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WHAT A ROCK!
Once you learn about these notable moments in engagement ring history, you’ll realize that popping the
question is an age-old tradition that’s evolved as much as we have since the beginning of time.
T E X T BY C R I S T I N A ZUA ZUA
1947: Jewel giant De Beers launches
the now-classic slogan, “A Diamond Is
Forever,” linking the durability of the gem
to strong marriages and changing the
American psyche — and preparations for
proposals — for generations to come.
1949: The song Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best
Friend is released, warning hopeful suitors
everywhere to “Get that ice, or else no
dice.” 1994: And now the bad news…the
Revolutionary United Front takes over
Sierra Leone’s diamond areas. More than
50,000 are killed and about half the
country’s 4.5 million people are displaced.
The seeds of the tragic term ‘blood
diamond’ are taking root.
1998: War ensues with rebel movements
backed by Rwanda and Uganda, which
control diamond areas.
1999: $150 million worth of the coveted
stones are produced in conflict areas and
$468 million from non-conflict areas.
2nd Century BC: Leave it to Pliny!
According to the elder Roman philosopher,
matrimonial protocol in the toga-wearin’
days of yore was for the groom to give
the bride a gold ring to wear during the
ceremony and an iron ring to wear at
home, signifying his ownership of her.
1477: Archduke Maximilian of Austria
proposes in high style to Mary of
Burgundy with the first recorded use of
diamonds in an engagement ring.
34 1700s: Silver “poesy rings” engraved
with flowery sayings are all the vogue in
Europe. 1700s: Puritans give ostentatious “poesy
rings” the appropriate finger and cut the
tops off thimbles to declare their love
instead. 1867: Ice, ice, baby! Diamonds are
discovered in South Africa, which causes a
huge increase in the global supply.
2000: Time to take charge! In an effort
to decrease purchasing Blood Diamonds
from conflict zones, the Kimberley Process
was created to ensure that diamond
purchases were not financing violence by
2003: Opportunity knocks for Walmart
when it introduces its “Keepsake” brand
of diamonds and becomes one of the top
sellers of diamonds in the world.
2015: Take it to the bank! Today, the
average cost of a diamond engagement
ring is around $5,000. But who’s to put a
pricetag on true love?!