An engagement ring is arguably the most significant and treasured object in a person’s life, not just because of the valuable materials but for the sentimental significance as well.
The tradition of engagement ring giving is far older than one might imagine. The ever pioneering Ancient Romans are credited with the invention of the engagement ring. As far back as the 1st century AD onwards it was typical to hold a betrothal ceremony during which the groom presented his future bride with a ring.
Of course as time went by each civilisation or time period had their own take on what an engagement ring should look like. Ancient Roman rings often featured decoration such as clasped hands (the original form of the fede ring) and intaglios depicting Cupid. With the emergence of Christianity, Byzantine engagement rings often combined religious motifs as well as portraits of the couple. Gem-set rings first became popular and highly sought after for engagements during the medieval period- each coloured stone being understood to have particular magical properties. It is thought that the first diamond set engagement ring was given in 1477 to Mary of Burgundy by the Archduke Maximilian of Austria. Tudor gem-set betrothal rings are rarely seen, exquisite in design and would have been reserved solely for the highest echelons of society.
The Victorian period onwards saw a radical change in the engagement ring world. A myriad of new designs were being created which was enabled by a greater availability of diamonds and coloured gemstones. This diversity was brought about by the Industrial Revolution and the growing affluence of the middle class who for the first time could afford such luxuries.
Symbolic rings such as in the shape of snakes or hearts; solitaires, cross-over, clusters and three or five gemstones all flourished. Each successive design era pioneered the newest of cutting-edge styles exhibiting particular metals and innovative different diamond cuts which allowed ground breaking original designs.
Whatever your style, find your perfect unique ancient, antique or vintage engagement ring at Berganza.