Romantic Engagement Ring Symbols

If you have been wondering how to add more romance and sentimentality to engagement rings, understanding the deep symbolism behind many of the styles, stones and practices can be a great way to find inspiration.

The very first diamond engagement ring in history is thought to have been given by Archduke Maximillian in 1477, when he presented a ring to his beloved, Mary of Burgundy. Before that, rings were generally simple metal bands. Commoners wore iron, while royalty wore gold and silver bands to symbolise wedded bliss. Inexpensive stones were sometimes used, but diamonds were nowhere near as popular as they are today.

In earlier times, this ring represented a part of the bride’s dowry. The ring indicated that a women was betrothed, and the quality of the ring indicated her groom’s social standing and wealth. Today, of course, the ring has far greater symbolism – regardless of the status of the groom or the bride. Diamonds are used along with a variety of other stones and metals, with more choice in ring styles than ever before.

What Does Your Engagement Ring Say About Your Love?

What exactly do engagement rings symbolise, and why are they worn on the left finger?

According to common belief, it was the ancient Romans that began the tradition of placing the ring on the finger of the left hand. This is because they believed the ‘vena amoris’ (vein of love) to be found on this finger, which connected to the heart.

Some interesting symbols that you may want to consider for your ring include the following:

  • Diamond. The word diamond hails from the Greek word adamas, meaning ‘the unconquerable’. This is rather apt, considering that diamonds are one of the strongest substances on earth. This stone represents incredible strength. Ancient Greeks believed that diamonds were the splinters of stars that had fallen from the sky, thinking that they had all the power and protection of the skies above. In India, the stones were believed to provide a shield against evil. Early astrologers thought that diamonds promoted endless love while warding off evil. All over the world, this stone has plenty of lore and legend, making it a fitting stone for such an important item of jewellery.
  • Circles. In Celtic lore and many other legends, circles have special symbolism. The circle has no end and no beginning, making it a perfect representation of eternity. Circles represent renewal, wholeness, perfection and sacred geometry. They symbolise the sun, moon and the planets. Whether adorned with beautiful stones or kept symbol, the ring itself is a powerful symbol for love and unity.
  • Three Stone Rings. A popular style for engagement jewellery is the three stone ring. These rings feature a centre stone flanked by two stones that are usually smaller in size. Each stone represents a different phase in a relationship. The centre stone represents the present, while each of the two stones alongside it represent the future and the past. These rings range from classic styles all the way to contemporary styles, with round, emerald and princess cut stones used.
  • Engraving. While not symbolic on its own, engraved rings can be a great way to add your own personal symbolism to your ring. A message that only the two of you understand, the year you first met, a declaration or promise of your love, a nickname, a line from a poem or any other bit of text can add great significance to a ring.
  • Birthstones. Every precious stone has its own story and symbolism. For a full breakdown of the symbolism in stones, read our blog post on what precious stones symbolise in engagement rings. Birthstones can be a lovely way to represent special dates in your relationship, such as the date you first met, the date of your first kiss or your first date, or even the date of your wedding. As an added bonus, thinking out of the box can help you design an unusual ring that is 100% unique.
  • Infinity Sign. In Celtic lore, this sign is called a lemniscate. The figure eight shaped symbol has a long history dating back to a formal description in 1694 by Jacob Bernoulli. Even before that however, the shape has appear in ancient Tibetan art as well as numerous other cultures. The shape looks like the number eight, representing the joining of two halves. As the shape features its own reflection, it has become the ideal symbol for unity, togetherness and enternity.

If you would like professional help designing your dream ring, contact Cape Diamonds today for a consultation. We will help you create the perfect choice of engagement rings that has all the symbolism you  could ever want to make it truly one of a kind.


3 Things That Help Engagement Rings Last Forever

Engagement rings are precious in more ways than one. Protecting your ring to ensure that it lasts forever (or at least as long as possible) is the best way to keep your investment safe through the years. For many future brides, receiving the ring and wearing it is a moment that will never be forgotten. One day, you may dream of handing your precious ring to your daughter for her wedding. Your daughter may then be able to hand the ring down to her daughter. This is how heirlooms begin.

In order to keep your ring in its best possible shape however, you first need to take a few steps to help it last through the years.

Simple Ways to Make Your Engagement Ring Last


Depending on the style of your ring, the overall value and the type of metal and stones used in the ring design, your ring may be naturally long-lasting or it may require a bit of extra care when worn every day. Certain metals, such as platinum, are known for their strength, resilient and finish, with little to no tarnish appearing. Other metals however, such as the popular rose gold that is seen in so many modern ring designs, is a little bit softer and may need a bit more care. Stones such as diamonds are measured by their hardness as well as their clarity and colour. Pearls for example are not as tough as diamonds, while morganite can also be a good deal softer than a diamond.

Over and beyond steps that you can take to preserve your ring, it is essential to understand your ring from the moment it is put onto your finger. Find out what properties the metal has, and do your homework to determine the quality and strength of the stones used in your ring. This will firstly allow you to accurately insure your ring, and secondly, it will help you know whether any special steps are needed to look after it properly. Some other steps that you should take to preserve engagement rings include the following:

  1. Cleaning. It is best to have your ring cleaned professionally by a trusted jeweller. This will ensure that your ring is cared for while it is being cleaned. An experienced jeweller will know which cleaning products to use on your specific ring metal and stones, or which products to avoid. If you ever need to clean your ring at home, be very wary of store-brought products unless your jeweller has specifically recommended something that is safe to use. A gentle, non-harmful cleaning solution to try includes warm water and a very tiny bit of mild dish soap. Always use a soft cloth – never a scrubbing pad or abrasive sponge. Do not attempt to use vinegar or any home remedy that could damage your ring. When in doubt, ask a qualified jeweller rather than taking a chance.


  1. Protection. If you plan on doing any activity that could damage your ring, take it off. Wear gloves over your ring when you are gardening. Take your ring off if you are working with harsh chemicals. If your ring has a band or setting that is not smooth, with parts that could catch on fabric, take extra care to check it every day for signs of damage. If a stone is loose, or any part of the ring seems different or not quite right, take it off immediately until you can get to a jeweller for an assessment. If you leave small problems, they can all too easily become bigger problems. Some stones are almost impossible to replace, so prevention is always the best move.


  1. Repairs and Maintenance. You may not think that your ring needs any sort of repair or check-up. Sometimes, however, very tiny flaws may develop that are hard to see with the naked eye. If your ring is showing signs of wear and tear, it could be easily revived with just a small repair. Loose or missing stones should be fixed as quickly as possible. Wobbly settings should also be fixed, as these can lead to loose stones. Take care of your ring and it will last.

In addition to custom ring design, Cape Diamonds also provides a number of cleaning and repair solutions. Contact us today to find out more about protecting and caring for your engagement ring.