How the ring evolved from the 1800s.
Engagement rings are, if you believe the theories that archaeologists put forward about cave-people getting engaged with twine, almost as old as mankind itself. It was the ancient Egyptians, though, that wore gold bands on the third finger of their left hands – a practice which many believe set the standard for modern engagement rings.
The first diamond engagement ring in history goes back to the year 1477. Probably considering himself the Jay Z of his era, the Archduke of Austria wished to dazzle his bride-to-be, Mary of Burgundy, and so presented her with a gold ring featuring diamonds placed in the shape of the letter ‘M’. This started a trend amongst the wealthy, which saw them all including precious stones on engagement rings.
This trend is responsible for our modern engagement rings, but it still took some tweaking. Here is a look at how engagement rings evolved since the 1400s – some fun facts that might come in useful, especially if you are looking at selling jewellery online.
1800s: The Archduke of Austria was a visionary up until Queen Victoria inspired the hopelessly romantic Brits to take jewelled rings a step further. Termed ‘Dearest Rings’, the rings that came out of this era featured diamonds, amethysts, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and topaz all on a single ring.
1867: As South Africa was making diamonds fairly accessible to the public, Tiffany & Co. defined the look of the diamond ring by having the diamond set above the surface of the ring, calling it the Tiffany Setting.
1918: Cartier’s Trinity Ring became popular at the beginning of the twentieth century. It featured three bands of yellow, white, and pink gold which signified fidelity, friendship, and love respectively.
1938: The First World War and the Great Depression pulled the public’s attention away from diamonds. But, DeBeers’ 1938 slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’ – a campaign that still has advertisers turning green with envy – proved to be very effective at selling jewellery.
1981: The ring now worn by Kate Middleton was made for Princess Diana in 1981. This ring, acknowledged to be one of the world’s most famous, consists of a sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds.
2007: Jay Z (the real one, this time) gave Beyoncé what it considered to be the most expensive ‘celebrity’ engagement ring ever. The ring, which features one the most expansive diamonds in the world, is believed to be worth roughly R110 million.
If you are selling jewellery online, that ring would certainly be a good one to own. However, selling jewellery this way – even if it isn’t quite in Jay Z’s league – is still a great way to fetch good money for your assets.