Australia's Engagement Ring and Jewellers Guide
HISTORY OF THE ENGAGEMENT RING
The Ancient Romans were the first to wear a truth ring on the third finger of the left hand.
Til this day the engagement ring is still traditionally worn on the third finger of the left hand. This surviving tradition seems to stem from the Egyptian belief that the vein from this finger leads straight to the heart.
Before the 18th Century diamonds were very rare in society and when available only the very wealthy could afford them. Normal citizens could not afford diamond engagement rings and would use an engagement ring in the form of two hands clasped (commonly known in this day and age as a friendship ring.)
In the 18th Century diamonds were also discovered in Brazil which increased supply but at that time they were only fashionable in rings among the wealthy.
In 1870 the Kimberley diamond region in South Africa was discovered and it became the world’s largest supply of top quality rough diamonds. Even till this day South Africa holds the crown as the world’s largest supplier of high quality rough diamonds (but not the largest overall).
An over-supply of diamonds from South Africa caused diamond prices to drop.
In or around 1880 De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited was formed by an Englishman by the name of Cecil John Rhodes, for the purpose of controlling the supply and prices of diamonds throughout the world.
This system was successful, but De Beers was to encounter major problems four decades later.
Between the 1920’s – 1930’s (through the great depression) and beyond, diamond sales halved. Diamond prices dropped and platinum was banned for use in jewellery and anything else, except for manufacturing equipment for use in WWII. This affected the production of all platinum engagement rings.
“A Diamond Is Forever”. As diamonds are the hardest substance known to man, in 1947 De Beers started a marketing campaign that changed everything. It gave birth to the diamond engagement ring, but only as we perceive it today. It educated the public and convinced them to keep their old diamonds as family heirlooms, which caused more demand as not many people were reselling their diamonds back to jewellers. This increased demand for diamonds once more and forced the industry to buy more diamonds from De Beers, giving De Beers the power to put diamond prices back up again.
But that was only the cake of this great marketing campaign.
In the early 1950’s came the icing on the cake and sealed the success of this campaign for eternity.
In 1953 two of the world’s most beautiful women, Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell were stars of a film called “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. In this film there is a scene where Marilyn Monroe sings a song called “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” which carved in peoples minds that now diamonds are not just forever, but are classy, beautiful and are a girls best friend – and who else better to endorse this at that time than Marilyn Monroe. Things just kept getting better and better for the diamond industry from the late 1950’s till this day.
The Present Day. De Beers still control approximately 70% of the world’s supply and prices of rough diamonds that’s of a suitable quality for jewellery or investment. Their control is based on supply, demand and economic conditions. It’s a clever system protecting diamond sellers and buyers throughout the world. That’s just one thing that sets diamonds apart from other gemstones. However - the politics and clever marketing are only possible when you have a suitable candidate to promote - and diamonds are that candidate. They deserve their status as the “King of Gemstones”.
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White Gold Engagement Rings
For Engagement Rings gold is the most traditional precious metal. Gold is usually Yellow, Pink (Rose) or White. People often mistake white gold with platinum, however they are two completely different metals.
More about > White Gold Engagement Rings
Platinum Engagement Rings
Platinum is the perfect metal for engagement rings as it's the most superior precious metal known to man. In nature (when mined) it's white only and not yellow like gold. However the refining process for platinum is like that of gold.
More about > Platinum Engagement Rings
The difference between a handmade engagement ring and a cast engagement ring.
A handmade engagement ring is when the precious metal, such as gold or platinum is machined, hammered, bent, filed, sanded and soldered, etc. So it will be made from scratch using prefabricated gold or platinum wire. The wire varies, a common thickness is 4 - 6mm diameter.
The marketing behind the "two months salary that lasts forever" campaign.
This is a De-Beers campaign for Engagement Rings. For a while it was "one months salary that lasts forever". Read more >