The ring has long symbolised, with its circular shape, an abstract representation of eternity, which is why many used it to signify their union in marriage. The circle also symbolises perfection, unity, peace, holiness, and endlessness because it has no beginning and no end. People living in ancient Europe used hair knots as rings to be a symbol of love, faith, and friendship. In those ancient times engagement rings were not as lavish as they are today. A simple iron hoop was de rigueur, the ring of choice in early Roman times.
Many centuries later you would find many marriage bonds to be sealed with a plain gold band worn by both the husband and the wife. Giving the bride-to-be an engagement ring has been a time-honoured tradition for centuries. Now the engagement ring has evolved from those simpler times into what it has become in today’s society.
Engagement rings began to have a Christian meaning around the 8th century when rings were used for wedding ceremonies. Being a symbol of love, wedding rings were first mentioned in the 2nd century by the Roman poet Plautus. These were used to signify marriage in the presence of the Emperor’s image. It is also documented that Egyptians used wedding rings as a symbol of unity with their spouses. You can find wedding rings and bands prominently depicted in the hieroglyphics on the walls and tombs of the Egyptian culture. Engagement rings in those times were made of many precious metals such as copper, silver, and gold. Gold and silver however were usually used by the wealthy and more prominent people of their society. Many began to follow suit in the tradition of giving engagement rings from those early centuries.
Diamond engagement rings came into the picture much later on in society. Sometime around the 15th century it is said that a diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by the Archduke Maximilian of Hamburg. The ring set was said to have been thin with flat pieces of diamonds in the shape of an “m”. Diamonds were discovered in India around 8000 B.C. and are long thought of as signifying both strength and love. Diamonds were very rare in those times, just as they are today. These precious gem stones were prized possessions by people of authority such as kings and queens. Diamonds are one of the hardest materials known to man and can withstand high temperatures.