The Engagement Ring
The custom of offering a ring
for engagement dates back to Roman antiquity. A metal ring was worn on the left ring finger because it was believed that a vein on this finger flowed directly to the heart.
In the middle ages, during engagement men and women exchanged simple rings without stones.
It is said that the first woman to wear diamond jewellery was Agnès de Sorel (1422-1450), the mistress of Charles VII. It was during this time that the tradition to wear a diamond wedding ring came back in vogue: the Arch Duke Maximilian Habsbourg gave one to Marie de Bourgogne in 1477. The diamond, an extremely resistant stone, became the symbol of marital fidelity.
The Wedding Ring
Unlike the engagement ring, we do not know exactly when the wedding ring appeared. Moreover, as described above, a ring was at the origin of what we now know as an engagement ring. In the XVth century, we begin to see a clear distinction between wedding and engagement rings. The engagement ring should be ornamented with a precious stone (usually a diamond), while the wedding ring is generally more simple.