Friday, October 8, 2010

Engagement Rings Across Cultures

It has been a long standing tradition that when one partner decides to ask the other to marry them; they present them with a diamond engagement ring as a symbol of their love. And since, at Verragio, we love nothing more than celebrating the business of love, I decided to trace this tradition , as we have been known to do.

COUTURE-0396 by VERRAGIO
The earliest known example of a diamond engagement ring being used as an announcement of the intent to wed was in 1477 when the Arch Duke Maximilian of Vienna presented Mary of Burgundy with a diamond ring to cement their betrothal. But it wasn’t until the 19th century that it became common for a man to present his intended with an engagement ring. Previously, it was tradition to present the bride-to-be with a sewing thimble.
But although that tradition has fallen along the wayside, engagement rings are still often used differently depending on the culture. In western countries, like the U.K. and North America it is only the woman who wears an engagement ring, generally presented by the groom to be, on the left hand until accompanied by a wedding ring.

However, in Poland and Ukraine, a ring is traditionally worn on the right hand, and in Germany a woman will wear her engagement ring on the left hand only until marriage, at which point she will switch it to the right hand.

In some South American countries both the bride and groom-to-be wear engagement rings to signify their commitment to one another, like Brazil and Argentina. Michael Bublé, who is engaged to Argentinian model Luisana Lupilato, currently sports a male engagement ring, and joked to the press that he has never heard of the tradition but he does what he is told. International superstar David Beckham had a matching engagement ring designed for himself when he proposed to his wife Victoria. He may not be from South American, but he just likes the bling.

Another engagement ring fun fact is the origin of the three stone diamond design, a popular setting where the center diamond is flanked by a slightly smaller diamond on either side. Some Christian groups believe that there is a religious significance to the design, yet it is mostly believed to represent the past, the present, and the future of the couple.

But no matter how an engagement ring is used, or where, Verragio is happy to continue to play a role in your love story.

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