A Short History of Diamond Engagement Ring

While the engagement ring can be traced back as far as the ancient Greeks, it wasn’t until Archduke Maximillian of Austria offered a gold diamond engagement ring to his love, Mary of Burgundy in 1477 that it began gaining popularity. The well-documented event and subsequent marriage strengthened Maximiliian’s political power, and on April 9th, 1486 he was crowned the King of the Romans. It also elevated the diamond engagement ring among royals and nobles, despite diamonds already being a precious stone prized by the upper class.

Four hundred years later, its status as an engagement essential was further cemented when diamond mines in South Africa were discovered. Cecil Rhodes then founded De Beers in 1888 to procure the stone from these mines and just over a decade later, he and his company controlled 90% of the world’s diamond supplies. Buoyed by the immense output from their mines, De Beers then launched the “Diamond is Forever” advertising campaign in 1948. The campaign proved to be so incredibly successful that it shaped today’s diamond engagement culture. While Russian, Canadian, and Australian diamond companies have wrested majority control of the diamond mining industry from De Beers, the diamond engagement ring remains the first and most popular choice for those planning to get married.