Engagement Rings

Written by Serena Berger
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Kudos to you if you're considering something other than a diamond solitaire for an engagement ring! Since ancient times, people have given rings as tokens of engagement or marriage, and throughout most of history, those rings were not diamonds. In fact, you can thank or blame (depending on your perspective) no one but De Beers for the modern idea that engagement rings are supposed to be diamonds.

These folks gained control of a rapidly increasing supply of South African diamonds in the late 1800s, and were distressed when diamond sales declined by about fifty percent over the next forty years. They figured their best option was to control demand as well as supply, so they went to work. With an aggressive advertising campaign undertaken in 1939, De Beers quickly convinced most of this country, Europe, and then the rest of the world with disposable income that diamonds are the supreme symbol of love and the only acceptable stone in an engagement ring.

Engagement Rings from Different Cultural Traditions

If you have a deep respect and affinity for traditions, then, this probably isn't the one you really want. You have lovely traditions to choose from if you're Greek, Italian, Spanish, German, Irish, English, French, Egyptian, Middle Eastern, Asian ... the list is endless. Pretty much any culture has a tradition from which you can choose, and most of them don't cost anywhere near as much a diamonds. You're by no means bound by your ancestors' ethnicity, either--if you like a Claddagh, you should get one!

Some people will make a decision about what kind of ring to get based on the story of its origin. A puzzle ring, for example, may not seem inherently very romantic, but in context, it might be your ideal engagement ring. An engraved ring or poesy ring is special because of what you choose to have inscribed on it, and that can make for the most perfect engagement ring of all.


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