern couples believes that the ring should be representative of their personality, character, or at least have some deep sentimental meaning behind it.
These guys don’t care about the price at all and will most likely prefer a non-diamond ring.
Most things in life, just like the diamond engagement ring are important only because we give pay so much attention to them which adds to their relevance.
This is especially true of the diamond engagement ring.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.