Chances are, for those of us living in the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, strong traditions concerning life events still guide us – whether we follow those traditions or reject them.
Nowhere is this more momentous than observing customs and rituals surrounding betrothal and marriage. All of us have inherited ways of marking transitions from one phase to another: birth, coming-of-age, engagement and marriage, and end of life rituals. Often, we don’t question our own tradition: if it was “good enough for grandpa, it’s good enough for me”.
No longer are women the chattel of their fathers, sold into marriage as a way of monetizing one’s children. No longer do we segregate women in separate quarters marking their passage from girlhood to womanhood.
We fantasize about the precise moment when the prospective husband kneels before the woman he loves and presents her with a ring – a diamond solitaire, of course!
A diamond solitaire engagement ring is fraught with layers of symbolic meaning. Probably the most profound meaning is the promise of a future together: creating a new family in the tradition of our ancestors, complete with recognizable rituals and conventions.
Our engagement tradition binds us both to our ancestors as well as to future generations.
The engagement ring is the ultimate symbol of hope. The tenor of the times may be fragile, the economy seems impossibly stalled, there are continuing social problems which are picked at by every news program on television or on the web. The engagement ring (and the prospect of a wedding!) is the antidote for what ails us! We turn aside from the continuing barrage of unhappy news to focus on the brightness of tomorrow!
Whether we prefer the antique style or the classic style or the modern contemporary style of engagement ring, we can always find a ring which embodies the concept engagement, and all that means for us: the physical manifestation of our most romantic hopes and dreams.