The engagement ring is generally the most significant and sentimental piece of jewellery owned by a married woman. The first use of engagement rings dates back to Greek and Roman cultures. At that time the rings were made of bone, ivory, rope or base metal. However, gold rings have been discovered in the ruins at Pompeii (79 AD) indicating the use of this precious metal to that era in Roman society. Originally these rings were used as a sign of ‘ownership’ and obedience. In 850 AD the engagement ring was given its official meaning by Pope Nicholas I. He declared that the engagement ring represented a man's intent to marry.

According to the Cape Town Diamond Museum, the first time diamonds appeared on an engagement ring was in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with a stone-setting shaped like the letter "M".

In the 15th Century Gimmel Rings (made of 3 connected bands) were used as engagement and wedding sets. The couple wore one ring each during engagement and from the wedding day forward, the bride wore both accompanied by a third (the wedding band) as her wedding set.

Despite the use of diamonds by Archduke Maximilian in 1477, they did not become popular in engagement rings until the 1940s. DeBeers, a British/South African company had a virtual monopoly on diamond production and distribution from 1888 to 2000. Their slogan from 1947 “A diamond is forever” was voted the best advertising slogan of the 20th century by the Advertising Age in 2000. It set the diamond as the most desirable stone for engagement rings. The rest is history.

Diamonds are an obvious choice of gemstone for use in engagement rings as they are the hardest gemstones and resistant to damage in everyday wear. The claws of the setting may, however, wear and should be inspected regularly to prevent loss of a stone.

Loss or theft of your ring is unthinkable and unwanted but can be mitigated by a number of actions. Be sure to insure your rings as named items on your home insurance. We highly recommend the use of Fonya Lockit (https://fonya.com.au) to guard your rings while you need to take them off your finger- for any reason. Better safe than sorry.