At Diamond Exchange Houston we sell a lot of engagement rings.  However, have you ever wondered about how engagement rings first started and became a thing?

The idea of engagement rings has been around for a long time. The first historical reference is from the middle ages when it was called “a jewel wrapped around the finger” which symbolized perpetual love.

Over time the engagement ring has evolved and changed as jewelry production has gone through many different changes. The history of engagement rings will demonstrate how they have gone through a lot to become what they are today.

How Engagement Rings Began:

The engagement ring idea first came into the picture around 1477 when the Archduke of Austria, Maximillian proposed to his beloved Mary Burgundy. They both wore rings to signify their love for one another.

The earliest forms of engagement rings denoted property whether it was for marriage or ownership. It wasn’t until the Victorian era that diamond engagement rings started to become popular.
engagement ring traditionPin
In the early nineteenth century, betrothal rings were composed of a variety of metals, most commonly gold and silver, but also included iron and bronze. These jewelry items were given by the man to the woman symbolizing a sign of love. In the Victorian era is when diamond engagement rings started to became popular. The rings that were created in this era are still in popularity today and are known as vintage engagement rings.

Queen Victoria of England married Prince Albert in 1840. She wore a diamond ring on her left hand that was designed by Prince Albert himself. Since then, the style of diamond rings has been popular ever since.

In European countries and especially The United States of America, it is traditional for women to receive an engagement ring from their future husband when he proposes marriage.

The Origin of The Diamond Engagement Ring:

Originally engagement rings were only made of gold and silver which led to precious stones, rubies, and diamonds being used to add additional value and beauty. The popularity of diamond engagement rings rose during the Victorian era.

During the Middle Ages, marriage was often considered a “bargain,” in which it was thought that a man would get more than he gave namely his wife. The idea of a fiancée buying her own ring, with her own money, originated during this time.

Couples would go on a short trip to Venice, Italy where the city was thought to be rich in jewels. The women would buy rings that were then traded for jewelry and silver. Eventually, couples learned to make their own rings using diamonds which offered more sparkle than any other gemstone.

More History

By 1668 it was recommended that a man should purchase an engagement ring as proof he could afford to support his wife and children.

The first idea of the engagement ring was the one made of gold and silver, with precious stones on it. With its popularity from the Victorian era it evolved and became popular all over Europe.

The diamond engagement ring was originally a sign that a man was financially able to support his wife. A diamond ring could also signify love as a gesture of ownership or betrothal as well as representing the permanence of a relationship.

The popularity of diamond engagement rings then rose through the decades. By the late nineteenth century, engagement rings had become quite popular in Europe.

20th Century and Beyond

During the 20th century, most young women received engagement rings from their fiancés. Many began wearing their engagement rings on the left hand ring finger because it was once believed that the heart was on that side of the body.

Today, most young girls dream of the day they will receive their engagement rings. The engagement ring is a symbol of love, faithfulness, and commitment. Engagement rings have come a long way since the first designs that contained precious metals with jewels embedded on them.

Engagement rings originally were made with precious metals such as gold and silver. Today they are made with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. Engagement rings also may include other gemstones like sapphires and rubies as well.

The evolution of the engagement rings has become more popular than ever. It has become a tradition for couples all over the world to propose using engagement rings.


The history of engagement rings is one that has gone through a lot of changes. The diamond engagement ring was popular in the middle ages and was worn by many nobility. Over time it evolved into the modern engagement ring that we see today.

While the diamond engagement ring originated in Europe, it has become a worldwide custom for men to propose using this style of jewelry. Taking this into account, it is very obvious that the popularity of engagement rings has increased with time.

To learn more about the types of engagement rings offered at Diamond Exchange Houston please visit our engagement rings page.

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