As early as 2800 BC, Egyptians wore a single silver or gold wire ring on the third finger of their left hand, which they believed was directly connected to the heart. During the 2nd century BC, Pliny the Elder described the custom of grooms presenting their bride with a gold ring to wear at the wedding ceremony and on special events. The woman was given a ring made from iron to wear at home to signify a husband’s ownership of his wife.
Archduke Maximillian of Austria is credited with commissioning the first ever diamond engagement ring for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy in 1477. The ring was designed in the shape of an “M,” fashioned from a series of thin, flat diamonds. Wealthy European aristocracy and nobility quickly followed suit by bestowing diamond rings as a token of love.
During the 1700 and 1800s, engagement rings were often a mix of diamonds and other gemstones, enamel and metals. The American Gem Society states that many of these rings were designed in the shape of flowers and called “posey rings.” In Victorian times, rings using diamonds and gemstones to spell out words of endearment were common as well as rings made from the hair of their loved one.
Diamond engagement rings really gained widespread popularity when in 1938; the DeBeers diamond company hired N.W. Ayer, a New York–based ad agency, to create an ad campaign to boost diamond sales. The successful campaign featured famous movie stars adorned with beautiful diamond rings and was responsible for increasing diamond sales by 50 percent in just three years. By the late 1940s, the ad agency introduced the slogan still used by DeBeers today – “A Diamond Is Forever.”
Padis Jewelry, a family-owned business, has been a trusted source for buying exquisite engagement rings, fine jewelry and certified loose diamonds since 1974. We are one of the only jewelers in the area to exclusively offer some of the top names in the industry as well as stock such a large inventory. We invite you to visit to our showrooms to see the finest jewelry San Francisco and the Napa Valley has to offer.