You’re probably aware of the fact that an engagement ring is a symbol of the willingness to commit to spending your life with the person you give it to. It is a material manifestation of the love and devotion you feel for that special lady in your life; in short, it’s a promise in the form of a glittery gift. But it can also denote wealth and status for the woman wearing it, as well as her personal style. And originally, the engagement ring may have come into the marriage from the bride’s family, as part of her dowry rather than a gift from her betrothed (and it doubled as her wedding band in most cases, especially since the groom didn’t necessarily sport a ring). But an engagement ring is so much more than the sum of its parts. When you deconstruct it and look at the individual pieces, you’ll see that they have their own inherent symbolism.
Let’s start with the band, which is most often in the shape of a circle (yeah, there are some weirdo ones out there that are square, hexagonal, octagonal, or even triangular, but they don’t tend to fit very well). The circle is indeed functional, fitting well on the finger, but it also carries a heavy symbolism. It has been used to indicate eternity, perfection, and completion (as in the perfect and everlasting love that is supposed to result from marital union). But the material the band is made from may also have significance. The metal used will not only speak to a certain era (since trends change) but also the value of the piece. Silver is relatively inexpensive while gold and white gold cost more. And platinum, which is the most expensive, is also the toughest, withstanding both tarnish and damage for the most part.
Then there is the stone used in the ring. Most commonly it is a diamond (or multiple diamonds) and this is not accidental. Not only are diamonds instantly recognizable as holding monetary value (since they are only found in relatively limited supply); they are also the hardest natural substance on Earth, making them virtually indestructible (except for flaws). In fact, most diamonds are cut and polished with tools made from other diamonds. They symbolize longevity and strength, which every marriage can benefit from.