It was in 1477 and the ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by Maximillian of Austria.
Wedding tradition up until this point had been to offer bands of metal to formalize the official union, but the idea of an engagement ring, a promise of betrothal, and a diamond one at that, was radical. But very romantic. It wasn’t until 1947 that “normal” people started to propose with an engagement ring. And that tradition was started by a slogan.
The “A diamond is forever” slogan from De Beers was captured by a woman employed in a Philadelphia based advertising agency, Frances Gerety, a woman working in a “man’s world”.
De Beers was her main account – one of the “woman’s products” she’s been hired to write for.
And in 1947 she was heading to bed, when she realized that she had forgotten to create a signatur line for her latest campaign. She scribbled something on a piece of paper, and went to bed. The following morning, she presented it to a boardroom full of men. Initially the men didn’t like it. But her line “A Diamond is Forever” would transform both the diamond – and the advertising industry forever.
In 1999 “A Diamond is Forever” was named as “The Slogan of the Century” by Advertising Age.
The world took the slogan to their heart, and since then it has been custom for a man to propose with a diamond ring of his choice. The guidelines for how expensive the ring should be is differed by nation.
A “two month’s salary “equivalent is normal in US, whereas men in Great Britain get off the hook with only one month. Japan’s expectation is set to the highest, at three months.
Today the average diamond ring costs 5.000 USD.