by Pragna Prabhu
The Victorians believed that the heart is connected by a vein to the fourth finger: the ring finger. But always the circle remained an obvious choice for the shape of a ring because a circle has no beginning or end, just like true love should be. An engagement is the happiest time in a to-be-married coupleâ€™s life. So most men make painstaking efforts to make this event memorable. The choosing of that perfect ring for that perfect woman often becomes a difficult and stressful decision. As most men rarely spend that kind of money on jewelry, this can hurt a little bit.
To many people, of all cultures, an engagement ring is the ultimate symbol of romantic love and devotion. Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times in a couple’s life. A decisive moment in which they consent to a life together. This is traditionally celebrated with a ring, popularly a diamond ring, the most precious stone of all. But first, let us take a walk down history and see how the tradition of proposing with rings came into existence. The tradition of engagement rings started with the caveman and the first engagement symbols were reeds or grasses woven into a cord or even sometimes leather.
True to caveman standards, these cords were used to bind together the hands and the feet of the chosen mate of a caveman! Finally when fully assured that she would stay with him, he tied a cord around her finger. Entertaining, but there is no certainty that this is true. The tradition, as we know it today, was started by the ancient Greeks. Their ring was called a ‘betrothal ring’. Etymology traces the word ‘betrothal’ back to the Anglo-Saxon word ‘troweth’ which means truth. Quite simply put an engagement ring symbolized true love and true friendship. Celtic cultures used their loved one’s hair for their rings. The earliest recorded history of a diamond engagement ring dates back to the year 1477, when the Archduke Maximillian of Hamburg gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgandy to celebrate their engagement.
Since then, till today, diamonds have remained a popular choice of stone for an engagement ring. The Victorians believed that the heart is connected by a vein to the fourth finger: the ring finger. But always the circle remained an obvious choice for the shape of a ring because a circle has no beginning or end, just like true love should be. An engagement is the happiest time in a to-be-married couple’s life. So most men make painstaking efforts to make this event memorable. The choosing of that perfect ring for that perfect woman often becomes a difficult and stressful decision. As most men rarely spend that kind of money on jewelry, this can hurt a little bit. The final decision as to which ring to buy depends on style, workmanship quality, your fiancie’s preferences and of course, the price. It is also important to keep in mind that though diamonds are traditionally popular, other precious and semiprecious stones can look terrific without burning a sizeable hole in your wallet.
Gems and minerals like topaz, citrine, peridot, onyx, agate, opal, turquoise, beryl, lapis, tourmaline and malachite are iridescent, lustrous and beautiful, their rainbow hues a complement to your fiancie’s personality. A few tips can go a long way in helping you make an educated purchase decision. An engagement ring is a gift of love and should be as special and unique as the bride. Quite a few jewelers offer the option of designing your own ring to make a perfect match for the woman in your life. So if you don’t think its too much hard work, you can build your own ring from scratch. You can also indulge her by allowing her to choose any ring she wants. This is advantageous because what woman is going to turn down a proposal like that? But if you are planning to surprise her, then it’s a good thing to remember that old saying ‘Diamonds are girls best friend’. Diamonds have an enduring timelessness that is symbolic of the constancy of your love.
Sapphires come a close second and then the other precious stones of emeralds and rubies. Now if you’ve decided on the gemstone, the next step is to consider the four ‘C’s’ which stand for carat, color, clarity and cut. A little homework before you hit the shops will stand you in good stead. There is also a fifth ‘C’ and that is the cost. It just comes down to what you like and how much you feel you can spend. It’s for you to decide if you want to go over the top and buy her a ring which will land you up to your eyeballs in debt. Wedding lore suggests a month’s salary is what you should pay for a ring for your bride-to-be. Decide on your top budget and try your best to keep within it. Most jewelry experts would be glad to advise and help you to choose.
Choosing a matching setting is important. Settings come in a variety of metals and styles. Most engagement rings are set in gold: yellow, white, two-toned or the hugely-popular platinum. Platinum is white-hot and in-vogue. Its rich brilliance brings out the fire in a diamond and is an ideal foil for it. Gemstones come in various shapes and cuts: round, princess, baguette, pear, marquise, oval and cabochon, round being the most popular. A general thumb rule to go by the carat weight is that the price increases exponentially with size. So now you know your budget, shape and size. Shop around with various jewelers. An engagement isn’t a time to stint nor is it the time to go into bankruptcy. Accidents can happen so don’t forget to get your insured as soon as possible, just in case. Another point to consider here is that most women wear their engagement and wedding rings together.
Make sure the wedding band suits the engagement ring. For all you old fashioned sort of guys who want to give your mother’s or granny’s engagement ring or a family heirloom, jewelers offer to reset it in a more modern setting and the band adjusted to fit. Traditionally the ring is presented as a betrothal gift by a man to his prospective bride, but it is increasingly common today for a woman to buy her man a ring too. In fact, in Germany both the man and the woman wear engagement rings. So all you free-spirited women who want to pop the question to that special man in your life, wait no further. But it is truly the thought that counts, the intention of love and future marriage and your ring should represent all what you feel for your intended. Whatever decision is made with regard to a ring, it is ideally sealed with a kiss because an engagement ring, has been, is and will be a promise of a fine future together.