History & Tradition
This Is Your Moment
The instant two people decide to marry is one of the most intimate moments of their lives. It marks the moment two people become one forever. A diamond is the perfect symbol of that eternal bond. As a representation of everlasting love, diamonds evoke the romance and magic of traditions that have spanned centuries.
The First Diamond
The diamond acquired it unique status as the ultimate gift of love as far back as the fifteenth century. The tradition of giving a diamond engagement ring as a promise for marriage began in 1477 with Archduke Maximillian of Austria and Mary of Burgundy. At that time, diamonds were looked upon as talismans, or charms that could enhance the love between husband and wife. Even Cupid’s arrows were said to be tipped with diamonds, which had a magic that nothing else could equal. From this time forward, the royal tradition of giving a diamond engagement began to be embraced by people around the world, eventually becoming as much of a milestone in one’s life as the engagement itself.
The Brilliance of a Diamond
When diamonds first began to be given as engagement rings, settings were elaborate and did not necessarily showcase the diamond in its best light. It actually wasn’t until the discovery of diamond mines on the African continent in 1870 that diamonds became accessible to a wider public, increasing demand and influencing design. Subsequently, diamond jewelry began to be designed to demonstrate the unique beauty and brilliance of diamonds.
The Mysterious Power of a Diamond
Wearing a diamond ring on the fourth finger of the left hand dates far back to ancient Egypt, where it was believed that the vena amoris (the Vein of love) ran from that finger directly to the heart. Placing a diamond, with its enduring power, on that finger, was – and still is – seen as the ultimate way to connect love with eternity.
An engagement ring is unlike other baubles, bangles and beads — this is no mere frill or trinket, but perhaps the most important jewelry she'll own-forever. Read on for some of the hottest trends for engagement rings.
Old Is New Again
Yearning for some good old-fashioned romance? Jewelry designers are crafting engagement rings that echo a ring your great-grandmother, even your great-great grandmother would've worn. And contemporary brides-to-be are happily going the retro route, embracing a ladylike look that’s at once both delicate and incredibly detailed. Settings are covered with intricate handiwork like carved scrolling, delicate floral and filigree patterns and airy latticework. Stones also reflect an antique aesthetic — cushion, round, pillow and Asscher cuts are classic shapes and their larger facets radiate more fire under less light (this was especially important in the past when the main sources of illumination were candles). Another reason to consider these bygone beauties — the shanks shine with ornate diamond micro-pavé, milgrain beading and intricate engraving for extra overall bling that still radiates pure class.
Pave the Way for Pavé
The pavé technique involves setting smaller stones so close together that no metal can be seen between them, thus maximizing the wattage of the ring without pushing the cost into the stratosphere. For example — diminutive diamonds are nestled together to give the impression of one larger stone. But this cunning effect isn't the only, or even the primary, reason that pavé is seeing a resurgence among those betrothed. The intensive piece-work is also breathtakingly beautiful when used to accent a bigger center stone. You'll see a myriad of traditional rings with dazzling fully faceted, pavé-set diamonds encrusted on the band (sometimes on three sides) and winding their way up the basket to the solitaire. This ring style throws off sparkle from every visible surface, like a little galaxy of bright stars orbiting your finger.
Platinum and White Gold
Yellow gold has a long history of adorning the bride-to-be's all-important finger, but there are some definite pluses if you choose a cooler hue. White metals will enhance the clarity and size of your diamond solitaire — especially if it's set in the gorgeous "halo" style — a main stone surrounded by a ring of smaller diamonds. Platinum isn't just pretty. It is rarer, stronger and more durable than gold and has been the metal for bridal jewelry for the past few years. It starts out highly polished and with time acquires a lovely satin patina. (I'd also recommend it for women who have any skin reactions to the alloys used in gold — it's 90 to 95% pure.) White gold, although not as premium as platinum, offers all the bright beauty at a more reasonable cost.
Classic rings like the diamond solitaire are enduringly popular, but gaining ground are designs that are decidedly out of the ordinary. Colored stones have transcended trend and are now widely available and quite affordable (especially if we aren't talking colored diamonds). Sapphires, rubies and emeralds are all properly precious stones whose hardness is suitable for this most important piece of jewelry. Bands can express our unique personality as well. In fact, one of the chicest ways to wear an engagement ring is by forgoing the solitaire altogether and opting for an eternity band with stones that travel around the circumference, symbolizing a love without beginning or end.
This style was previously pitched as an anniversary ring with the three stones symbolizing a couple's past, present and future. In recent years, its popularity as an engagement ring has skyrocketed. The romantic symbolism here can't be beat — the sparkling triplets are a testament to the couple's confidence that their union will be a long and happy one. Whether you choose side stones that match the carat weight and shape of the center solitaire, or decide to go with the chic contrast of pear, trillion or princess cuts flanking a round or oval gem, the overall visual impact of the ring will be more spectacular than that of a traditional single stone. And while rubies and sapphires may not always take center stage, they can still be dazzling supporting players.
Want to find out more? Stop by Bellestar Jewelry for a private consultation. We’ll help you find the perfect ring that will suit her style and your budget. We have the perfect ring to give that perfect someone in your life.