Why Are Diamonds Traditionally Used in Engagement Rings?

Why are diamonds traditionally used in engagement rings?

Diamonds. They’re renowned as the hardest substance on earth. They formulate for many, many years far beneath the surface of the earth. And once they’re mined, cut, polished, packaged, and purchased, they’ve been showered with sparkling adjectives like “forever” and “a girl’s best friend.” There’s even a fast-rising startup that specializes in creating diamonds out of loved one’s ashes.

But as beloved as they always seem to be, diamonds haven’t always been anything like a go-to gemstone when it comes to…

Engagement rings.

In fact, over the years, a few other engagement and wedding ring customs have taken hold. It’s just that they all would eventually give way to the almighty blinding brilliance of the forever-dazzling diamond.

Of course, it’s easy to see why. After all, these are diamonds we’re talking about. Heck, we even need not one, but four Cs to talk about diamonds.

No Thanks, Thimbles. Goodbye, Gold Pieces.

During the 1800s, quite a few American men got into the custom of presenting their prospective bride-to-be with…Thimbles. Yes, thimbles. Following the wedding, the thimble’s tip would be cut off—thereby creating a ring.

How about another interesting Olde Timey Tradition—but one from Jolly Old England? It was once a British custom for a couple to split a large piece of gold (or sometimes even silver) into two pieces–with one piece going to each partner–then properly formalize their engagement by sharing a glass of wine.

So yes, engagement rings have been with us for a long, long time now. But when it comes to the addition of diamonds to the traditional engagement ring…well, that’s all come along in (relatively) recent history.

(The same can be said for diamond engagement ring insurance, and we’ll take a look at ring insurance a little bit later…)

A Quick Backstory…

For quite some time, there just weren’t too many diamonds available for purchase in the global marketplace. So, lo and behold, there also weren’t a whole heck of a lot of…diamond engagement rings. Sure, there were some exceptions—such as the brilliant ring Austria’s Archduke Maximilian prevented to Mary of Burgundy way, way back in 1477 or Napoleon Bonaparte’s gift to his love Josephine in 1796.

But then, eventually, things changed. And boy, did they ever change…

Three Cheers for De Beers!

Toward the back half of the nineteenth century, exciting discoveries of often-massive diamonds became something of the norm—especially in mines scattered across South Africa. As diamonds became something closer to mainstream, the owners of these cash-cow mines realized they would have to concoct something…a little bit more creative.  

In 1888, a host of prolific South African mines joined forces to form De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. After all this consolidation worked its magic and De Beers had effectively crafted a “scarcity illusion” around their brilliant product (sounds a bit like Apple, no?), the company went on to hatch an equally dazzling marketing plan in the late 1930s.

In 1938, a team of De Beers executives tapped New York City-based advertising and marketing firm N.W. Ayer to help “recharge” Americans’ lustful craving for diamonds. With diamond demand and pricing on a steady decline for nearly 20 years and a fast-sinking economy not helping matters, De Beers needed a real home run-trip-around-the-diamond from the Big Apple Ad Men.

They did indeed get a very big hit. From recruiting equally bright Hollywood stars to proudly wear diamonds to convincing high-end fashion designers to wax poetic on diamond rings and much more, the ad campaign boosted U.S.-based diamond sales by more than 50 percent by the turn of the next decade.

Another Sea Change Movement?

Are we starting to enter into another era where diamonds aren’t part and parcel of many engagement rings? Maybe. Maybe not. (Well, truth be told, almost certainly…not).

But there surely is more and more of a movement away from exclusively using diamonds in engagement rings—especially when it comes to non-traditional brides, couples, and weddings. And more and more, Millennials are demanding a different jewelry-buying experience. Not to mention some updates in the way jewelry insurance and engagement ring insurance is works.

In fact, a lot of insights about Millennials and diamond engagement rings (and other diamond jewelry) can be gleaned from an in-depth 2019 report from…DeBeers.

Today’s Innovation: Engagement Ring Insurance

Here at Zillion, we’re all about diamonds. Diamond pendants. Diamond tennis bracelets. And certainly, diamond engagement rings. We also happen to be all about…diamond engagement ring insurance—not to mention any other form of jewelry insurance.

Don’t just take our word for it, however. Visit the helpful online home of myzillion.com. While you’re here, you can dig deeper into the ever-evolving landscape of engagement ring insurance. Educate yourself with other helpful entries from the Zillion blog. Read some of the many positive Zillion online reviews.

When you’re ready to take the next step and purchase diamond engagement ring insurance, simply request your fast, free jewelry insurance quote from our home page. We hope to see you soon!


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