An unbreakable love: the deep meaning of engagement rings
After years of searching, you've found someone with whom you connect with on every level. You spend almost every moment together, and somehow, it doesn't feel like enough.
It then hits you: this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. As you begin to shop for the perfect engagement ring, though, it helps to understand exactly what it signifies.
Before you slip that gorgeous band on your lover's left hand, here are a few things you should know about this iconic piece of jewellery.
Its origin goes well back into the annals of history
Engagement rings have been with us for millennia. Some evidence suggests they may have originated in Ancient Egypt or Greece, but verifiable information confirms their first use as a promise of marriage during the days of the Romans.
First mentioned in the ancient Roman text Attic Nights, a wife-to-be was given two rings – an iron one to be worn around the house and a gold band to be shown in public.
It was the birth of a ring which symbolised love, commitment, and prosperity, all profound promises which still hold true to this day.
The placement of the engagement ring: a mix of biology and romance
Ever wonder why engagement rings are placed on the ring finger of the left hand? This tradition also has its roots in the Roman era.
According to the book mentioned above, it was believed there was a vein in that digit which led directly to the heart.
As lovely as this sounds, though, this assertion was later proved to be false. Still, the thought behind it still holds true: placing the ring on your partner's finger signifies the deep love you feel for them.
A promise to be there, no matter the weather
When relationships are at their best, you might think the happy days will never end. Inevitably, sunny days do give way to what can seem like an endless torrent of cold rain.
Every relationship is tested by the trials of life – finances, chronic illness, the stresses of parenthood – any of these could have the potential to destroy the love which exists between you and your significant other.
When you get down on one knee to pop the question, you are demonstrating your commitment to move beyond simply being attached.
Rather, you are telling your partner you will be the rock that will shelter them, no matter how stormy life gets.
A show of stability and prosperity
Responsibilities increase in number and expense the older you get. As such, it has been historically important for a suitor to demonstrate to a partner (and their in-laws) their economic viability.
This condition likely has its origin in Renaissance times, when Archduke Maximilian I of the Holy Roman Empire bought the first diamond studded engagement ring for his wife-to-be.
Those in the Austrian upper classes began to do the same for their loved ones. As the generations passed, the practice became a way for those of sufficient means to demonstrate their wealth.
There is more to giving an engagement ring than showing your partner you have sacks of money. However, the discipline it takes to save the cash needed to purchase a nice ring shows them you possess the financial maturity needed to be a responsible spouse.