How did diamonds become a symbol of marriage?

When did diamonds become a symbol of marriage? How much is a diamond ring engagement in Australia? Well, read this to find out!

The tradition of diamond engagement rings is a story woven with history, marketing prowess, and cultural significance. From humble beginnings to sparkling symbols of everlasting love, the journey of the diamond engagement ring is a fascinating exploration of human emotion and commerce.

Delving into its origins, the evolution of its symbolism, and its contemporary manifestations offers insights into our collective values and aspirations. In this article, we embark on a journey through time to uncover the captivating tale of the diamond engagement ring, from its earliest whispers of romance to its glittering prominence in modern society.

When did diamonds become a symbol of marriage?

The tradition of giving diamonds as a symbol of marriage has a relatively modern origin, becoming widely popularized in the 20th century, particularly after a groundbreaking marketing campaign by the diamond company De Beers. While diamonds have been valued for their rarity and beauty for centuries, their association with marriage specifically emerged as a cultural phenomenon in more recent times.

Prior to the 20th century, engagement rings were not universally adorned with diamonds. Different cultures had their own customs and preferences when it came to engagement and marriage rituals. In Western cultures, engagement rings were sometimes adorned with other gemstones or were simply plain bands. Diamonds were not the default choice.

The turning point came in 1947 with the launch of one of the most successful advertising campaigns in history. De Beers, a major player in the diamond industry, sought to increase demand for diamonds, which were plentiful but not as widely purchased as they are today. They enlisted the help of the advertising agency N.W. Ayer & Son to create a campaign that would forever change the way people viewed diamonds and marriage.

Central to this campaign was the iconic slogan “A Diamond is Forever.” This simple yet powerful phrase aimed to associate diamonds with eternal love and commitment, implying that, like a diamond, true love is enduring and everlasting. The campaign effectively linked the concept of diamonds with the institution of marriage, suggesting that a diamond engagement ring was the ultimate symbol of love and devotion.

The marketing campaign was meticulously crafted to appeal to emotions and societal aspirations. De Beers strategically placed diamond advertisements in popular magazines, targeted influential figures such as Hollywood celebrities, and worked to ensure that diamonds were prominently featured in films and media as symbols of romance and status.

As a result of these efforts, the diamond engagement ring became deeply entrenched in Western culture as a symbol of betrothal and everlasting love. The idea that a man should spend a significant portion of his income on a diamond ring to prove his commitment became ingrained in societal norms.

Over time, the tradition of giving diamond engagement rings has spread to many parts of the world, fueled by the global reach of Western media and culture. Today, diamonds are widely regarded as the quintessential symbol of marriage and remain a popular choice for engagement rings, thanks in large part to the enduring influence of De Beers’ marketing campaign from the mid-20th century.

The history of the first diamond engagement ring

Closeup of a senior couple holding hands lovingly

The history of the first diamond engagement ring is both fascinating and steeped in legend. While there isn’t a definitive account pinpointing the very first instance of a diamond engagement ring being used, historical records and anecdotes provide insight into early examples of this tradition.

One of the earliest recorded uses of a diamond engagement ring dates back to 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with a ring set with flat, diamond-shaped diamonds forming the letter “M.” This significant event is often cited as one of the earliest instances of a diamond engagement ring being used to symbolize betrothal.

However, it wasn’t until the late 19th and early 20th centuries that diamond engagement rings began to gain widespread popularity. During the Victorian era, engagement rings were often adorned with colourful gemstones, including sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, rather than diamonds. These gemstones were chosen for their symbolism and sentimentality, with each stone carrying its own meaning.

The pivotal moment for the diamond engagement ring came with the discovery of vast diamond deposits in South Africa in the late 19th century. This led to an increase in the availability of diamonds and a subsequent drop in their price, making them more accessible to the general public. As diamonds became more affordable, their popularity as a choice for engagement rings grew.

In 1888, Cecil Rhodes founded De Beers Consolidated Mines to control the diamond supply and distribution. De Beers played a significant role in shaping the diamond market and promoting the idea of diamonds as symbols of love and commitment.

The turning point came in 1947 with the launch of De Beers’ iconic advertising campaign featuring the slogan “A Diamond is Forever.” This campaign, coupled with strategic marketing efforts targeting affluent consumers, Hollywood celebrities, and influential figures, solidified the diamond engagement ring as the ultimate symbol of everlasting love.

Since then, the tradition of giving diamond engagement rings has become deeply ingrained in Western culture and has spread to many parts of the world. Today, diamond engagement rings are synonymous with proposals and are cherished as symbols of enduring commitment and romance, thanks in part to the rich history and legacy surrounding these precious gemstones.

engagement ring on natural romantic background

How much is a diamond ring engagement in Australia?

The price of a diamond engagement ring in Australia can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the quality of the diamond(s), the precious metal used in the setting, the brand or jeweller, and current market trends. However, I can provide you with a general idea of the cost based on common pricing trends.

In Australia, the price of a diamond engagement ring typically starts at around AUD 1,000 to AUD 2,000 for a modest ring with a smaller diamond or gemstone and a simple setting. As you move up in diamond size, clarity, colour, and cut quality, the price increases accordingly.

For a diamond engagement ring with a higher quality diamond (such as larger carat weight, higher clarity, colourless or near-colourless grade, and excellent cut), you can expect to pay anywhere from AUD 5,000 to AUD 20,000 or more.

For premium designer brands or custom-made rings, the prices can range from AUD 20,000 to well over AUD 100,000, depending on the brand reputation, craftsmanship, and exclusivity of the design.

It’s important to note that these are just general estimates, and the actual price can vary based on individual preferences, market fluctuations, and specific details of the ring. Additionally, it’s advisable to visit reputable jewellers or do thorough research to ensure you’re getting the best value for your budget and preferences.


As we conclude our exploration of the diamond engagement ring, we are reminded of its enduring allure and timeless symbolism, akin to building a house. From the regal courts of Europe to the bustling streets of modern metropolises, the diamond engagement ring has transcended centuries and cultures to become a universal emblem of love and commitment.

Its journey from obscurity to prominence mirrors the evolving landscape of human relationships and desires. As we exchange these precious tokens of affection, we continue to write new chapters in the ongoing saga of love and devotion, guided by the eternal sparkle of the diamond ring.

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