For many married couples-to-be, finding the perfect engagement ring is one of the most exciting steps in the run-up to getting married. Yet this longstanding, romantic tradition isn't as typically straightforward as it looks; potential buyers should consider several factors before buying. To demystify the sometimes-intimidating purchase, we're breaking down some basic knowledge about engagement ring history, styles, care how-tos, and ways to wear. Read on for the five key facts you need to know before taking the plunge.
Surprising Facts You May Not Know About Engagement Rings
The history of engagement rings can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, where pharaohs wore circular reed and hemp bands to symbolize eternity, much like the sun and moon. It wasn't until 850 CE, however, that the engagement ring was given official significance as a promise of marriage by Pope Nicholas I.
Ancient Romans wore rings as symbols of love and commitment between spouses. Customarily, Roman brides were presented with two engagement rings: one of iron to be worn at home and another of gold to be worn while out in society.
Round brilliant cut diamonds are by far the most sought-after centrepiece in diamond engagement rings, followed by princess, emerald, oval, and cushion cuts. In terms of settings, simple solitaires are the go-to for many, followed by halo and vintage styles. Custom-made rings have also become increasingly popular as couples find the gesture more heartfelt, while the process can be highly customized to meet their needs and budget.
As per tradition, a groom will spend two to three months of his salary on an engagement ring for his bride-to-be. This publicly demonstrates his commitment to her and his willingness to take responsibility for their union.
The most expensive engagement ring belonged to actress Grace Kelly. The 10.48-carat emerald cut diamond ring, presented to Kelly by Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956, was worth $4 million. Today, adjusted for inflation, it's valued at a cool $44.3 million. The ring now sits with the reigning House of Grimaldi of Monaco.
Are There Different Types Of Engagement Rings?
Yes, the possibilities for engagement ring design are virtually boundless. Some popular types include solitaire rings with a single diamond or gemstone, halo rings with accenting stones, and eternity bands with diamonds or gemstones set in a continuous row. Popular engagement ring metals include yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum.
But perhaps the most important decision you'll make involves the 4Cs of diamonds: cut, colour, clarity, and carat. These values speak to a particular gem's qualities — no two diamonds are ever the same — and will determine the ring's overall quality and price.
Is There A Right Way To Wear An Engagement Ring?
Though it may vary from culture to culture, generally the engagement ring is worn on the fourth (or ring) finger on the left hand. After the wedding ceremony, usually wedding band is worn first before engagement ring so that the wedding ring is placed closer to the heart. There are also some who move their engagement ring to the right hand entirely with the wedding ring replacing it on the left hand.
Again, you don't necessarily have to abide by traditional rules when it comes to wearing your engagement ring. You could always wear it on a chain around your neck, or on a completely different finger if you'd like!
Wearing An Engagement Ring For Daily Use
So many couples end up investing in quality, timeless engagement rings, only to keep them in a box and never wear them. In general, it's perfectly safe to wear your engagement ring on a day-to-day basis. This is a great way to flaunt your commitment to your partner and always have a reminder of your love with you throughout the day.
However, if you're someone who works with their hands or with harsh chemicals, it may be a good idea to take your ring off during those activities. Additionally, wearing your ring in a pool, hot tub, or outdoors during extreme weather can take its toll on your precious piece. If you do find yourself in one of these scenarios, simply take your engagement ring off and store it in a dry, safe place before you jump in or start your work.
From historical origins to modern trends, each ring carries a unique tale of love and commitment. For a more complete overview on engagement rings, see our comprehensive guide. Whether it's a classic solitaire or a custom-made design, let your engagement ring reflect your style and the enduring promise of your journey together. Explore our wide range of engagement rings at Diamond & Platinum today and find the right one for your beloved!