Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Engagement Rings: Sacred Tradition or Advertising Ploy?

I had very little idea what I would say when I began this article. Several Marry Well members asked me about the topic, and at first I was daunted at the task. Being a woman, I’ve spent very little time thinking about the selection and purchase of engagement rings. But one thing led to another, and after reading several articles and spending a lot of time in thought, I decided to take a stab at this somewhat sensitive topic.

The practice of giving engagement rings dates back to the ancient Romans. Originally these were made of iron, bronze, or sometimes gold. From these rather humble beginnings, the engagement ring tradition has grown increasingly more elaborate. In the Middle Ages, engagement rings began to include gems. Diamonds made their first appearance on the scene in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a diamond engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy. The seemingly traditional diamond solitaire didn’t appear until the end of the 19thcentury. Even so, diamonds didn’t take over the market until the 1940s, after a De Beer’s advertising campaign. The saying “a diamond is forever” hasn’t been around forever either. It was coined in the 1950s...

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