GETTING ENGAGED:The engagement period is a critical one for every couple. It’s a time for meeting the parents. It’s customary for the man to buy an engagement ring. The ring is a circle that has no beginning and no end, which is how marriage should mean, but we all know that’s asking a little too much. Being engaged means promising each other that you will love each other for eternity, be loyal, true, and commit. Thought you would enjoy a little history on the engagement ring:The history of the engagement ring is more myth and fantasy than actual fact. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th Century when a mark turn of events shaped the public view regarding “the ring.”Most people believe that “the ring” is a symbol of everlasting love, purity, devotion and commitment between 2 people. Earlier records show that Archduke Maximilian of Hamburg may have started the trend among the European wealthy and royalty of giving diamond engagement rings in 1477. He gave a ring to Mary of Burgundy (betrothal ring.)ANCIENT HISTORY:Women called their engagement ring the betrothal (Truth) ring. The Romans wore the ring on the 3rd finger of the left hand.Tradition seems to stem from the Egyptian belief that the vein from this went straight to the heart. It’s thought that the Romans were the first to start engraving their rings.MIDDLE AGESThe Gimmal or “bond” ring was invented, but it’s doubtful that this was an engagement ring design. Sapphires, Emeralds, and Rubies would have been the norm for those who could afford them. Diamonds are the hardest and strongest mineral on earth and resisted fire and steel and thus, symbolize the unbending union of a man and woman in wedlock. So it became more commonplace for the European wealthy and royalty to give the diamond engagement ring. Less wealthy citizens would have given a Fede (faith) ring in the form of 2 clasped hands more akin to the more modern claddagh (clasped hands) engagement rings.19TH CENTURYIn South Africa in 1870, the vast, newly discovered diamond region began to flood the market with not so rare a gem after all. The supply increased whilst the prices fell. Within 10 years the now famous De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd., was formed by the Englishman Cecil John Rhodes to control the sale of diamonds throughout the world. Even today they control 65% of the world’s diamond trade.20th CENTURY1880 De Beers were able to control the supply (and price). Just as platinum started to become popular in diamond engagement rings, diamonds were becoming less valued. Platinum was banned for all, but war use during WW2 and so the platinum diamond engagement rings as we know them today almost died out. De Beers slogan “Diamonds Are Forever.”21st CENTURYThe history of the engagement ring has moved on and demand for diamonds and platinum diamond engagement rings is still rising. The tradition is here to stay. Estimated 78% of all engagement rings sold every year are diamond. It means you are planning on getting married. I think you should date a long time before getting engaged—3 or 4 years is not too much. Then when you do get engaged, pick a wedding date and get on with it.