[Posted on June 18th, 2013 by Beth Bowes-Carter]
Common among today’s celebrities, custom made engagement rings have long held a place in history. Although the diamond is the traditional symbol of love, many custom rings are made using other gems and a variety of metals.
The Romans were the first to adopt the custom of wearing engagement rings, according to eHow. Based on a belief from Egypt that veins in the third finger of the left hand went straight to the heart, the Romans wore the ring on that finger. They customized engagement rings by engraving them.
In the Middle Ages, people referred to engagement rings as bond or Gimmel rings. The standard rings had no stones and were designed as two clasped hands.
Wealthier individuals purchased custom made engagement rings with colorful gems like sapphires and emeralds. The richest buyers added a diamond, which as the hardest stone became a symbol of eternal love.
De Beers Jewellery says that in 1477, the Archduke Maximillian presented the first recorded engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy, whose father was Charles the Bold. This introduced the practice of customizing rings with love messages written in jewels, a tradition probably linked not only to romantic sentiments, but also to the prospective groom’s status.
18th and 19th Centuries
In the 18th century, a variety of betrothal rings were popular. According to Ring Envy, the diamond came into its own due to the discovery of vast deposits in Brazil and other parts of South America. This made the stones affordable to far more purchasers.
De Beers indicates that custom made engagement rings were particularly popular, due in part to improved cutting techniques that made diamonds dazzle in the light. Many rings had romantic themes created by custom arrangements of love knots and bows, love birds, twin hearts with crowns and messages spelled with diamonds.
The discovery of diamond deposits in South Africa in the 19th century led to greater availability of this stone. The use of a single stone in engagement rings became popular. According to the Reader’s Digest, 1886 marked the introduction of the Tiffany setting. However, some purchasers added birthstones or gemstones to customize rings, eHow says.
The current trend to consider engagement rings fashion statements in addition to tokens of love began in the 20th century. When it comes to customization, the saying that anything goes summarizes the materials and designs a purchaser might select from a custom jewelry designer.
Fans have come to associate modern celebrity marriages with custom made engagement rings. CNN reports that when Nick Cannon proposed to singer Mariah Carey, he gave her a custom ring featuring a 17-carat, emerald-cut pink diamond with 58 smaller pink diamonds.
Perhaps the most famous contemporary engagement ring was the 18-carat ring Britain’s Prince Charles gave Diana Spencer. The custom ring remained in the Royal Family after her death and again made the news when Prince William presented it to Kate Middleton to mark their engagement.
Whether the design or the materials are unique, custom engagement rings always mean something very special to those who receive them.