Engagement Ring Lore


Have you ever wondered where the tradition of engagement rings came from? Why are they traditionally made with diamonds? Why do they go on the left ring finger? Why are they supposed to cost a certain number of months' worth of your salary? Here is a guide to engagement ring lore and what has made this historical tradition what it is today.

Why a Ring?

The first question many people have about the tradition of engagement rings is about the existence of rings as a tradition at all. They're small, easy to lose, and can be easily removed should your betrothed decide to pretend he/she's not engaged for an evening. The truth is that small gifts have been exchanged by betrothed couples since ancient Roman times, and it just so happens that this culture has struck upon rings as a convenient gift.

Why that Finger?

It was once believed that there was a vein that ran straight from the ring finger on the left hand to the heart, and that wearing a ring there would help keep your betrothed in love with you. With a better understanding of biology has come the revelation that all veins lead straight to the heart, and that finger has no special significance. The tradition still persists, however.

Why Diamonds?

The slogan "A Diamond is Forever" was coined by an advertising representative from the DeBeers corporation, which is still the world's leading retailer of diamonds. It's true that the diamond's status as the world's most enduring gem is well deserved, since diamond is the hardest natural material known to man, which certainly helps contribute to the lore. In the 1930s, diamonds were established as the gem for engagement rings because they became a status symbol. The elite of Hollywood were being given diamonds and the trend became entrenched in western culture forever more.

Why 2 Months of Pay?

They say you can't put a price on love, but what does it tell your betrothed when you present her with a ring you purchased for bottom dollar? The reason the cultural norm of spending two months' worth of your pay to purchase an engagement ring become ubiquitous is two fold. 

  1. It ensures you're not going to cheap out. Buying within your budget is important, but so is not demonstrating your love with the cheapest ring available.
  2. It makes you consider the decision carefully. Spending everything you get paid for two months will make you consider the decision more carefully than if you could get engaged for free.

Buying an engagement ring is exciting, and now you know why you're doing it! For more information, speak with experts like Rinehart Brothers Jewelers.


23 March 2015

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