Love has been expressed in many ways throughout time. This strong emotion has been central to many stories of the past – Romeo proclaimed his undying affection as Juliet listened on her balcony. In the Bible, Mary of Magdalene showed her love and gratitude for Jesus as she anointed his feet. For children, drawing hearts with crayons is a simple way of showing admiration for a fellow classmate. And for lovers of the present, gifting someone with a diamond engagement ring is the complete act of the profession of love, followed of course, by marriage and the promise of commitment and loyalty forever. But how did a simple piece of stone become the ultimate symbol of everlasting love?
The history of diamond engagement rings can be traced back to the 13th century, according to Slate. In 1447, the Archduke Maximilian of Austria apparently commissioned a bauble that he gave to his future wife, Mary of Burgundy. With the discovery of diamond mines in South Africa, which lowered the price of the stone, the act of giving a diamond engagement ring as a proposal gift became even more popular. Then, of course, came De Beers, the diamond company that ultimately took the tradition to another level with its smart marketing campaigns – its line "A Diamond Is Forever" has since become the ultimate tagline for the rock.
These days, the tradition continues, but with a few changes to cater to the modern couple. A man is still expected to provide a beautiful ring before he pops that very important question, but for some, that ultimate question can come from the lady herself. The plight of the independent woman has been rough but not fruitless. Take Pink, for example. The "Get the Party Started" singer proposed to boyfriend Carey Hart while he was motocross racing – how romantic! Another trend that seems to be gaining popularity is women choosing and, sometimes, even purchasing their own diamond engagement rings.
Even with this changing perception of who should be giving out the diamond engagement ring, one question still persists – why are diamonds attached to the act of professing one's love to another? Perhaps it's the diamond's transparency that makes it a great physical representation of one's love to another – to love someone is to show him or her who you truly are, exposing your true identity and self. With the transparent crystal, one can see the flaws deep within, called intrusions. These irregularities are responsible for some diamonds having feathers or clouds inside them. And just like the stones, love enables you to see your partner's flaws without any prejudice, allowing you to accept him for who he is.
Or perhaps it truly is just the magnificence and brilliance of a diamond engagement ring that makes it the perfect symbolic gift of one's affection. The way that a rough diamond is meticulously faceted makes it refract light even better, making it sparkle and shine. The stone can even be cut in different ways. According to The Diamond Report, the round cut makes up more than half of what consumers are looking for. This kind of cut has been perfected through mathematical calculations, ensuring that the facets are utilized to the best of their advantage. Just like the gem that shines brighter with every polish and cut, love becomes stronger and more apparent as the couple works on their relationship.
It really is unfair to compare love with a diamond engagement ring, but we are only human, and emotions such as love are easier to understand if they are attached to a tangible object. Just remember that love still can exist even without a diamond, but a diamond will be worthless without love.