by Candice Gage
I had very little idea what I would say when I began this article. Several Marry Well members asked me about the topic, and at first I was daunted at the task. Being a woman, I’ve spent very little time thinking about the selection and purchase of engagement rings. But one thing led to another, and after reading several articles and spending a lot of time in thought, I decided to take a stab at this somewhat sensitive topic.
The practice of giving engagement rings dates back to the ancient Romans. Originally these were made of iron, bronze, or sometimes gold. From these rather humble beginnings, the engagement ring tradition has grown increasingly more elaborate. In the Middle Ages, engagement rings began to include gems. Diamonds made their first appearance on the scene in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a diamond engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy. The seemingly traditional diamond solitaire didn’t appear until the end of the 19th century. Even so, diamonds didn’t take over the market until the 1940s, after a De Beer’s advertising campaign. The saying “a diamond is forever” hasn’t been around forever either. It was coined in the 1950s.
As I read about the intertwining of commercialism and engagement etiquette in recent years, I found myself a bit disappointed. It’s sad to think of the ancient tradition being hijacked by the diamond industry. But considering contemporary attitudes about engagement rings, I shouldn’t be surprised. One survey showed the average price of an engagement ring in 2010 was $5,392. That’s a lot of money, considering that digging a well for thirsty people in Africa costs as little as $4,500. According to one source, a child dies every 15 seconds from a lack of clean water.
The culture seems to encourage women to measure their lovers’ affection by the carats and price tag of the diamond. No wonder so many men stress about purchasing the “perfect” ring, either worried their sweethearts won’t be satisfied with it or that it won’t be up to the task of impressing her friends. It’s no wonder so many men opt to skip the surprise and have their girlfriends choose their own rings.
All of this seems backward to me. Shouldn’t the ring be beautiful simply because of who gives it to you? Shouldn’t the choice of the ring say more about the groom than the size of his pocket book? Shouldn’t it reflect who he is and what he likes as much or more than it does the bride? Isn’t the whole point of the ring is to show the world that she belongs to him?
So my advice to men on choosing the perfect ring? Check out Marry Well’s Christian Dating Tips: #26.
This article was originally published by Marry Well on Sept. 7, 2011.
I’ve had one of those days recently. A day when being single just weighs on you. ... More>>
Unchecked passion can be dangerous. ... More>>
One way to help your relationship stay on track is to keep asking questions. ... More>>
Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery have joined forces to address “Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman’s Heart." ... More>>
Singles who choose to wait until marriage will be laughed at. ... More>>
Regardless of your calling, pursuing marriage will mean making hard choices. ... More>>
Even among gospel-preaching congregations, we've contributed to the steady erosion of a once-strong institution. ... More>>
Facebook stalking exes is like throwing yourself through a windowpane of broken glass and landing on a trampoline that launches you into a tornado of flames. ... More>>
"Looking for a Million Dollar Mate? Invest in one with the right spirit!" ... More>>
Here’s what I keep coming back to: I don’t think I can tell people I love them too much. ... More>>