Every wedding begins with an engagement ring. While these beautiful pieces of fine jewelry have become a centerpiece in our traditions, the engagement ring hasn’t been around forever.
Like all things, the tradition of the engagement ring has had its roots in history. While the engagement ring dates back to ancient times, the origins of this accessory are still relevant to this day.
Where It All Began
The original tradition of the engagement ring is quite different from the one that we celebrate today. Anthropologists theorize that the history of the engagement ring began in Roman times when wives wore rings attached to small keys, which indicated that they were married.
This tradition evolved drastically and became more similar to today’s practice in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria ordered for the creation of the first diamond engagement ring for his wife-to-be, Mary of Burgundy. Since then, the trend has exploded, becoming a central part of our culture. That said, the engagement rings of this time looked much different from what we are familiar with today.
The History of the Engagement Ring throughout the Years
The original engagement rings would look alien compared to the styles we have today. It would take centuries of evolving trends to create the beautiful diamond pieces that we currently celebrate.
Each period following the Archduke Maximilian added their own spin on the engagement ring. For instance, during the Victorian period, jewelers crafted ornate engagement rings that were dressed in not just diamonds, but gemstones as well.
It wasn’t until the 1900s did the engagement ring designs of today first make a formal appearance. In the 1920s, the first diamond halos became popular amongst newlyweds. This design change took from the geometric shapes and sharp lines of the Art Deco period, and also utilized glimmering emerald cuts and Asscher cut diamonds as centerpieces.
By the 1930s, engagement ring style trends would shift again, as the world attempted to step away from the strict borders of the Art Deco period. In this new period of the history of the engagement ring, designs focused on using single round cut diamonds, with glamorous bands twisted into ribbons and bows.
By the 1950s, engagement ring styles would take another sudden turn. Thanks to Audrey Hepburn’s stunning engagement ring, stackable bands became a popular pick amongst newlyweds; this is a trend that even continues in popularity today.
Engagement ring trends continued to change over time, and designers often looked back to trends of the past. For instance, in the 1990s, trends became bolder, sharper, and unapologetically glamorous as they had been in the past. In this period, the brilliant pear cut diamond flourished.
In the 2010s, designers noticed a trend for cushion cut diamonds. The cushion cut is a glamorous cousin to the emerald-cut diamond, but thanks to its rounded edges appear far larger when worn.
The history of the engagement ring continues to change and evolve. Today, newlywed couples are leaning towards gemstones again as they had in the Victorian era, and styles once thought of as traditional are being reimagined to create modern looks that are remarkably unique. Engagement ring design trends are always in flux, and there is no telling what style might crop up next.
Keeping up with this History at Costello Jewelry Company
With our help, you can stay up to date with the ever-changing history of the engagement ring. At Costello Jewelry Company, you’ll get the opportunity to browse one of state-of-the-art showrooms located in Glen Ellyn Naperville, Illinois.
Customers are often impressed with our vast collection of not just designer engagement rings, but wedding bands, timepieces, and fine fashion jewelry pieces as well. Since 1979 we have served the nearby cities of Chicago, Wheaton, Aurora, and Downers Grove with luxury-grade jewelry and professional jewelry services such as jewelry repair, timepiece repair, and custom jewelry design.
To learn more about our sales, events, services, and products available, give us a call at (866)790-3272, or stop by one of our showrooms either in Glen Ellyn or Naperville, Illinois.