For many, engagement rings are a symbol of eternal love, and also incredibly expensive pieces of jewellery which are bought from specialist jewellers like F Hinds. Whilst they are seen as a part of tradition, they actually have a long and vibrant history, which dates right back to ancient times. They have also evolved significantly over the years, so here are some interesting facts on engagements rings through the ages.

Ancient Times

The modern day ‘diamond’ (or other precious metal/stone equivalent) ring actually had fairly humble beginnings. Ancient Egyptians have been found buried with wire wrapped around their ‘ring’ finger, perhaps one of the first instances of using this finger specifically for rings.

It is the Romans, however, who are credited with first introducing what would eventually become the traditional engagement ring. Roman women were usually given one iron ring and one gold, with the gold one being worn on the outside. The designs on the rings evolved over the years, with later Roman rings bearing intricate carvings related to betrothal.

Middle Ages

The use of precious stones in engagement rings began to appear in the Middle Ages, with rubies and sapphires becoming a common addition (most rings were also made from gold). It has also been suggested that the first ever diamond ring was given during this period.

engagement rings

Golden ring with a ruby on a black background.

Diamond jewellery became more widely available with the discovery of vast diamond reserves in Brazil in the 18thCentury. This paved the way for the development of the modern diamond ring as we know them today.

Victorian Era/Present Day

The Victorians were also known for their love of symbolism, and during the 18th and 19th Centuries, it was common for engagement rings to be adorned with symbols like hearts, hands and even dates of ceremonies.

This set the basis for wedding rings as we know them. They continued to transform throughout the 20th Century, with various designs becoming available. The traditional diamond ring held its own, though, and most modern day wedding rings come complete with an arrangement of small diamonds or one large stone.

engagement rings

Despite constantly changing in design throughout the ages, the symbolic meaning of engagement rings has always remained the same, and will likely continue to do so for many years to come. With so many changes in design, however, it will be fascinating to see how they continue to evolve in the years to come, and what new materials may be used in the rings of the future.