Why Diamonds Are Used for Engagement Rings

Every young woman dreams of getting her first diamond engagement ring from the man she hopes to marry as the token of his eternal love. The reasons why diamonds are used for engagement rings go back many centuries.

History of why diamonds are used for engagement rings

Known as the ultimate symbol of commitment, diamond engagement rings represent the hopes of a lasting marriage because the stone is not only stunningly beautiful, but also tough and resilient. Tradition holds that engagement rings should be worn on the left ring finger beside the wedding band. Ancient Greeks are said to have started this custom because they believed that the vena amoris vein, located in this finger, was a direct line to the heart.

For several centuries, the tradition of giving diamond engagement rings was limited to the world's richest citizens. It wasn't until 1870, when several diamond mines were discovered in South Africa, that diamonds became more affordable and sales began to boom in Europe and America.

Diamond engagement rings in the United States

During the late 1930s, the United States became the top market for quality diamonds. When Europe turned into the battleground in World War II, the U.S. surged as the prime market for world diamond production. Young lovers haven't looked back since that time. Diamond engagement rings continue to be every modern woman's favorite token of lasting love.

Settings for diamond engagement rings have evolved as far as different styles over the centuries. Simple solitaire settings were introduced in the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, settings with multiple diamonds grew in popularity in the U.S.

Platinum was the early metal of choice for diamond engagement rings because of its durability and strength. During World War II, white and yellow gold replaced platinum because it was restricted to military use only. Both remain popular.

Also popular is the addition of sapphires, emeralds or rubies to more expensive diamond settings. A classic is the diamond-and-sapphire engagement ring that Prince Charles gave to Princess Diana and that Prince William gave to Kate Middleton upon their engagement.

Well into the 21st century, diamond engagement rings enjoy worldwide acceptance in most developed countries. They become valuable heirlooms in many families. Even if the woman receiving the heirloom ring doesn't want an antique setting, she can have it reset in a modern style that better suits her taste. It's the everlasting diamond stone that never changes and that continues to be why diamonds are used for engagement rings.

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