The bigger the better, am I right? I’m of course talking about engagement rings, garbage brains. Engagement rings – what some consider the symbol of one’s status and worth in this world. Oh, and his or her love, too. But rocking a diamond on your left finger hasn’t always been the tradition. Reader’s Digest recently dropped a little ditty about the history of the engagement ring.
According to them, “more than 80 percent of American brides get diamond engagement rings…couples spent an average of $4,000 on an engagement ring in 2012.” The thought of a man spending $4,000 on a shiny rock to sit on my finger is astounding, since I can barely find one that will actually pay for a date. But I digress. So how exactly did we get to the point of getting down on one knee, arranging for friends, family and a photographer to be there, and choreographing a spontaneous flash mob?
The tradition of the engagement ring dates back to ancient Egypt, because Egyptians believed that circles represented eternity. Aw, that’s cute. But no need to worry about traditional platinum versus trendy rose gold, since “Wedded couples exchanged rings made out of braided reeds.” (A waxed sculpted-mustachioed barista in Williamsburg just spit out his cold brew, stomped his vintage loafers, and ripped his own braided reed ring apart because Egyptians did it first.) But why the left ring finger? Well, “These were worn on the left hand ring finger, which apparently had a vein that ran directly to the heart, later named Vena amoris.” By the way, that vein is about as real as Nick Viall’s feelings for anyone other than his own reflection.
And from a ring of grass to platinum set 1.25 carat brilliant diamond ring? The Romans decided to partake in a little cultural appropriation and adapt steal the idea of the ring: They “started the tradition of betrothal rings in lieu of giving the bride money or a valuable object. But its symbolism wasn’t so much about love as it was ownership… the groom first gave the bride a gold ring to wear during the betrothal ceremony and at special events, then an iron ring to wear at home, signifying her binding legal agreement to his ownership of her.” Hot. First of all, shame on the bitch who said, “No, Spartacus, I don’t want your money, I want you to spend that money on a grimy ass ring.” Thanks a lot, you materialistic ho. Second of all, nothing screams “I love you, darling” like coming home from a fancy event, pouring a nice glass of Pinot Noir, and throwing on your iron ownership ring. Sometime in the middle ages an Archduke gave his lady babe a ring with some small diamonds. The bar had been set, but diamonds in an engagement ring still weren’t a thing, and weren’t going to be a thing, so stop trying to make it happen.
Yeah, okay, diamonds in an engagement ring obviously did become a thing – in the 1940s. DeBeers Mining Company, which controlled almost all of the world’s diamond production, hired an ad agency to create a slogan to help them sell, sell, sell. The result? The iconic slogan, “A diamond is forever.” And oh yeah, added bonus: The ad also recommended men to spend two months worth of salary on an engagement ring. And just like that, gold digging was born.
I don’t think it’s audacious to state that most ladies want to rock a rock today. Really, it’s not about size or sparkle of a ring. It’s about the meaning behind it, the message of love. The beauty of two people deciding to spend the rest of their lives – eternity – together. Oh fuck it, let’s be real. Like a diamond, expectations are forever. Start saving. .
[via Reader’s Digest]