If you rewind back in time, you’ll find that the diamond engagement ring made its debut in medieval times. This is the timeframe when gems in general became part of wedding rings, but the diamond held an especially regal position that has continued to be our tradition in modern times.
During these times, the diamond was seen as a symbol of endurance and continuous love. A diamond is a stone with such great strength, its ability to withstand great pressure and indestructibility that it seemed like a natural segue to use this stone as a symbol for marriage—a constitution that represents undying love and endurance.
In modern times, the bride-to-be wears the diamond engagement ring on her left finger, which is the hand that is closest to the heart. Other experts and gemologists argue that wearing the diamond ring on the left hand originates from an ancient Roman belief. According to the Romans, wearing a diamond on the left side makes the wearer brave and provides the wearer with strength. While the Romans primarily associated this with soldiers going into battle, it rings true to the characteristics that both a bride and groom need to enter into a marriage as well.
Today, the primary purpose of an engagement ring symbolizes an intention to marry. When a man asks a woman to marry him, he slips an engagement ring on her left ring finger as a symbol that the man and woman have entered into an agreement to love and stay faithful to each other and to illustrate their intention to marry. Additionally, the diamond engagement ring also acts a sign to others that the wearer of the ring is in a committed relationship with the intention to marry to giver of the ring.
The first marked account of a diamond ring accompanied by a gold band, signifying the wedding rings that wives wear today, is the from the marriage of Archduke Maximilian of Austria and Mary of Burgundy. The Archduke’s adviser told him, “At the betrothal your grace must have a ring set with a diamond and also a gold ring.” While this tradition started in 1477 with the marriage of Maximilian and Mary, it has stood the test of time because it is still in full swing as a tradition today.