Legends & Lore

Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics represented eternity with an unending circle or ring. Through the ages, before the use of coins, rings were the traditional currency. It is believed that a ring as a symbol of a wedding pledge is derived from the ancient custom of two people pledging a unifying bond inside a sacred circle created by a ring of trees or stones. The tradition of wearing the ring on the third finger of the left-hand stems from the Egyptian belief that the vena amoris, the vein in your left-hand, directly connected that finger to your heart, thereby strengthening the symbol of your love. However, it was the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church to have couples wear rings on their right-hands. This still remains a tradition throughout Europe today. The switch to left-hand for the majority of the population did not occur until the 1700’s. Although, in 1549. The English Prayer Book stipulated that both the bride and groom should wear their rings on the third finger of the left-hand.

As with most traditions regarding rings, engraving of a ring also started with the Egyptians. In the age of Shakespeare the Elizabethan’s took ring engraving to a whole new level. They would engrave poesies, or small love poems inside the ring. Today ring engraving is a popular option, as a way to customize and personalize your symbol of love. Typical modern engravings include wedding dates, engagement dates, or short messages of love.

Just as the symbolism of the ring has developed over time, the most popular of engagement stones, the diamond, has also seen its own incredible evolution through the ages.

Myth and mystery have always surrounded diamonds. The word diamond is derived from the Greek word adamas which translates to “unconquerable”. The Greeks even believed that diamonds were the tears of the gods. Diamonds or diamas, as the Romans called them, were believed to be splinters that fell to the earth from the stars of heaven. Roman soldiers would wear diamonds into battle because they believed it made them undefeatable. They were regarded by many ancient cultures to be the stone of the gods and symbolized courage. Over the centuries the belief continued that people who owned and wore diamonds were indestructible. Eventually the attributes of courage, power, wealth, unfailing virtue, good luck, perpetual youth, conjugal bliss and sweet dreams were associated with those fortunate enough to possess a diamond.

The earliest references to diamonds have been found in Sanskrit documents dating from 300 B.C. However, it was not until much later that diamonds were first mined in quantity in India. They finally made their way west as the Romans established trading routes throughout the Mediterranean. The first use of diamonds in royal western jewelry appeared in 1100 in the Crown of St. Stephen of Hungary. Throughout the ages kings and queens have adorned themselves with this most magnificent gem. In the 1200’s Louis IX of France decreed only royalty could wear diamonds. English monarchs began their love affair with this symbol of power in the 1300’s, when avid collecting became a favorite pastime. However, it was not until the 1400’s that women joined this elite club. When Agnes Sorel, the mistress of Charles the VII of France, became the first recorded woman to wear diamonds. The first recorded diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by her fiancé, the Archduke Maximilian of Austria. The news of the elite wearing diamonds was not always embraced with good-humored fascination. In fact rumors surrounding the wealthy and diamonds have in some cases inspired jealousy and in-part led to their downfall. The rumor that Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, would plaster the walls of her country retreat, Petit Trianon, with gold and diamonds, did not go over well with the French people.

In the 1700’s diamonds officially became the birthstone of April. By the 1800’s, as diamonds became more readily accessible with increased mining production, they were no longer the exclusive bauble of royalty. It was during this period that American bankers and merchants began purchasing diamonds for their loved ones. Even today United States consumers purchase more diamond engagement rings than any other nation.

Not only is the stone important in the engagement ring, but so too is the metal. Historically it is a widely accepted belief that gold was the metal of the sun; silver the metal of the moon and platinum the metal of heaven.