Diamonds are forever but are they for everyone?
With Christmas firmly on the horizon and the New Year heralding new beginnings, it’s the perfect time to talk engagement rings.
Regardless of whether you’re single or not, engagement rings have a universal pull. It harks back to our inner magpie – things that shimmer and shine, sparkle and dazzle – will always catch our eye.
We all know what the classics look like but what about those rings which are a little bit different? If you’re looking to make one of life’s biggest questions a little more unique in a perfect style we might be able to help you find what you’ve been looking for.
A little bit of history
We’re going on a journey all the way back to 2800 BC to the land of the ancient Egyptians where the first rings symbolizing commitment can be found. Now they certainly aren’t anything close to the engagement rings we know and love today, with ancient Egyptian couples exchanging hemp or reed rings as a symbol of eternity and ever-lasting love.
The Roman’s upped the game with rings made from iron to symbolise strength and permanence and so the tradition of metal bands was born. The Romans were perhaps a little less romantic than the ancient Egyptians, with the bands being used as a symbol of possession – by giving a woman a ring, she was being claimed by that individual.
During medieval times, gold or precious metals were the materials of choice with intricate engravings starting to appear including clasped hands and heart motifs. The most well-known of these is the Irish Claddagh ring which features two hands holding a heart topped with a crown. These rings are still made and worn today and is Ireland’s traditional symbol for love, betrothal and marriage.
Does it have to be a Diamond?
We agree that it’s hard to top a Diamond: from their allure to their history they exude romance. The word ‘Diamond’ comes from the Greek word ‘Adamus’ which means ‘invincible’ – evoking images of a love so deep that nothing can shake it – every hopeless romantic’s dream. It also harks back to the immense strength and durability of Diamonds.
Diamonds are (obviously) beautiful to wear as they twinkle and sparkle and catch the light. Legend has it that Diamonds were in fact splinters of falling stars that protected those who wore them, making them more powerful individuals – now who wouldn’t want a piece of that?
The legend and folklore attached to Diamonds alone certainly pulls at our heartstrings but this spectacular symbol of love comes at a cost.
If you’re looking to get more bang for your buck there are a number of different Diamond alternatives which have a similar look and feel. For example, Moissanite a hardy, clear gemstone first discovered in 1893 is engineered to give a very similar illusion to that of a Diamond and it does a very good job at a fraction of the price.
Be a master of mystery with a precious gem which holds meaning
There’s a real trend towards couples moving away from traditional Diamond engagement rings towards striking designs which feature precious stones. For example, earlier this year model Emma Louise Connolly got engaged to TV personality turned designer, Oliver Proudlock, he proposed with an Art Deco inspired ring he had designed featuring white and black Diamonds as well as Emeralds – paying homage to the beauty’s green eyes and her favourite colour.
By embracing different stones, couples are able to create something that perhaps has more meaningful significance to them. Rubies as the saying goes are red – red is synonymous with romance and the colour of hearts and roses – all symbols of love. Rubies look beautiful paired with Diamonds and for centuries they were considered the king of all gems.
It is said that Sapphires reflect the heavens and who wouldn’t want their love to be associated with heaven? The world’s most famous Sapphire sits on the ring finger of the Duchess of Cambridge and previously belonged to one of the most photographed women in the world, Princess Diana.
It’s probably worth pointing out that many gemstones are in fact rarer than Diamonds so if you’re looking for something unique you might want to consider opting for Tanzanite, Benitoite or even Natural Pearls over Diamonds.
A 21st century romance
For some, wearing an engagement ring isn’t an option because they are prohibited by their occupation. As such, some couples are seeking an alternative to mark their commitment in a very permanent way with an engagement tattoo on their ring finger. Arguably a more painful option than wearing a sparkling rock but if it’s good enough for Beyonce and Jay-Z then who are we to argue?