Ever wondered how diamonds became the gemstones for engagement rings? Engagement rings didn’t always have to have a diamond, but that changed in the 19th century. Somewhere along the road, our brains were reprogrammed to believe that engagement rings had to be diamond.

So what changed our perception? How did diamonds become a must-have for engagement rings?

The Iconic Advertising Campaign

Diamonds became the gem of choice through a hugely successful marketing campaign by De Beers. You see in the early 1900s, the production of diamonds was really low but engagement rings were definitely a thing.

It wasn’t until the late 1930s that diamond engagement rings gained popularity but then the Great Depression came and the value of diamonds took a hit. Then in 1947, De Beers launched its iconic “diamonds are forever” campaign and changed marriage proposals for forever. The campaign lasted 4 decades – giving De Beers more than enough time to ingrain in our brains that the best engagement rings have diamonds.

How did they do it?

De Beers tied the eternal beauty of diamonds to marriage – a relationship that hopefully lasts forever. Their ads seamlessly captured the exquisiteness of diamonds and combined them with the endearing chemistry of the couple being presented. The ad campaign perfectly captured the pre-marriage feelings of couples and with time, we accepted that diamonds were the best way to seal the deal.

The eternal quality of diamonds

Diamonds are the hardest metal known to man. They can be shattered (only with a hydraulic press) and poor quality diamonds do discolor with time but generally speaking, they do last ‘forever’.

This eternal quality of diamonds symbolizes what all couples from their marriages. They want a marriage that lasts, a relationship that is strong and remains unharmed no matter what it faces – just like a diamond.


The De Beers campaign resonated with marriage hopefuls and the company decided to take it global, even to countries where engagement rings weren’t a custom such as Japan. Before they knew it, Japan became the second biggest diamond market in the world.

Today, around 75% of brides don diamond rings, making diamonds the most desired gems for engagement rings.

Few gems can compare to the beauty of a flawless diamond so if you’re looking to pop the question, diamonds rings should be your primary choice.

At Solitaire Jewelers, we pride ourselves on our collection of diamonds and the wide range of prices we offer. We have everything from classic estate jewelry to modern designs. Glance through our collection of diamond engagement rings or contact us to design your own! We’re happy to help.