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The Humble Origins of the Engagement Ring

An engagement ring, worn as a sign of a couple’s pending marriage, is a physical token of solidarity far beyond promised words.  Have you ever wondered how this tradition all started?  The idea of giving a future wife something to show a commitment traces its origins to the Stone Age, when the man would tie braided grass around his beloved’s wrists, ankles and waist, so her spirit would be under his control.  During the Renaissance, Archduke Maximilian of Austria was the first to propose to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, with a diamond ring, but the trend only gained favor among the European nobility.  It was not until 1938, when De Beers, the famous diamond cartel, launched a massive ad campaign convincing young men that the only way to show their love and commitment was through buying diamond rings.  And, almost ten years later, they introduced the enduring slogan, “A Diamond is Forever,” spurring even greater sales.  Since then, the idea of giving a diamond engagement ring has become the unquestioned norm of today’s society.

 

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