Diamond engagement rings have become one of the most common fashion items. Most women either have one such ring or them long to possess one ring with a sparkling diamond on it. Diamond is the most sought after stone in any shape, size and cut. Following a huge advertising campaign in the 1940s, especially from De Beers, this stone overtook the popularity of previously popular sapphire, rubies or emeralds as the ultimate fashion item. Considering it is a common item nowadays, how much do we actually know about how diamond engagement rings came into existence?
Diamonds were initially discovered in India and Indians used them for many purposes but engagement rings were not one of those. Originally, diamonds were used for their hardness. They were used in tools to make the tool cut through other items without damaging the tool itself. In fact, even now we can see saws and drillers with diamond tips to increase their strength. Often, diamonds were worn for religious beliefs and it was believed that they keep bad forces away. Diamonds were used even as a medicine in the ancient India, believing it might cure some ailments.
Archduke Maximilian of Austria can be credited with the use of diamond engagement rings for the first time. In the year 1477, the first known commission was placed for constructing this. However, that time, the major diamond mines were not found and thus it was a very expensive affair. While it was costly, it also saw the first instance of what has become a common practice today. Due to the extreme cost, only super rich people could follow this trend in its initial days.
In the late 1800s, major diamond mines were found. These were extracted quickly and then people dug more sources out, especially in the volcanic rocks. In the early 1900s, around two tonnes of diamonds were extracted and that led to a better availability of diamonds. Advertising campaigns were launched to entice the middle class to start buying this costly stone as well. The durability of a diamond became the connotation of everlasting love and romance while its cost showed the receiver of such a ring how precious he or she is. Both of these messages, combined, made a diamond the ultimate choice for couples in love. Jewelers also responded to the newfound demand by inventing newer cuts of diamond and different new designs for princess cut diamond rings.