By Vennette Lailani Seprado
The tradition of presenting engagement rings can be reliably traced as far back as the time of the ancient Romans. Throughout the Middle Ages up until the Renaissance, betrothal bands have taken many forms but the first appearance of afaceted diamond in an engagement ring was in 1477 when Archduke Maximillian of Austria from the imperial court of Vienna proposed to Mary of Burgundy.
For centuries, the noble families of Europe were the primary market for diamonds. After the devastating blows of World War I and World War II, these families were either dispersed or have ceased to exist. There was very little demand for grand soirees, commissioned heirloom pieces and bejeweled frocks. The diamond industry turned to other channels to boost the demand for the precious stones. They tapped Hollywood personalities to set trends and eventually spark interest but in 1947, they came up with an iconic slogan that would catapult the diamond engagement ring’s status to stratospheric heights.
According to researchers and journalists, diamonds aren’t’ as rare as they’ve been projected to be with significant deposits found in Australia, Brazil, Russia, India, Canada and of course, Central and Southern Africa. The demand for the brilliant colorless (sometimes colorful) stones however, has never waned in popularity ever since De Beers released a mind altering campaign making us believe that “A diamond is forever”.
Today, the multi-billion industry is still thriving. More people have access to the stones and the fascination for the sparkling baubles continues. Like Archduke Maximillian and Mary of Burgundy, today’s celebrities and personalities serve as inspiration for countless of aspiring brides dreaming of the perfect ring.
This diamond month of April, let’s take a peek into the classic diamond cuts worn by some of the world’s most recognizable names:
Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton confirmed her engagement to longtime beau, Detroit Tigers baseball player Justin Verlanderat the 2016 Met Gala. The statuesque blonde was presented with an 8-carat round cut diamond ring valued at $ 1.5 million. Justin worked with jeweler Anita Ko to create Kate’s one-of-a-kind platinum ring with a micro pave shank.
Actress, singer and dancer Julianne Hough received a breathtaking oval diamond ring from Washington Capitals hockey player Brooks Laich when he proposed. Julianne’s ring is a 7-carat brilliant cut center stone with a delicately thin pave band similar to Blake Lively’s pale pink and rose gold engagement ring. The ring is estimated at $350,000 and was made by Lorraine Schwartz.
Welsh stunner, Catherine Zeta-Jones was at the peak of her career when veteran actor Michael Douglas proposed to her in December, 1999. Michael gave Catherine an antique 10-carat marquise diamond ring surrounded by 28 smaller diamonds from Fred Leighton estimated at $ 2.5 million. After almost twenty years since the proposal, the ring’s vintage look is still perfect for the actress’ classic style.