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Engagement Rings

An engagement ring is highly sentimental piece of jewellery. Engagement rings have been worn as a symbolic declaration of the intention to marry for thousands of years. They have already been in use in Ancient Rome when women wore carved rings of ivory, flint, and bone, as well as metal rings of copper and iron. In 860 AD, Pope Nicholas I declared that a betrothal ring should be given to a woman to signify the contract of marriage. In 1477, the Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy on the occasion of their betrothal: this is the first well-documented instance of a diamond ring being given as an engagement ring. During the eighteenth century, both fede and gimmel rings, as well as posie rings were popular choices for betrothal rings.

Diamonds, originally found in India 2500 years ago, and later in the early 1700s in Brazil, were extremely rare. The popularity of diamond-set rings rose when diamonds were first discovered in South Africa in 1866. By 1872, one million carats were excavated per year. Many jewellers’ catalogues from the late nineteenth century advertise diamond-set rings, in a variety of styles ranging from single stone, gypsy set, three or five stone, to floral, round, or marquise cluster styles.

By the mid-twentieth century, it became standard practice for a man to propose marriage with a diamond single stone ring. Coloured stone engagement rings are also a popular choice: the engagement ring first given by Prince Charles to Princess Diana and then by Prince William to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is a 12-carat sapphire ring surrounded by a halo of brilliant diamonds. Princess Eugenie of York’s engagement ring features a peach-coloured padparadscha sapphire surrounded by diamonds, while her mother Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, was given a Burmese ruby cluster ring by Prince Andrew.

Bentley & Skinner is known for its excellent selection of engagement rings which suit a wide variety of styles and budgets, ranging from simple single-stone rings to elaborate antique five-stone rings. Furthermore, we are pleased to offer a bespoke ring designing service, where your preferred stone can be sourced according to your budget and mounted to a design of your own choosing to perfectly suit your taste.

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Engagement Rings

An engagement ring is highly sentimental piece of jewellery. Engagement rings have been worn as a symbolic declaration of the intention to marry for thousands of years. They have already been in use in Ancient Rome when women wore carved rings of ivory, flint, and bone, as well as metal rings of copper and iron. In 860 AD, Pope Nicholas I declared ... Read more
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