If you were a fringed ornamental tarantula or a nursery spider, your potential mate might present you with a delicious insect wrapped in scented silk. This is considerably less romantic for the insect in question, but many an eight-legged lady has enjoyed what passes for spidery wedded bliss upon receipt of such a gift. Some boy spiders, however, are unwilling to commit and try to trick the girls with bits of grass or dried out ants. This is generally considered bad form.
The male kingfisher offers his beloved a carefully chosen fish—which he first swallows, then displays to his birdy love face-first. Size matters to the discerning female kingfisher, who will ignore a fish she deems too small. Females who are too picky will find themselves fishless, as the males will often get bored and eat the fish themselves, much like a human male with a pizza.
Several other bird species engage, pun intended, in mate feeding, sharing tasty seeds and meal worms beak-to-beak.
Luckily, our methods of expressing love and commitment are a lot less reliant on dead bugs and regurgitation.
The custom of giving an engagement ring goes back thousands of years- some people think that the amorous caveman would spend two-months salary on grass rings he believed would give him control of his fiancé’s spirit (cavemen were not known to be especially liberated thinkers). Ancient Rome, however, is more reliably credited with the creation of the custom that evolved into what we know today. Roman brides-to-be were given two rings, one of gold for public appearances, and one of iron for day-to-day, ‘round the villa wear. Both signified her ownership by the groom, a sentiment that is commonly frowned upon now.
7th Century Visigoths considered the ring to be binding, as described in their Code: “… although nothing may have been committed to writing, the promise shall, under no circumstances, be broken.”
The Visigothic Code also decreed that “women advanced in years shall not marry young men.” Historians differ on whether or not the Visigoth Cougar had a problem with this.
13th Century England saw some young men taking a page out of the fickle tarantula’s book, tricking young ladies into “marriage” with rings made of rushes (though to be fair, these ladies would probably not have appreciated a nice juicy fly). The Bishop of Salisbury put a stop to that by declaring rush ring marriages legally binding, which at least one writer lamented in typical Olde Englishy fashion: “Well, ’twas a good worlde, when such simplicitie was used, sayes the old women of our time; when a ring of a rush would tie as much love as a gimmon of golde.” This translates to “But dude, gold is expensive!” in Modern English.
Diamonds were a late addition to the engagement ring game. One of the first recorded presentations of a diamond to seal an engagement was in 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a ring featuring an “M” crafted out of slivers of diamond. They were still too rare and inaccessible for most people, however, and over the next few centuries vied with other gemstones and even human hair (the Victorians were very strange people).
The popularity of the diamond engagement ring as we know it today began to take hold in the late 1800s with the discovery of diamond mines in South Africa and the invention of the Tiffany Setting, a six-pronged design intended to raise the stone from the band, allowing it to catch more light. Over the next hundred years or so, the diamond became a standard symbol of true love and diamond engagement rings a best seller at jewelry counters from Sears & Roebuck to Cartier to Wal-Mart.
Most people today are acquainted with the concept of the blood diamond, a topic that Peacock Lane recently covered. The 2000s saw the creation of the World Diamond Council, intended to “prevent the exploitation of diamonds for illicit purposes such as war and inhumane acts.” Opinions on the effectiveness of this council differ, but as we’ve previously noted, a reputable jeweler should be able to provide a potential buyer with solid assurance that a diamond is ethically sourced.
When we think “engagement ring” today, the brilliant cut diamond solitaire is the image mostly likely to come to mind—but today’s rings are as varied and unique as the people exchanging them. Cubic Zirconia offers a conflict-free, economical, and insect-free option to couples looking for a perfect, lasting symbol of their love.
Peacock Lane Jewelry (aka The Bling Ring Bride) offers a huge variety of Engagement Ring styles, available in a rainbow of colors—all in top quality 5A Cubic Zirconia… Visit www.peacocklanejewelry.com today and take a look!