Many traditions in life are something we take for granted, and we don’t often stop to think about where they come from or why we do them. When it comes to wedding rings, this is no different.
When most people get engaged and married, their wedding ring has a diamond. While some other gemstones go in and out of fashion, the average bridal wedding ring in the United States includes a diamond. But, when did this trend start, and why are diamonds the main option?
If you’re curious about the history of the diamond wedding ring, here’s a brief history of how they became so popular.
Where Engagement Rings Come From
While diamond engagement and wedding rings did eventually become the norm, they weren’t always the jewel of choice. Instead, you must look back further at the tradition of engagement rings set with fancy gems.
Like many traditions, this seemed to begin in Victorian England. This was a period when showing off ornate wealth through clothing and jewelry was common for the upper classes.
So, it’s no surprise they started giving engagement rings that reflected the tastes of the time. Many of these rings did include diamonds, but they also used many other gemstones and materials.
It All Started With Ads
The history of diamonds is complex, but it mostly started with one company. Now known as De Beers, this then-cartel owned diamond mines in South Africa. And while the ethics of many of their decisions and practices are questionable, they did have some strokes of marketing genius.
While they were already working to make diamonds more popular through their advertising, things really picked up when they ran a campaign with the slogan, “a diamond is forever.” You’ve likely heard of this phrase before, as it’s become synonymous with diamond rings.
This copywriting move drew an association between a forever love and diamonds.
Are Diamonds Really Forever?
While diamonds might be seen as a long-lasting, extremely durable wedding ring material, you may wonder if this is the reality. Diamonds are indeed one of the strongest materials on earth, so the slogan wasn’t just marketing. However, they can still become damaged, so caring for diamond rings and other jewelry is still essential.
Diamonds And Controversy
The history of diamonds in regards to labor practices, colonialism, and ethics, is very complex and lengthy. You may have heard the term “blood diamonds” before. This term mainly refers to bloodshed and violence in areas like the Congo over diamonds. With diamonds being such a high-diamond product, it creates a problematic situation when big companies pay workers very little to mine diamonds in impoverished nations.
So, many people have decided to seek out alternatives that aren’t as controversial. One option many people choose these days for engagement and wedding rings is lab-grown diamonds. These have the same benefits as real diamonds, but without the messy ethics.
Changing Norms Around Engagement Rings
While real diamond rings are still popular today, many people seek a more unique option. Whether they want a lab-grown diamond or just want to create a ring that doesn’t look like what’s in the stores, many brides and grooms want to stand out.
Other gemstones are used in engagement and wedding rings, too. However, it’s still important to find options that are strong enough to withstand daily use. Otherwise, the beloved keepsake can become damaged quickly.
What about you? Do you have a diamond ring, or do you prefer engagement rings with different jewels and materials?