Many credit the origin of the symbolic wedding and engagement rings back to the ancient Egyptians and ancient Greece. There are many different bridal customs based on myths, legends and lore and the history of the engagement ring and wedding band is no exception. It is impossible to pinpoint the exact beginning of the engagement ring or wedding band with complete certainty, but there is enough evidence to support the theory that the tradition of giving these symbolic rings dates back several centuries.Anthropologists have only been able to reliably trace the custom of a wedding band back to ancient Rome, second century BC. Roman custom was that their wives wore rings attached to small keys, indicating their husbands’ ownership.The custom of giving an engagement ring evolved throughout history from the middle ages up to what we use today as the traditional diamond engagement ring. Although also believed to have origins in ancient Egypt and Greece, one of the first documented accounts of an engagement ring used in a proposal was in 1477. The Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a diamond engagement ring. Maximilian wed Mary within 24 hours, beginning a tradition of engagement rings that has spanned the globe for centuries.For the next 400 years, diamonds and precious gemstone engagement rings were reserved for royalty. 1870 brought the discovery of diamond mines in South Africa and made diamonds both more accessible and more affordable. The popularity and affordability of a diamond engagement ring was stunted between WWI and the Great Depression. However, by the late 1940’s they had become a popular and affordable trend again and the continued popularity and growth of the diamond engagement ring is credited to DeBeers when they created the slogan: “A Diamond is Forever”.