Monday, June 18, 2018

Engagement rings of the Victorian Era

By Sophie Dawson

As I write I find myself researching what may seem odd. In this case I was needing to describe a wedding ring for my upcoming book, Wanted: Bookkeeper, in the Silverpines series. Joel and Tilde are marrying and Joel is giving her there rings his birth mother wore. These were from the 1870’s. Wanting to be fairly accurate in the style and possible stones, I did some google searches. 






The variety of stones, gold and styling varies through the years and by the prosperity of the groom. 
“The character of presents given to each other by an engaged couple, should be in strict accordance with their position in life and pecuniary means at disposal. Love should not be measured by the costliness of its tokens. A rich man may spend a little fortune on an engagement ring, whilst a poor man may only be able to afford a simple band of enchased gold, to be worn afterwards as a keeper to the wedding ring itself. There is no greater folly than making extravagance in present-giving before marriage a burden to be afterwards defrayed by stint of living and privation of necessaries.”

I didn’t really find much about the wedding ring itself. Seems the wedding band is pretty much what we think of it today. 
One popular ring of the mid Victorian era that I wouldn’t want is the snake ring. Prince Albert gave one to Queen Victoria and whatever she did soon became all the rage.

It wasn’t until the 1870’s that diamonds were often used in rings. In 1867 the diamond mines were opened in South Africa and the stones became more available. Even then most rings were clusters of small stones.
 


 
So what did I decide to use as the engagement ring for Joel? Since his father is a sheriff of a small Iowa town, I figured a modest ring would be best. So this small ruby with gold fluting fit the bill nicely.
The character of Joel Richards is first seen in Giving Love book 3 of the Cottonwood series. His story continues is Wanted: Bookkeeper part of the Silverpines Series coming August 28.
 
Ring photos from:
and

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