The engagement ring is now a very important object in the life of every couple, as it symbolizes the first really serious step of a life together. However, this was not always the case, as many years, centuries, and even millennia led to the formation of today’s customs. Thus, the history of the engagement ring did not begin today, but has now become known throughout the world.
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The role of rings in history
There have been traditions and views since ancient times that the ring worn has a personal meaning. The jewelry worn on the fingers, including the social status and wealth of the wearer, was meant to be symbolized, but they were often viewed as a lucky talisman, and of course couples were shown together by rings to the outside world. There were rings that symbolized true love; still others strictly highlighted the legal aspect of marriage.
In ancient Egypt, for example, as early as 5,000 years ago, people exchanged rings in the name of love, which they wore as a symbol of fidelity. According to the ancient Egyptians, the recurring circle, i.e. the ring itself, also symbolized strength, eternal love, and eternal life, so these early pieces can be considered the ancestors of wedding rings.
In ancient Greece, Eros became a symbol of the god of love, and then in Rome, the institution of marriage was associated with the wearing of rings. As early as the end of the first century, diamond rings were made in Rome, which were given to the young girls to be married, but these diamonds were still only uncut stones.
In medieval Europe, the bride’s father expressed that her intentions were serious, that is, that she really wanted to marry her daughter, that the groom had sent jewelry to her father, which was often a diamond ring. Probably this is how the diamond engagement ring habit developed.
Engagement ring formation
The ring has therefore had a symbolic meaning for centuries and even millennia. However, the first engagement rings were still made of iron. In 1214 III. Pope Ince introduced a waiting period between engagement and marriage, during which time the ladies had to wear the engagement certificate ring on their left hand. The spiritual tradition of this stems from the Roman and Greek religions: it was believed that the vein of love, i.e. ‘vena amoris’, runs close to the ring finger of the left hand.
First diamond engagement ring
The first diamond engagement ring was made by Archduke Maximilian of Austria, who asked for the jewel of the hand of Princess Mary I of Burgundy. Initially, the engagement diamond ring could only be afforded by the most affluent layers.
Proliferation of engagement rings
After the 1930s, thanks to a marketing team in New York employed by a certain DeBeers company, the habit of making a diamond sparkle in a real engagement ring began to spread. From here, we really connect that a diamond engagement ring actually embodies a man’s romantic feelings for a woman, a desire to live together. In itself, the recurring shape of the ring truly symbolizes eternity. Nor is it a coincidence that there was a diamond at the end of Cupid’s arrowhead, according to the stories.
The tradition of an engagement ring in Hungary
In the Hungarian context, the role of the engagement ring began to gain more and more ground around the 19th century. Increasingly, gift rings given to a girl became the actual expressions of emotions and in many cases individual girl requests were made, which included handing over the engagement ring. Their material at the time was mainly silver, sold with a heart-shaped head or three larger gems in the middle. Back then, it was only used as a pledge of love, its function has not changed today, however, the engagement ring has been given other significant roles over the years.
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Acceptance of the ring had not been a promise in the past, and it was even perfectly normal for a young lady to receive several such rings and only then was the prospective groom selected.
The concept of the engagement ring is therefore not so old from a historical point of view, but the ring and its meaning have been with us since antiquity, so even if they were not named long ago, they have symbolized togetherness almost from the beginning.
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