How diamond rings became the engagement standard

These days when we hear someone got engaged, we expect to see a sparkly diamond on her left hand.  But diamond rings weren’t always the symbol for promising to take that walk down the aisle together.  It turns out, it all started back in the 1930s with the De Beers diamond cartel and a really good marketing campaign.

De Beers controlled 60% of the diamond industry back then and as you can imagine, the Great Depression hit their business hard.  So they had to revamp their plan to drive sales.  That’s when they created the concept of a diamond engagement ring and convinced everyone they needed one.  Before World War II, only 10% of engagement rings had diamonds, but by the end of the ‘90s, 80% of them did!

The people at De Beers even came up with that guideline about how many months’ salary to spend on an engagement ring.  Way back then, the ads suggested men spend one month’s salary on a ring, but by the ‘80s, it had doubled to two months.  So how much are people spending on engagement rings today?  Well, it really depends on where you live and how much you make, as well as how much you want to invest in a ring.  But despite what the diamond people want us to think, you can be in love forever, even without the diamond.