Engagement rings as we know and love them today have origins that stretch far back in time to Ancient civilizations and Medieval days. They haven’t always been the gold, silver and platinum rings with diamonds that we are so familiar with now, and proposal traditions as well as engagement rings have come a long way. These are just some of the historical highlights of engagement rings.
Platinum Engagement Rings – Early Betrothals
In the early days, wedding proposals were called betrothals, and involved a strict ritual of exchanging gifts or property for the bride. The groom-to-be would give cattle, goods, property or money to the parents of the bride-to-be, as an acknowledgement that they were losing her to another lineage. The price of exchange could be bartered, and if a daughter was considered a good catch, her parents could haggle for a higher betrothal dowry. Engagement rings took on great significance at this time, because they symbolised that the woman was already committed to become the wife and property off another man.
Platinum Engagement Rings – Romantic Proposals
Thankfully this business-like system was eventually abandoned in the eighteenth century in favour of men choosing their brides-to-be for love and not for their suitability as a wife and mother to their heirs. Different traditions developed, such as grooms-to-be requesting the bride’s father for her hand in marriage, before engagement rings were presented to the chosen women. Now men can choose whether or not they adhere to this tradition, but many still like to do it as a sign of commitment to their future wife and a request to be accepted into her family.
Platinum Engagement Rings – Early Styles
Engagement rings themselves date back to those early days of betrothals, when asking a woman for her hand in marriage was a business transaction more than an act of romance. The earliest styles of engagement rings were woven bands made of flexible rush that were replaced each year. In Roman times engagement rings were made of iron to symbolise the permanent commitment of marriage for life, and during Medieval days grooms would place engagement rings on three of the bride’s fingers in turn to represent the Holy Trinity. For those who had some money, gold engagement rings would be used as part of the dowry for the bride as a type of part-exchange.