There are several pieces of conflicting information when one tries to study the origins of diamond ring and its traditions. The tradition of diamond engagement rings had its beginnings in ancient Roman wedding when the groom gave a ring to his bride-to-be as a mark of public announcement that a contract of engagement had been made between the two families. <br />
For reasons not known, the diamond ringwas a very plain, undecorated band not always made of gold. It was a public sign that the ownership of a woman was about to be transferred from her father to another man who will become her husband. It was presumably for this reason; men did not wear any form of diamond engagement or wedding ring. <br />
One thing is clear that the ancient Romans were passionately fond of diamonds. They believed diamonds had romantic powers and they were splinters from falling stars that tipped the arrows of Eros - the God of Love. However, the diamond engagement ringsas we know them today were not used in Italy till the 13th century. <br />
Modern Italian engagement rings now feature diamonds in a variety of settings, and Italian wedding rings are also often diamond set with a single stone for a man and a circle of multiple diamonds - signifying undying love - for the bride's ring.<br />A Venetian wedding held in 1503 refers to a gold wedding ring worn by one Mary of Modina. Many records suggest that the Venetians were the first to discover that the diamond is one of the hardest, most enduring substances of nature, and that fine cutting and polishing enhances its brilliance. <br />
The association of diamond ringswith weddings also has its origin in ancient Egypt where people viewed the diamond as a symbol of eternity and the practice of exchanging rings as a promise of eternal love after wedlock. <br />It was only towards the end of the Middle Ages, that we find documentary evidence of offering of a diamond engagement ring. The story goes that a love struck Austrian named the Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg ordered a diamond ring as an engagement present for his ladylove, Mary of Burgundy, who is thought to be the first bride ever to receive a diamond engagement ring.<br />
For Roman Catholics, the official acceptance of diamond engagement ring came in A.D. 860 when Pope Nicholas I decreed that an engagement ringshould become a required statement of nuptial intent. <br />One of history's earliest diamond engagement rings was also its smallest, worn by a two-year-old bride. The ring was designed and made for the betrothal of Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII, to the son of King Francis I. <br />
In the United States, the present day common practice of offering a diamond engagement ringwas not in vogue until the 1840s and even during those early days, the diamond rings were given to both the bride and groom. The actual tradition of a man buying an expensive diamond ring for his fiancée in order to legitimize a marriage proposal became commonplace only during the twentieth century both in USA and many other parts of the world.<br />
By the turn of the sixteenth century, the diamond engagement ring had become the most sought-after piece of jewelry in most European countries. But it was during the close of the19th century, after the discovery of diamond mines in South Africa, that prices of diamonds somewhat nosedived and Americans regularly started to give their brides diamond engagement rings.<br />The recognition of diamond engagement ring as an essential component for a proper wedding engagement was due to the path-breaking marketing campaign in 1947 by DeBeers. The campaign made the slogan "A Diamond is forever" popular and characterized diamonds as a symbol of matrimonial love and lifelong commitment and was also declared as the best slogan of the 20th century by the Advertising community. <br />
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