An engagement ring is a long-standing tradition showcasing a couple’s love, affection and commitment to one another. Trends come and go in the jewellery world, but diamond engagement rings remain constant.
Research by the jewellery brand, F Hinds, found that the diamond engagement ring is still the most popular choice among couples in the UK. In fact, there was an average of 14,800 monthly searches for engagement rings each month in 2020. White gold was the most popular choice for band metal in the UK, with 9,900 online searches each month. Platinum and silver bands were also popular with UK couples.
The UK, France and Germany all have a particular affinity for diamond rings. There were over 1,900 searches for diamond rings every month in France and 1300 searches in Germany. The diamond isn’t going anywhere in Western Europe.
Diamonds are a traditional symbol of eternal love and commitment. Diamond is also the birthstone for April and a symbol of clarity and strength. Historically, diamonds were worn in a battle to ensure victory and loyalty. Diamonds are difficult to break, making them the perfect symbol of true love and relationships.
However, diamonds weren’t always widely available and accessible. Up until the mid-19th Century, diamonds were incredibly rare and seen as valuable symbols of strength. Engagement rings were around back then, but unfortunately, diamonds were not included in the romantic tradition. The first diamond engagement ring was introduced in Austria all the way back in 1477.
The British company, DeBeers, mined diamonds in South Africa. However, it was only when they launched their infamous marketing campaign ‘a diamond is forever’ in 1947 that diamond engagement rings took off. Hollywood stars backed the campaign, and suddenly, the diamond engagement ring was the Western symbol of love and marriage.
In recent years, there has been some speculation around the environmental and human ethics of diamond mining. Diamonds are located in the Earth’s mantle, and it takes an enormous amount of environmental damage to access them. Diamonds, also known a blood diamonds, have been known to fund wars and have been associated with the unethical treatment of human beings.
On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds are ethically sourced and grown in a machine that replicates the conditions of the Earth’s mantle. Lab-grown diamonds have increased in popularity as the younger generation becomes more environmentally and ethically conscious.
Celebrities have started to opt for gemstones, coloured diamonds and loose moissanite stones. Prince William proposed with a blue sapphire engagement ring to Kate Middleton, and Gossip Girl actress Blake Lively wears a blush pink oval diamond as her engagement ring.
Engagement rings are a wonderful tradition that will adapt and adhere to the trends of the time.