What You Should Know about Engagement Rings
As implicit from the name, engagement rings refer to rings given and worn as a sign of betrothal. They show that the individuals wearing them have agreed to enter into marriage with their partners. Engagement rings are worn to show that marriage has been promised to another person or to indicate that the wearers are already affianced to their partners.
Different types of rings can be used as engagement rings. But rings featuring diamonds are mostly used. However, other gemstones can also be used to create engagement rings. In the Western cultures especially in the UK, North America and Ireland men proposes marriage to their women with engagement rings. If a woman says yes to a man’s marriage proposal, she will accept the rings. But if she rejects the proposal, she will not accept the wedding.
There are different practices regarding the right finger to wear engagement rings. Traditionally, in the western cultures, they are worn on the left hand ring finger. But there are cultures where it is not worn in the left hand ring finger or where they are worn initially worn in the left hand ring hand and changed to the right ring hand after marriage as it is the case in Brazil. In some western cultures, engagement rings are not thrown away after marriage. They are normally worn together on the same finger with wedding rings.
Difference between engagement rings, promise rings and wedding rings
Engagement rings look similar to wedding rings but they are not the same. The major difference between them is that engagement rings are worn earlier before marriage takes place. Besides this fundamental difference, there are also little differences in appearance. Engagement rings are much gaudier or showier than wedding rings. This does not mean that wedding rings are not flashy. However, people tend to use simple rings for wedding after using expensive ones for engagement given that they are both worn on the same finger.
They are also sold at a higher price than wedding rings. They can be sold separately. There also some sold in sets together with wedding rings. If you are buying them separately, it is important that you buying rings that goes well with each other in terms of style and design. The ones sold in sets match in design and style.
Promise rings differ from engagement rings. They are given prior to engagement to express commitment to the relationship. They are generally tinier than engagement.
Meaning of engagement rings
Engagement ring symbolises one’s commitment to a relationship or promise to enter into marriage with another person. However, this was not the original meaning attached to both rings. In the ancient times, braided grass rings were used for wedding as a means of bringing one’s partner’s spirit under control. About the second century, grooms started engaging with their brides with rings made from gold. But they were wedding them with iron rings as a symbol of binding legal agreement and also to indicate that wives were owned by their grooms. There are some women who avoid engagement and wedding rings because of this medieval meaning of ownership attached to it. It has no such significance today in most cultures. It is simply a symbol of betrothal or promise to marry another person.
History of Engagement ring
There were records of the use of engagement rings among the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. However, information about the use of engagement rings in the ancient time is dependably obtained from the historical records of the ancient Romans. The practice of wearing the engagement rings on the left ring finger or left finger nearest to the little finger dated back to the ancient Roman. It was believed that the vena amoris (the vein of love) leading to the heart was contained in the left ring finger. In the Attic Nights which is an ancient roman literature written by Aulus Gellius, this vein was described as a nerve or sinew. Henry Swinburne popularised this idea in his “A Treatise of Spousal, or Matrimonial Contracts.”
However, betrothing with engagement rings as it is practised today dated back to the medieval period during the time of Pope Innocent III in the year 1215. The Pope during this time made it compulsory for couples to wait for some time after their engagement before they were wedded. The compulsory waiting periods instituted by the Pope gave rise to the tradition of engagement as we have it today.
However, at this initial stage, the engagement rings made from precious gemstones were very expensive and could only be purchased by well-to-do noble families. Simple metal bands were used as engagement rings them. However, with improvement in the living standard and economic situation of the people, many grooms were able to purchase engagement rings made from precious gemstone. Different stones were now used in creating engagement stones. People started customizing their rings with personal signification.
Various designs of engagement rings emerged. One of the popular designs contained the birth stones of engaged groom and bride and those of their parents. In the Victorian tradition, various gemstones which include Lapis Lazuli, Opal, Vermarine and Emerald were used in creating engagement rings. The acronym LOVE was drawn from the initial of these gemstones. Other stones whose initials spelled out words such as ‘dearest’ and ‘regards’ were also used in creating engagement rings by different people as a way of customising their rings and giving them personal meaning.
In the contemporary societies, the tradition of engagement rings continues. There are still different kinds of engagement rings made from different gemstones. However, the commonest gemstone used in creating engagement rings especially in US and UK is diamond solitaire. The De Beers advertising campaign in the 1940s largely contributed in popularising diamond engagement rings. However, other gemstones are used in creating engagement stones in countries like France.
The truth is that there are different practices in different cultures. Even though there is much similarity among various cultures, the meaning attached to engagement rings also depends to a certain extent on a culture. For example, some cultures require expensive engagement rings as a way of indicating a man’s commitment to a woman. In some countries like German, Sweden and Denmark men and women put on engagement rings.
The cost of engagement rings
As it has said above, engagement rings can be created with various types of gemstones. These gemstones do not have the same quality and they are not sold at the same price. Given this, engagement rings are sold at various prices. There are a number of factors that determine the price of an engagement ring. The first factor is the type of gemstones used in creating them. Engagement bands created with expensive and highly valuable gemstones are very costly. Bands made from diamond and gold for example are highly expensive. The cost will be higher if the gemstone is rarer.
Another factor that determines the cost of an engagement ring is the weight of gemstones used in creating it. Diamond bands for example are weighed in carat. Rings that weigh higher will cost more than those that weigh lower. Other properties of a gemstone such as its cut, clarity and colour are taken into consideration by the sellers of engagement rings.
Another factor that influences the prices of engagement rings in the market today is their designs. There are simple designs and complex designs. Some designs are made with just one gemstone while others are created with various gemstones. There are some designs that require more quantity of precious stones in order to be created than others. This is the reason why the design of an engagement ring will determine its cost.
Engagement rings are available in various price ranges. So, even if you are on budget, you will still find an engagement ring that will suit your budget. However, many people today are using expensive engagement rings because of many reasons. Some people keep them as heirlooms for their families. There are some people that buy expensive ones just for investment purposes. Such people sell them if they experienced financial difficulty.
Different types of engagement rings
There are many engagement rings as there are many jewellers. Here are some of the popular types of engagement bands.
It is classic style of engagement ring. It has a slender band embellished with a single diamond. Different gemstone can be used in creating the band. So, the price depends on the type of gemstone used in creating it. A type made with white or yellow gold is not as expensive as a type made with platinum.
As implicit from the name, the engagement rings and wedding ring are paired and sold together as one. Each of the rings matches the styles of the other. Once you buy the set, you don’t need to buy another wedding ring again.
Solitaires with side accents
This is a type of solitaires engagement ring whose shank holds smaller accent diamonds in addition to the bigger diamond at the centre. Solitaires with side accents are available in a number of styles just like other types of engagement rings. A number of gemstone can also be used in creating the band.
Three stone rings
The band of a three stone ring comes with three central stones which stand for the wearer’s past, present and future. The central stones are normally created from diamonds. The bands can be made from yellow or white gold or any other gemstone.
Other types are
- Fancy shapes
- Bug rocks
- Split-shank setting
- Major sparkle