Globalisation has given us invaluable insights into the unique customs and traditions of different lands. The tradition of ‘getting engaged’ is one that spans most of the world. However, the way this happens and the engagement rings used can vary greatly.
Diamond rings are a physical representation of intention and commitment. They signify the connection and bond between two people. It also stand for the intention to enjoy a long and happy future together. As such, it represents one of the biggest decisions two people will make in their lifetime. If you’re thinking of popping the question sometime soon, why not take a moment and think. Consider engagement ring traditions in different cultures before buying an engagement ring yourself.
If you are marrying someone with a different cultural background to yourself, we have an idea. It might be wise to investigate some of the engagement ring traditions from that country or culture. Doing this shows that you have taken time and care to plan a suitable, culturally sensitive proposal.
In this article, we are going to explore how these traditions differ across the world. However, if you are particularly interested in one type of engagement ring with unique and exotic roots, you can get in touch with us to discuss your needs and preferences.
Western engagement ring traditions
Hollywood has had a huge influence over how we propose in the Western World. For the most part, western traditions follow the ancient Egyptians. They were the first to wear a ring on the fourth finger of the left hand. Western engagement rings are often made of platinum, silver or some form of gold, though many other options are available. What sets them apart from wedding ring bands is the diamond sat front and centre. There are many different kinds of diamonds to choose from in a western engagement ring, you can choose between different shapes, levels of clarity, colour and the diamond’s carat. Each of these options play an integral role in the final ring and determine its quality and cost.
Western engagement ring traditions form the basis of most engagement rings around the world and many cultures have now adopted this style.
Asian engagement ring traditions
Throughout Asia many different cultures have taken on their version of the engagement ring tradition. Though many now follow the standard Western model, many Asian countries still have deep rooted engagement traditions, most of which involve the family as a whole as opposed to just the couple in question.
Whilst modern China has adopted the Western engagement ring tradition, in the past they have opted for something slightly different. Prospective brides were offered money, jewellery or other valuable items whilst the bride offered the groom a dowry, which could have been furniture such as linens or even a tea set. The engagement consisted of six stages, with the proposal and engagement being the first. Followed by the asking of names, praying for good fortune, sending of betrothal gifts, sending of invitations and the welcoming of the bride.
Similar to in China, in Vietnam, engagement traditions are based on gifting, though in this instance, the groom’s family offers the gifts to the brides family. Depending on the wealth of the groom’s family, either 3, 5, 7, 9 or 11 gifts are presented, and they can be anything such as wine, roasted pig or a husband-wife cake. Following this stage, both families pray to their ancestors for approval regarding the union, and finally, the groom presents the wife with a typical engagement ring. This process is considered an engagement ceremony and can include various other stages following culture rules and traditions. Though this practice is less common, with many regions opting for the western engagement ring tradition.
In India, arranged marriages were also common. The engagement tradition saw the two partners being brought together. They were to be formally introduced and betrothed by their families. It was a symbolic handing over of the bride to the grooms family. In this instance, the groom’s family had to promise to take care of her and her wellbeing. This can take place as close as an hour to the wedding ceremony and as far as a year away from the date. Indian engagement traditions are deep seated in their religion. However, more recently some forego the arranged marriage aspect and choose their own partners.
When it comes to choosing a ring that might have links to Asia, you might want to consider adding a sapphire gemstone. Sapphires can be sourced in countries like Kashmir and Burma, so if you’d like to add this special touch to your ring, there are many options available to you.
African engagement ring traditions
Similar to Asian engagement traditions, African engagement traditions tend to be more elaborate than their western counterparts. In order to express their interest in a partner, one would purchase elaborate gifts of gold and jewellery to offer, sometimes even including beer, wine and livestock. Depending on the wealth of the families in question they may even go as far as offering their services and skills to the other family to seal the deal. All of this is done to ensure the other family that they are a provider who is dedicated to them. But, if the engagement is accepted, the family will offer gifts in return. In West Africa, it is customary for the wedding to occur just days after the engagement!
If you’d like to buy a ring that has roots in Africa or South Africa, the diamond ring is the most obvious choice. Diamonds are sourced from all over the world, nearly half of the world’s supply come from Africa. Click here to view our range.
European engagement ring traditions
In Europe, engagement traditions don’t differ too much to western traditions. For the most part they wear their ring on a different finger or hand or change up the style of ring. But often they carry an interesting tradition or two that are worth mentioning.
In France the engagement ring offered usually sports vibrant gemstones. These include sapphires, emeralds and rubies as opposed to a typical diamond. But in addition to this, the one to receive the engagement ring offers an engagement watch to their partner. Following the engagement, the French throw a party for the couple. Also accompanied by a whole host of comedic events. This includes painting hands and faces and trying to catch animals in the street.
Engagement ring traditions around the world
As you can see, there are so many different engagement traditions around the world. Engagement traditions vary wildly and can be blended and changed to suit a couple based on their backgrounds and preferences. If you are marrying someone with a different background to yours, you can creatively adapt your proposal. Including ring type and engagement style to cater to both of your preferred customs.
Find your perfect engagement ring
Finding the perfect engagement ring can be a challenge because the variety is so vast. At Commins & Co Jewellers, we work closely with eight of the worlds leading diamond brokers and diamond dealers in order to provide you with the best quality diamonds for all budgets. Visit our website to find your perfect engagement ring today.