Diamonds enchant and mystify in equal measure: the popularity of these beautiful stones has spread around the world and through every culture. We have come to expect to find diamonds in engagement rings, maybe an 18th birthday necklace, eternity rings; many occasions celebrating love are marked with a diamond.
The rarity and longevity of these brilliant jewels mean diamonds are often regarded as the most beautiful and precious of all gemstones – but why is it that we have come to associate diamonds so strongly with love?
The Tradition of Diamond Engagement Rings
The first known diamond engagement ring was that given to Mary of Burgundy, by Archduke Maximillian in 1477. Cutting techniques were not then as well refined as they are today, so the ring featured small pieces of diamond set in the shape of the letter M, rather than the solitaire settings we think of today. This unusual ring would go on to inspire wealthy couples across Europe, and the trend for diamond engagement rings began in earnest.
Romantic Victorian Rings
During the nineteenth century, diamonds were no longer the preserve of only the wealthiest monarchs and heiresses. Romantic styles greatly influenced fashions and jewellery during Victoria’s rein, and diamonds played their part in the new trend of using precious stones to represent the letters of a word expressing regard for a loved on.
The most popular example of this was probably the ‘dearest’ ring, in which the diamond would form the first setting, representing the letter D. Emeralds, amethysts, rubies and other stones would be used to create a colourful ring with a hidden message. ‘Dearest’ and ‘regard’ rings are still popular today, and make for a particularly sweet eternity ring.
The Most Well Recognised Engagement Ring
Perhaps the most famous diamond engagement ring of the twentieth century was that given by Prince Charles to the young Diana Spencer, who surprised by the nation by choosing an ‘off-the-peg’ ring rather than having something specially commissioned.
Diana went on to become thought of by the nation as the ‘people’s princess’ for all her good works and down to earth personality – but whilst many commentators may have thought her choice unimaginative, the fourteen diamonds surrounding a statement Ceylon sapphire created a ring which was far from ordinary. Whilst a single solitaire diamond has always been a classic choice for engagement rings, diamonds can set off other coloured stones beautifully. Diana’s choice was a refreshing change from the Hollywood trend for ever larger diamonds, which tended to emphasise statements of wealth over style.
Diana’s engagement ring went on to become a style favourite, and continues to be reproduced by jewellers around the world. That William presented his late mother’s ring to his own bride, Kate Middleton, demonstrates the lasting power diamonds can have over our hearts.
How the Stars inspired our Love of Diamonds
The age of Hollywood glamour set diamonds in our hearts forever, and celebrities today continue to show us the most beautiful examples of diamond jewellery imaginable.
Elizabeth Taylor’s relationship with diamond jewellery is especially famous for lasting longer than any of her seven marriages! The film star is famously reported as saying:
Elizabeth Taylor taught us that diamonds should be part of any great romance – Richard Burton bought her many pieces of precious stone jewellery during their engagement and marriage, but none more famous than the 69 carat diamond which was named after the couple.
Elizabeth had to have the massive Taylor-Burton diamond set into a necklace, as it was simply too heavy to be worn as a ring. No wonder the original film star’s most famous saying is big girls need big diamonds!
Could this be the most romantic Diamond Engagement Ring?
As celebrities from Elizabeth Taylor to Victoria Beckham have shown off ever more sparkly and impressive rocks on their fingers, fashion is always keen to find an individual take on the romantic classic. With stars sharing images of their treasured pieces online, it’s now easier than ever before to admire these astounding diamond creations. Lady Gaga was the most recent celebrity with an incredible engagement ring to create an Instagram storm – and no wonder, because besides a giant heart shaped rock, this ring features a unique hidden reverse section, with the initials of the happy couple set into the band in – of course – more diamonds!
Lady Gaga’s striking style might be a million miles away from that of traditional icons such as Diana and Elizabeth Taylor, but the appeal of a diamond engagement ring is truly universal for any woman who enjoys the romance of sparkle and beauty. Despite her edgy costumes, Lady Gaga feels the same way as every star before her: “I am a glamour girl through and through. I believe in the glamorous life and I live one.”
A diamond engagement ring allows us all to feel a little bit of that glamour in our own lives.
Our Love of Diamonds Today
Diamonds continue to capture our imagination, and enchant us with their brilliant sparkle. A many faceted diamond remains the most popular choice for engagement rings and special occasion gifts. Whilst this beautiful stone remains an investment piece, the wide variety of styles available today means there is a piece of diamond jewellery to suit every individual and budget. Innovations in cut and style have encouraged designers to experiment, producing fascinating rings which are sure to become the most treasured item in a woman’s jewellery box.
Here at Jewellery of Scotland, we are pleased to offer a range of beautiful diamond jewellery. We have a variety of classic diamond engagement rings, and are particularly proud of our Ortak pieces incorporating traditional Celtic knot patterns, resulting in a uniquely Scottish take on this beloved jewel.
Click here to view our Ortak Wedding and Engagement Rings.
Have you got a favourite piece of diamond jewellery? Have you seen something you wish you could own? Let us know!
Diana Spencer & Catherine Middleton comparison from the blog of "The Girl in a Cocktail Dress" link: https://thegirlinacocktaildress.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/12-most-royal-and-iconic-engagement-rings/
Lady Gaga ring - copyright to Lady Gaga instagram
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