The history of rings and jewelry reaches the farthest points of our modern civilization, and tells us incredible tale of their journey in which they become additions of many traditions, beliefs, and religions. One of the most famous traditions regarding rings is tradition of ring-sharing between romantic couple. With long history and even more interesting variations that were created across the world, engagement rings managed to become integral part of our modern way of life.
One of the earliest examples of the engagement ring tradition came from 15th century Europe with Grimmal rings (also known as Gimmal or Gimmel rings). They were originally used in Ireland, and managed to spread across entire England and central Europe during sixtieth and seventeenth centuries. Their first form took the shape of two plain hoops that were interlocked and could become separate and worn by romantic couple and their bezels were often set with bright jewels (most often sapphires, rubies or emeralds).
There are some anecdotal records that couples used to ceremoniously wear those rings on their hands while the rings were interlocked, to publicly show their affection one to another. However, not all grimmal rings were used to showcase romantic relationship between the wearers. They were used by many as a pledge between two people, sign of friendship between men. One of the most famous examples of that happened in 1204, when Henry III of England gave a grimmal ring set to the Count of Gysnes as the sign of their friendship.
As the art of metallurgy and jewel making continued to evolve, 17th century grimmal rings became elaborate works of art that incorporated intricate metalwork, jewelry, precious stones and designs. Tradition of grimmal ring use continued well until 19th century.