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The History and Evolution of Engagement Rings

By Tom McCambridge
3 min read
The History and Evolution of Engagement Rings - Holts Gems

For centuries, the tradition of giving an engagement ring to one's beloved has been an integral part of the marriage proposal. It is a symbol of love, commitment, and promise that signifies the beginning of a new life together. Over time, the design, meaning, and significance of engagement rings have evolved, making them an essential piece of jewellery for any couple.

Holts Gems is a renowned jewellery specialist based in Hatton Garden, London. Our artisans craft exquisite handmade engagement rings that stand the test of time, representing love and commitment in the most elegant way possible.

In this blog post, we will take you on a journey through the history and evolution of the engagement ring.

The earliest known reference to a diamond engagement ring was in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with a ring set with diamonds in the shape of an "M." At that time, diamonds were considered a symbol of power, wealth, and luxury, and only the rich and famous could afford them.

It wasn't until the late 19th century that diamonds became more affordable and accessible to the general public, thanks to the discovery of new diamond mines in South Africa. The De Beers company, founded in 1888 by Cecil Rhodes, started to market diamonds proactively as the ultimate symbol of love and commitment. They launched the "A Diamond is Forever" campaign in 1947, which made diamonds even more popular.

In the early 20th century, platinum became the metal of choice for engagement rings due to its durability and purity. Platinum is also hypoallergenic, making it an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin. White gold, a less expensive alternative to platinum, became popular in the 1920s.

The 1920s and 1930s were a time of great change in the world of jewellery design. The Art Deco movement brought a new level of sophistication and glamour to the engagement ring. Geometric shapes, clean lines, and bold colours were in vogue, reflecting the optimism and prosperity of the time.

During World War II, platinum was declared a strategic metal and was used for military purposes, making it scarce and expensive. This led to a surge in yellow gold engagement rings, which were more affordable and readily available.

In the 1950s and 1960s, diamond cuts became more intricate and sophisticated. The princess cut, which features a square shape and brilliant faceting, was invented in 1961 and quickly became a popular choice for engagement rings.

Today, bespoke jewellery is a growing trend, with more and more couples opting for unique and personalised designs that reflect their individual style and personality. Holts Gems is a leading diamond jeweller in Hatton Garden, London, specialising in crafting bespoke engagement rings that capture the essence of love and commitment.

The engagement ring has come a long way since its inception in the 15th century. From a luxury item reserved for the wealthy to an affordable symbol of love and commitment, the engagement ring has evolved and adapted to the changing times. 

Diamond Engagement Rings at Holts Gems 

From the style and design to the quality of the diamond or gemstone, every aspect of the ring should be carefully chosen to create a symbol of love that will last a lifetime. At Holts Gems, we continue to craft beautiful handmade engagement rings that stand the test of time and represent the ultimate expression of love. 

We pride ourselves on offering a wide variety of stunning engagement rings that are crafted with the utmost care and attention to detail. Whether you're looking for a classic solitaire engagement ring or a more intricate setting with side stones, we have a range of options to suit your style and budget.

One of the most important aspects of any engagement ring is the quality of the diamond or gemstone. We use only the highest quality materials in all of our rings, ensuring that your ring will sparkle and shine for years to come.

In addition to our wide selection of engagement rings, we also offer custom design services to help you create a truly unique and one-of-a-kind ring that perfectly reflects your love and commitment.

If you are looking for a bespoke engagement ring in Hatton Garden, contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our expert artisans.

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