“When you Propose, You give the Woman a Ring of Engagement…”
Posted by Jeanne Adams Jan 19 2013, 12:40 am
“It’s Johnnnnny Cammaaaaarariiiiiii!?”
“Who are you?”
“Ronnie, Johnny’s brother….”
Do you remember this scene from Moonstruck? I LOVE the scene where Ronnie asks Loretta, just-unengaged-from-his-brother-Johnny, to marry him. “Where’s the ring?”
Johnny borrows the pinkie ring from Johnny to give to Loretta, the one Johnny had just reclaimed FROM Loretta when he tells her he can’t marry her.
One of my best friends in all the world just got engaged. It wasn’t as dramatic as Moonstruck, but I can tell you, that she just simply glows with happiness at having met the man of her dreams. Finally. It’s lovely to see.
He bought her the most gorgeous engagement ring. It’s just astonishing. And now, we’re embroiled in wedding plans, which is both fun and frustrating. I’m pouring through bridal magazines with her, which is fun and nostalgic and cool. (Frustrating only in that most of these magazines and shops predicate their work and time frames with the idea that the bride has a year to plan….They’re going for April. Of this year.)
One thing that is TOTALLY astounding to me is the change in style of engagement rings just since I got married 14 years ago. There are so many ornate styles, set with tons of diamonds, and lots of filigree work. Platinum is in, whereas yellow gold was more the thing when I got married. Fourteen years ago, ovals were a fad as well. I remember looking at LOTS of oval diamonds. Not so much anymore!
Now, let it be said that the solitaire is ALWAYS right. It’s always classic, it’s always beautiful and you can pair it with any style wedding ring and it looks flawless and fabulous. Can’t go wrong with that lovely single stone.
Looking at all of these, and talking with yet another friend who chose not to get an engagement ring – she doesn’t really wear jewelry, being a doctor – I started wondering how all this ring business began.
So, of course, I did some research. Seems the whole deal started with the Egyptians. They wove rings of hemp – yes, that stuff, because it’s very sturdy! – to signify the neverending circle of love, and placed the rings on the left hand because they believed that hand had a vein which ran straight to the heart. Pretty cool. Of course, plant material being what it is, you had to renew the vows periodically!
Which led to the Romans. They adopted all the mushy stuff from the Egyptians, but hey, they wanted permanence! Iron rings became all the rage, echoing the “key ring” and signifying that a man gave a woman the keys to his lockbox, his house, etc. when he married her. Iron, of course, being iron, wasn’t as appreciated by the Roman ladies, especially those of high status, so gold rings took on a new luster and new purpose! That’s a Roman Iron Ring. Not what I’d choose for my Big Day. Would you?
Moving forward in time through a lot of societal changes, and a lot of power plays, it’s reported that the first dude to give his betrothed a diamond ring was Archduke Maximillian of Austria in 1477. He figured if gold was good, gold with then-rare diamonds would make him THE MAN of big-time betrothals and show just how much status he had! Worked pretty well for Mary of Burgundy, I think. Ha!
Colored stones got to be a “thing” in the 1600’s with lots of brides choosing Indian Sapphires. Then once more diamonds were discovered in the Amazon, and later in the 1870’s in Africa, they became the stone to give your gal if you wanted to show her – and her daddy – that you had serious intentions.
Of course, those smart guys who formed the DeBeers Mining Co. in Africa wanted to be sure that there would always be demand, no matter how many diamonds their mines produced. Hence the ad campaigns stating “A Diamond is Forever!” “Show her your fidelity with a flawless diamond!” and “It’s an heirloom for your bride!”
An industry came into it’s own. Now they toss around the “Four C’s” (Color, Cut, Clarity, Carat weight), and the myth that it should cost you and your partner 3-month’s salary, just to show their commitment to the relationship. Grins.
My friend went back to ye olde tradition – not iron! – and chose a colored stone. She has an emerald as her center stone. It’s stunning! I know several people who’ve gone this route. One friend chose a sapphire, much like Princess Diana’s ring, now gracing the Duchess of Cambridge hand. Another friend got a diamond anniversary band and called it done. Some, like the doctor friend I mentioned earlier, have just done the wedding band.
What about you, Bandits and Buddies? What do you think of the Solitaire?
What’s your favorite shape? (Mine is the Princess cut – square – and I have it and love it!)
White gold, platinum or yellow gold?
If you’re not married, what do you think you’d like to have if you get engaged?
If you’re married, do you like your rings, or would you trade them in on a newer model?
A friend of mine “upgraded” her rings at her 15th wedding anniversary. Would you do this?
Do you like the rings with colored stones, or is the diamond your first choice?
Let’s talk rings!!
Posted in DeBeers, Engagement Rings, Jeanne Adams, Moonstruck