Gemstone Engagement Rings
Getting a diamond engagement ring is a classic and very popular move. But what if diamonds don't appeal to you as much as colored gemstones? There may be several reasons for that. First, not everyone likes diamonds and not everyone considers them a socially responsible product. Also, the beauty and efficacy of colored gemstones are undeniable, and the symbolic meaning (including if you match the month of birth) is much higher and clearer.
If you are among the lovers of Gemstone Engagement Rings, you will be pleased to know that the European aristocracy is on your side. Looking at all the rings that European princesses or girls who married men from royal families received as a sign of engagement, you can see with the naked eye that there are very few diamond models. They mostly ring with rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.
Gemstone Engagement Rings: History
The European tradition of giving an engagement ring has existed since the fifteenth century, but we cannot say that it was a common phenomenon then. And, although the first engagement ring for the masses was created at Tiffany & Co. in the second half of the nineteenth century, their popularization took place already in America in the second half of the 1940s, which was not too affected by the Second World War and the desire for luxury began to grow rapidly after the crisis and relatively modest 1930s.
The first diamond engagement ring is known to have been given to Marie of Burgundy by Archduke Maximilian in 1477. It was not a ring with tiny diamonds lined with the letter "M", which could stand for both Mary and Maximilian's names. The gift was also made to Mary's father, Emperor Charles the Bold. Shortly before the engagement, a new technology for cutting diamonds was invented in Bruges. The goldsmith Lodewik van Berken invented the polishing wheel, and the diamonds began to sparkle. Not as much as now, but still better than before, when the diamond was simply chopped off in pieces. This was a revolution in jewelry, and Bruges became the center of the diamond trade and one of the most important cities in the Netherlands in the 15th century. Skeptics do not, of course, forget the fact that Bruges, was in the lands that went to Maximilian as Mary's dowry.
Maximilian I of Austria and Mary of Burgundy
Beginning with Marie of Burgundy and ending with the last engagement in the royal family, girls traditionally received a ring as a sign of their new status. Gemstone Engagement Rings are also easily explained by the fact that European princesses usually received jewelry that belonged to the groom's mother. Elizabeth the Second received a ring with a diamond that had been taken from the tiara of her future mother-in-law, the mother of Prince Philip, Alice, Princess of Greece and Denmark.
Elizabeth's sister Margaret received a large ruby for her engagement. When paired with diamonds, it resembled a rosebud and looked very symbolic given the bride's full name, Margaret Rose. Elizabeth's grandmother Princess Victoria Mary of Teck also received a ring with rubies - large, oval-shaped ones.
Kate Middleton also passed on a family piece of jewelry - Princess Diana's sapphire ring. The model, which has survived so many replicas that it has earned a ban on its reproduction, was presented to the princess in a way not quite traditional for an engagement.
Catherine Duchess of Cambridge
During Diana's visit to Windsor Castle, Prince Charles, the groom, asked the jewelers of the famous House of Garrard to bring the most spectacular rings and Diana herself chose the legendary ring of 18-carat gold, with 14 diamonds and a large central sapphire. Prince Harry's newly minted bride also received a diamond ring from Princess Diana's collection.
Gemstone Engagement Rings: Give the tradition
Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium proposed to his fiancée Mathilde with a ruby ring. So did Hakon, Crown Prince of Norway. His ring is a true family heirloom; it used to belong to Olav the Fifth, King of Norway and Håkon's grandfather. The engagement ring of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, mother of Elizabeth the Second, was made of yellow Welsh gold with a large blue sapphire framed by diamonds. Given the tradition of handing down jewelry from generation to generation, it is not surprising that brides from old aristocratic families received colored stones. In 2003 Prince Frederick proposed to his bride Mary Donaldson from Australia with a ring with rubies. His younger brother Prince Jochim prepared a sapphire, diamond, and ruby ring for his engagement. Prince Rainier III of Monaco was a rare exception in the 20th century. He presented two Cartier rings to his fiancée, the actress Grace Kelly, in 1956. The first one, made of rubies and diamonds, didn't seem impressive enough and he ordered the second one with the biggest diamond from Cartier and that became Grace's main piece of jewelry.
Grace Kelly's diamond engagement ring, Cartier
By and large, the aristocrats' taste for colored stones can be explained by the fact that until the early 19th century, when diamond jewelry began to be set openly, colored stones were less valuable as decorative gems. The fashion for diamond cutting was constantly changing, and each new generation had to cut them anew before inserting them into a new jewelry piece, which always had a negative influence on weight and size, and therefore on the final price. Sapphires, emeralds, and rubies had no such problems. Also, Gemstone Engagement Rings are more stable in terms of investment, so to speak. Another plus from the point of view of the aristocracy is that there have never been any "fevers" for colored stones, when they became a mass object of interest for the general public, which, of course, makes their reputation more populist.
Fashion for Gemstone Engagement Rings
Lately, magazines have been writing a lot about how the fashion for Gemstone Engagement Rings is coming back. These stones (especially some of them, rubies, sapphires, and spinels) are much rarer and more valuable than diamonds.
Find your gorgeous Gemstone Engagement Ring