Who gave the first known diamond engagement ring? We’ll tell you the fascinating history behind the diamond ring and show you why it has become a long-lasting trend.
Have you ever wondered who gave the first diamond ring for an engagement?
Who started the engagement ring tradition? And why do we give a diamond ring to signify an engagement?
The story is fascinating and I’ve wondered about it myself many times. Let’s do some history book exploring! :)
The Story of the First Diamond Engagement Ring: Who Started It?
If he knew how popular the tradition would become, the Archduke Maximilian of Austria probably would have tried to bank on the whole ‘three-month’s salary’ idea and make a little profit off of his grand gesture. :) According to history, the first known use of a diamond as an engagement ring was by Archduke Maxmimilian of Austria, who, in 1477, fell in love and wanted to wed Mary of Burgundy.
He proposed to her with the first ring with a diamond in history: it was made with tiny pieces of diamonds to spell out her initial M.
After he did it, the rest is history, as they say; the diamond ring trend took off in later years, but it foremost became the biggest sign of wealth and importance in the 1480s. For hundreds of years thereafter, others sought to prove their love — along with social status and class — and show off their wealth by presenting the love of their life with a diamond engagement ring.
Now the diamond is a part of classic engagement ring tradition.
Why Was the First Engagement Ring Stone a Diamond?
Diamonds were able to be cut into very small pieces using a crude method of cutting facets. Since he wanted to show his love and propose to Mary, the Archduke cut a diamond into little pieces and formed an “M” initial on a ring for her.
She said yes, the whole crowd cheered, and everyone celebrated their engagement. Actually, I’m not sure how it went down after that, but it is what I imagine.
I don’t think Mary of Burgundy was too worried about the cut, color, clarity, and carat of her diamond ring.
In fact, I think she was just delighted he took the time to spell out her initial in diamonds! The Archbishop proved with the first known diamond engagement ring that it is truly the thought that matters… and it launched an amazingly unique diamond proposal tradition for years to come.
Who would’ve known?
While today’s diamond engagement rings look much different — and the tools and machinery available are modernized — his ring is still notably the first known of its kind to ever be given in history.
When Did Diamonds Become Popular?
Just because it was the engagement ring to feature the stone doesn’t mean the trend took off immediately. People used it as a way to show off their wealth, yes… but the truth is, diamonds became the most popular at the height of the 1930s when diamond retailer, DeBeers, launched a unique campaign where the tagline describes how a diamond stone lasts forever.
That ad campaign skyrocketed diamond sales and engagement rings with diamonds became the standard. Everyone wanted one and it was even believed you needed to spend three months of your salary on one to buy the biggest carat you could. The first engagement ring didn’t quite cause that much of a stir, but the aforementioned campaign surely did.
Do Engagement Rings Have to Be Diamond?
Today it is increasingly popular to wear any kind of engagement ring you’d like, diamond or otherwise. In fact, while diamond engagement rings continue to be all the rage, it isn’t surprising that many couples are embracing non-traditional engagement rings for a unique twist. I think the Archduke would be impressed to know that many of the popular trends includes raw diamonds, which may resemble the first diamond engagement ring even more closely. This is because the look of raw diamonds are much more rugged and rough vs. the polished diamond stone you see today. However, they are beautiful in their own unique way.
ON TO YOU:
Are you wearing a diamond ring or opting for something different? We’d love to hear about the ring you choose! Tell us in the comment box below.
An interesting story, nonetheless!