The remaking of tradition is the tradition of the engagement ring. The traditional diamond cut in the less traditional emerald cut is a picture of this. Wedding rings have been around for centuries while society danced around the notion of a promise token. For a very long time, the promise was following quickly by the wedding and no token was needed. As engagement periods lengthened, a promise was needed – something like an emerald cut diamond engagement ring.
When Pope Innocent III declared a waiting period for marriages in 1215, the engagement ring was born. At first, plain metal bands were used as the token of a man’s intention and his ability to support a wife. The wealthier classes began adding gemstones to the bands and laws were passed forbidding the middle class from using gems in their rings. Of course, those laws were eventually repealed and everyone was allowed a gemstone in their engagement rings, bringing us a step closer to the emerald cut diamond engagement ring.
Instead of a solitaire, early gemstone rings had several stones representing the two families that would be joined. One style had the birthstones of the betrothed couple flanked by stones representing the months of the parents weddings. A more elaborate style had six stones for the birth months of the couple and their parents.
The sentimental Victorians used engagement rings with gems whose first initials spelled out “regards,” for example: Ruby, Emerald, Garnet, etc. The first instance of a diamond engagement ring on record was in 1477 when Mary of Burgundy became betrothed to the Archduke Maximillian of Austria. This brings us one more step toward the emerald cut diamond engagement ring. Diamonds became standard not as the result of a romantic reason but because of a marketing campaign. Practicality has its place in romance, of course.
After all these centuries, the wedding band remains basically the same. The changes in the marriage relationship have been reflected in the engagement ring instead. The Irish Claddaugh ring (two hands flanking a crowned heart) has three different explanations of its origin. The best one is the story of the prince who fell in love with a peasant girl. Her father didn’t believe that his intentions toward her were honorable. He fashioned the ring for her. The crown means loyalty, the hands mean friendship and the heart means love. Her father understood that the prince respected his daughter and gave his blessing. The meaning of the emerald cut diamond engagement ring is up to the couple to decide.
Any couple repressing their taste to be trued to tradition can, according to this tradition, go wild in their choice of engagement ring. The less traditional emerald cut diamond engagement ring is a great way to do it.