Polishing a vintage engagement ring.
Polishing a vintage engagement ring.

Blog

The Original Sapphire Engagement Ring

temp-post-image

In the Western world, there is a longstanding tradition of engagement rings being presented to women in order to propose marriage and commitment. Engagement bands began in Ancient Egypt as the circle was used to symbolize a never ending cycle and the space in it as a gateway. While both the Ancient Greeks and Romans are cited for giving away Betrothal rings as a sign of marriage, the meaning of said ring differs greatly between each culture.. Rings are placed on the fourth finger on the left hand, because Ancient Greeks believed that it contained a vein that led directly to the heart. Romans, in contrast, believed the ring to be a symbol for ownership rather than love. It meant that the husband would claim his wife.

The tradition of engagement rings as we currently know it today arose in the medieval era. In 1215, Pope Innocent III instituted a mandatory waiting period from engagement to marriage—creating a real period of “engagement.” During this same time period, it was believed that the traditional engagement stone, sapphire, would change color or fade if worn by an impure or untruthful person. It is said that the fidelity of the wives of the Crusaders was tested with sapphires when their husbands returned from their campaigns.

temp-post-image

Engagement rings as we know them today became popular in the 14th or 15th century among royal and wealthy families.Sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and diamonds were all used in these early tokens of engagement. Sapphires were favored because they symbolized romantic love, truth, and commitment.

In the 1870’s, diamonds discovered in Africa flooded the market causing prices to decline greatly. It was at this point that that diamonds were no longer only available to the noble class, and became a fitting choice for the masses.

temp-post-image