Engagement rings, the symbols of love, and commitment are so much more than just instagrammable brag-worthy eye candy. Here are some interesting facts about how they came to be and where they’re headed.

1. The first Engagement Rings can be traced back to ancient Egyptians and Romans.

Early Romans believed that the “vein of love” was located on the fourth finger of the left hand and so began the custom of placing rings on that finger. The rings that they presented were far less romantic than the modern symbolism behind the rings.

In Ancient Rome, the ring gifting ceremony was a sign of ownership.

According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Roman women wore rings of ivory, flint, bone, copper, and iron “to signify a business contract or to affirm mutual love and obedience.”

2. Diamonds haven’t been rare stones since 1870, yet, their popularity grew most starting in the 1940s, giving birth to the now-classic diamond engagement ring

In 1870, huge diamond mines were discovered in South Africa, and suddenly the renowned sparkly gem was no longer as rare and scarce as its reputation suggests.

The British financiers behind the South African mining efforts, De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd., realized the diamond market would be saturated if they didn’t do something about it.

In 1938, just as the Great Depression came to a close, DeBeers hired Ad Agency N.W. Ayer & Son on a famous ad campaign that would completely change the game. 

The slogan? “A Diamond is forever.”

In 1939 only 10% of engagement rings had diamonds. By 1990, the number of diamond engagement rings exceeded 80%.

3. There is a growing trend amongst Millennials opting for alternative engagement rings to the classic diamond.

In recent years, we’ve started to see a shift in engagement ring preferences among young couples, looking for a more impressive, ethical, less costly, or just more personalized solution to the popular classic diamond engagement ring.

More and more brides are opting for unique materials such as alternative stones and colored metals.

Amongst them are white and rose gold, as well as moissanites, morganites, and sapphires.

For centuries, engagement rings have represented an intention to commit to your life partner, and as such, it reflects your own romantic sensibilities and unique relationship.