Are you and your other half filled with hope and promise of the future? Have you been looking at traditional and unique designs of engagement rings?
The whole idea of bestowing your love with a ring as a sign of commitment isn’t very new. Back in the day, the Romans were said to have swapped iron or betrothal rings and later on those become gold rings.
The ring idea actually hit a bit of a lull for hundreds of years but picked up again in the 12th century when the Pope of that time, Innocent III, decided to lay down some new rules for weddings.
First, all weddings had to occur in a church and the bride had to be given a ring by her groom. It’s around that time that European aristocrats started giving their intendeds an engagement ring.
Table of Contents
If You Like, Put a Thimble on It
But engagement rings weren’t quite the tradition they are these days. Other customs came out trumps when it came to proposing or stating your intentions to marry. In England, one practise was for the man and woman to drink a glass of wine together – and then they were engaged.
And even as late as the 19th century in America, some women were presented with thimbles as a sign of their engagement. After the wedding ceremony, the bottom of the thimble would be cut and it would be worn as a ring.
And Then There Are Diamonds
Diamonds are actually a late addition to engagement rings. During the 1870s, miners discovered the stones in South Africa and the market took off from there. Diamonds quickly went from being a rare gem to a common commodity.
It was in 1888 that a few major South African mines became a cartel to control the flow of diamonds from the country to the rest of the world. As the diamonds became less readily available and more valuable, so their popularity as an engagement gem took rise.
Are Diamonds Really Forever?
If you’ve been looking at traditional and unique designs of engagement rings, have you thought about just how diamonds became an integral part of the marriage process?
While it may seem that diamonds as part of an engagement ring are a time-honoured tradition, they really are the result of a genius marketing plan put forth in the 1930s.
In the late 1930s, the demand and prices of diamonds had been on a slow decline for some 20 years and consumers were favouring modest rings instead. So to tap into a newer market, advertising was tapped to help convince Americans that they really had to have diamonds.
This was one of the most effective advertising campaigns of all time. American’s views of diamonds were completely overhauled – the biggest stars were sporting diamonds and leading fashion designers were talking diamond rings. The plan came together so well that within the campaign’s first three years, diamond sales doubled.
Then came 1947 when the copywriter Frances Gerety penned the slogan that really would stand the test of time: “A Diamond is Forever.” This line was thought so effective and so elegant that it’s still being used today – more than six decades on. The slogan truly worked to highlight the significance of diamonds as an unbreakable and enduring love symbol. Within 20 years, the majority of American brides sported sparkling diamond rocks.
As the demand for the diamond ring soared, so did the stakes involved. Some online retailers have been known to roll out ring-buying apps to make looking for traditional and unique designs of engagement rings so much easier. And people are certainly reported to be throwing huge amounts of cash at extravagant symbols of their love.
But what if it all goes wrong? Who gets that precious commodity?
Should She Be The One To Give It Back?
With so much money being involved when it comes to buying that symbol of love, engagement rings have really become valuable assets as well. But engagements do go sour.
So which party ends up with that valuable rock? It may sound like the courteous option for the person breaking off the engagement to let the party keep the ring. But sometimes things just aren’t that straight forward.
A Legal Point of View
Rings are pretty tricky from a legal stand point. And as for who gets to keep the ring, well the laws governing that vary from state to state and country to country.
Take a state like New York as an example. This state holds that the engagement ring is considered an unconditional gift and it is given on the condition that the marriage must actually take place. So if that marriage doesn’t come through, that means the condition hasn’t been met so ownership of the ring then reverts to the giver of the engagement ring.
In other states, a wedding ring is considered a normal, almost every-day gift, that doesn’t need to legally be given back once it has been received.
It Gets Even More Complicated!
Yes, it gets a bit intricate. A lot of states and even some countries view engagement rings differently if they are presented to the recipient on a holiday or birthday. If that is the case, they’re actually considered as regular old presents. And by no means are they then considered conditional. So the law in that case entitles the recipient to keep the ring – even if she is the one to break off the engagement.
International Laws When the Engagement Goes Sour
International laws differ a little. Canadians, known for being ultra-polite, have a rule that states whichever party breaks off the engagement forfeits any claim they have to the rock. On the other hand, British law states that the fiancée can only be legally forced to hand her ring back if there was an original and previous agreement in place dictating certain and such conditions.
With all these headaches when it comes to the legalities of engagement rings, coupled with the manipulation of marketing, you’re probably wondering why you should even check out traditional and unique designs of engagement rings in the first place.
Well, Nicky Oppenheimer no doubt put it best when he said “Diamonds are intrinsically worthless, except for the deep psychological need they fill.”
Needless to say, you probably can’t beat the look on your beloved’s face when you present her with a shiny diamond ring and the promise of marriage.