wedding rings, diamonds
Photo by darlene on Unsplash

No better sell than romance.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “a diamond is forever.” But as history shows us, that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, having a diamond in a wedding ring is a fairly new concept, and it’s a brilliant lesson in the power of emotional marketing.

According to Weird History, proposing with a wedding ring dates back to the Roman Empire. Though, probably to no one’s surprise, the reasons for doing so were … less than romantic. Rather, simple bands were a symbol of a legal contract. On an even more unsentimental note, only women would wear rings, symbolizing a passing of ownership from father to future husband, thus marking this person as off the market, literally. How sweet.

ancient wedding traditions Ring? Or collar? Who's to say... upload.wikimedia.org



Roman women often received two wedding rings: one made of iron, and one gold. The iron ring, a symbol of strength, would be worn at home. The gold would flaunt affluence to the outside world. And just like today, the ring was worn on the fourth finger, because ancient Romans believed a vein ran from the finger to the heart. Weird History marked this as scientifically inaccurate, but there is a bit of nuance to be explored here. Traditional Eastern healing modalities (think acupuncture and reflexology), work with the concept of meridians, thought to be energetic channels through which life energy flows. The San Jiao meridian, also known as the “Triple Burner” or "Triple Energizer,” begins in the ring finger and passes through the chest to connect with the pericardium, the protective sac surrounding the heart.


So maybe—like many ancient civilizations—the Romans were aware of something we have since forgotten.


Once Rome fell, Europe continued the tradition of betrothal rings, but with a slightly more sentimental twist. Now wedding rings signified the promise of engagement. More like a pledge, less like a property statement. And the Roman Catholic Church first started to imbue the sense of faith, matrimony and divine union through the use of rings. Our modern-day sense of a ring symbolizing marriage vows began in this era.

Okay, but, like … where’s the diamond?

Fast forward to 1477, during the engagement between Maximilian I, Archduke of Austria, and Mary of Burgundy. It was a marriage meant to bring peace and expand the Holy Roman Empire. Talk about a power couple. Mary of Burgundy was the first ever to receive a diamond in a wedding ring, starting a new trend throughout Europe. Ring makers everywhere brainstormed new and more impressive ways of cutting and setting the stones. You could say that Mary of Burgundy was a jeweler influencer, before it was cool.

Diamonds at this time were incredibly rare, and therefore incredibly expensive. Not until diamonds were discovered in Brazil during the early 1700s would prices finally drop. And once South African diamonds were found plentiful in the mid 1800s, the shiny stone began flooding jewelry stores everywhere, and for the first time, diamond wedding rings were made affordable to the middle class.

That is, until the Great Depression.

de beers

Silver diamond studded ring.

Photo by Sabrianna on Unsplash

Financial devastation caused a crash in diamond ring sales. De Beers, the world’s largest diamond conglomerate, somehow couldn’t convince couples that spending what little money they had on an inanimate object to prove wedded bliss was a good idea. That is, until they began to capitalize on the idea of romance.

Using the power of glamor, De Beers bombarded the public with advertisements marketing diamonds as an investment in love, even having actresses pose in pictures to sell the idea (some things never change). Diamond sales skyrocketed 55%. So yeah, it worked.

From there, De Beers continued to entice potential buyers with the idea of bigger, better (read: more expensive) stones with even more ad campaigns. If diamond rings could somehow be synonymous with marriage, then diamond rings would become a necessity for holy matrimony. But how?

The answer is: with words.

This is where copywriter Mary Frances Gerety came into the picture. In 1948, Gerety was assigned to create a slogan that encapsulated the security and eternal romance guaranteed by owning a diamond. According to The New York Times, Gerety scribbled some words onto a piece of paper one night, and the next day presented it to De Beers. The paper read:

“A Diamond Is Forever.”

Gerety cast her spell, and it sold more than a million rings. By the 1960s, 80% of women in the U.S. owned a diamond ring. And it’s still an incantation De Beers uses today.

If there was ever any doubt on just how powerful words can be, let this story be an example.

The slogan might finally be losing its luster, as more and more couples are opting to use different stones, both for ethical reasons and to use different symbolism. For example, some might opt for a sapphire (signifying loyalty), while others might choose a ruby (for love and passion). Others still might do away with rings entirely. Two of my friends have tattoos on each of their ring fingers—the woman has a sun (her husband), and the guy has a moon (his wife). We live in a time where self-expression is making a renaissance, and it’s beautiful to witness. Tradition has its place, but, like with diamond rings, it’s important to know where those traditions are sourced from, in order to make empowering decisions.

For even more wedding ring knowledge, including the story behind Queen Victoria’s infamous golden serpent ring with emerald eyes, watch the full video below.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

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