The 10 Best Engagement Rings
This wiki has been edited 21 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Thinking of popping the question to your lovely lady? If you want to ensure you get a positive response, then a) Take her out somewhere special; b) Get down on one knee; and c) Offer her one of these stunning engagement rings. Coming in a variety of stone and band sizes and colors, you'll be sure to find one that will perfectly complement your soon-to-be-fiancee's delicate digit. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best engagement ring on Amazon.
A Brief History Of The Engagement Ring
This inspired other members of the upper class to do the same, sparking the tradition that still exists today in many western cultures.
The precise origins of the engagement ring are unknown, but many anthropologists believe the tradition started in ancient Rome. During the 2nd century, brides-to-be were given two rings — a gold one for wearing out in public, and a more durable iron ring to wear at home while performing household duties. At first, only senators wore gold rings, but as time went on, knights and other public officials started to wear them, and eventually, the general public was afforded the privilege.
Today, diamonds seem synonymous with engagement rings, but the first known instance of a diamond engagement ring was in 1477 when the Archduke Maximilian of Austria was betrothed to Mary of Burgundy. This inspired other members of the upper class to do the same, sparking the tradition that still exists today in many western cultures.
After World War I, and especially during the Great Depression, engagement rings understandably became much less popular, especially with young people. But the De Beers Group, a controversial international corporation that specializes in mining, selling, and trading diamonds, set out to make them trendy again. They devised a marketing campaign to educate people about how the quality of a diamond is determined, and in 1947, they began using the slogan "a diamond is forever," which is still well-known today.
It may seem arbitrary, but the reason the left ring finger was chosen as the designated location for wedding and engagement rings is because it was believed there was a unique vein that led from that finger straight to the heart. It was called the vena amoris, or the "vein of love." Modern knowledge of anatomy has proven this belief to be false, as all the other fingers in the hand have very similar vein structures, but the practice has remained nonetheless.
Wedding And Engagement Traditions Across The Globe
In the United States, we tend to think of proposals in one way: someone gets down on one knee, asks their partner to marry them, and puts a ring on their finger. But each country has its own unique customs to celebrate two people's decision to stay together forever.
In Chile, both members of the couple wear rings on their right hands to symbolize their impending marriage. After the wedding, they move the rings to their left hands. Plus, the couple's parents stand up at the altar with them during the ceremony.
This is also done in some Latin American countries, including Guatemala and Mexico.
Italian couples throw a party at the bride's house called a Serenade, where the groom sings to her in front of her family and friends. The groom's family provides the engagement ring, while the bride's family is responsible for welcoming guests to their home for the reception. Also, much like the "something blue" tradition in American weddings, the color green is supposed to bring the couple good luck.
Traditional Japanese ceremonies were extremely formal and extravagant affairs that were often held at Shinto shrines, and sometimes even involved the bride being painted white from head to toe. But today, most couples opt for a more laid-back, western-style wedding.
In an ancient Celtic tradition called handfasting, which inspired the phrase "tying the knot," the couple's hands are tied together to symbolize their commitment to one another. This is also done in some Latin American countries, including Guatemala and Mexico.
And, if you thought having one ceremony was stressful, try getting married in Nigeria, where they have three types of weddings: traditional, church, and civil. Couples who can afford to do so often choose to perform all three. The civil ceremony is a simple affair, but the traditional wedding is a vibrant event in which the groom's family presents gifts to the bride's family in exchange for her hand in marriage.
Things To Consider When Choosing An Engagement Ring
Everyone has their own personal taste and preferences, so there's no such thing as a universally perfect engagement ring. There are endless style possibilities, which can seem overwhelming, but it also means that if you know what your partner likes, you're all but guaranteed to be able to find something that he or she will love.
First and foremost, you'll need to set a budget, which will be a big help in refining your options. You shouldn't feel pressured to spend a certain amount of money on a ring — as long as you and your betrothed are both happy, it doesn't matter if it costs $50 or $5,000.
First and foremost, you'll need to set a budget, which will be a big help in refining your options.
Next, if you and your partner have never discussed ring preferences, thinking about his or her sense of fashion is a good place to start. Someone who dresses casually or prefers understated styles probably won't want a huge, showy ring. But if your future spouse is a fan of more ostentatious looks, they may prefer something flashier.
Also, remember that an engagement ring should be a reflection of what your partner likes, so there's no rule that says it has to be a diamond. There are myriad other stones you can explore if you choose to go with a less traditional style. Sapphires are a popular choice, and while most people think of them as being dark blue, you can find them in many other colors, ranging from pink and purple to yellow and orange. If you want to go for something even more unique, consider aquamarine, black onyx, or pearls.
Once you've chosen a gemstone, there are a variety of cuts to choose from. Round is by far the most popular shape, but it's also the most expensive. You can also opt for a square shape, also known as a princess cut, or a cushion cut, which is basically a square with rounded edges. If you're looking for something a little different, you can find heart-, pear-, and even triangle-shaped options.
As far as bands go, you can choose from a huge variety of metals, including white, yellow, and rose gold, titanium, and platinum. If you're stumped, sneak a peak into your significant other's jewelry box — if most of their accessories are silver-toned, that's usually a good indicator of what they'd prefer in an engagement ring.
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