Romance, love and courtship are as universal as the precious jewels they inspire, objects which express deep affection for a loved one and eternal commitment.
Wedding traditions have evolved over thousands of years and are based on blessing the couple with good luck and good wishes for unity, happiness and prosperity.
The ring is the most personal of all jewels, its endless circular form symbolising the everlasting union of two people.
The tradition of giving a betrothal or wedding ring as a promise of marriage goes back to ancient Rome and the ring was believed to have a direct link to the heart when worn on the ring finger of the left hand.
It was not until the 15th century that diamond rings were primarily associated with marriage, but from the earliest times rubies or garnets were emblems of passionate love, diamonds or rock crystals symbolised virtue and constancy, sapphires denoted eternal love and emeralds desire and hope.
Decorative motifs such as clasped hands, lovers' knots, crowned hearts, Cupid's arrows, flowers with hidden messages, snakes and butterflies were imaginatively used by jewellers to create magnificent jewels as symbols of romantic love.