Brief History of the Engagement Ring

The engagement ring is used mostly in western cultures as a symbol of the intent by a couple to marry. The tradition seems to have started when Pope Innocent III ordered that there be a waiting period between the agreement to marry and the marriage itself. Since then its style has taken many forms. The idea of the proper amount to spend on the band has also changed. In addition, the idea of ownership in case of the wedding being called off has yet to be settled.

The tradition that most closely resembles what the engagement ring means today was started by Pope Innocent III. He forbade clandestine marriages and ordered that a longer waiting period should take place between betrothal and marriage. Men would give the future bride a band of iron, silver, or gold to signify their relationship.

The Archduke Maximilian of Hamburg gave Mary of Burgundy a band with diamonds and other precious stones in 1477, which started a trend among the royalty who could afford the stones. Later rings would contain a lock of hair from the prospective groom. Also, a band with birthstones from both sides of the family or gems used to spell the name of the betrothed was also popular.

Traditionally the groom would select the ring in secret and present it to his future bride. More recently, couples pick the jewelry together. Matching sets are usually chosen by couples who live in countries where both wear one. A new tradition of the woman giving the man a band is also becoming popular.

The idea that a man should spend a set percentage of his annual income on the ring was started as a marketing ploy in the twentieth century by the diamond industry. Later the ideal amount to show his love was changed to two months salary. Today not many people follow that guideline and with the excellent quality of synthetic stones, many couples are opting for a beautiful set that cost much less than one using real stones in the setting.

Originally there were laws stating that if a man called off the wedding, he could be sued for breach of promise, any expenses already spent on the wedding preparations, and emotional damage to the jilted bride. Marriage at that time was the only financial option for most women and her prospects for a suitable marriage were decreased if she was jilted. So the diamond engagement ring was hers to use for her financial security.

Legal ownership is still under debate. In the United States it is considered a conditional gift so if the wedding is called off for any reason, it is to be returned. In the United Kingdom it has been ruled that it is an absolute gift, unless there were conditions implied when it was given.

Throughout history, the person receiving an engagement ring, what it looks like, and who gets to keep it has changed. What has not changed though is what the band represents. It symbolizes love between two people and the promise to be true.

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Author Bio: Toronto\’s jewellery store offers a variety of Engagement Ring Toronto. Don\’t miss out in finding Toronto\’s best Engagement Rings Toronto for that special someone.

Category: Relationships
Keywords: dating, diamond, rings, engagement, relationships, business, leisure, family, hobbies, women, men,

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