The History Meaning & Origin of Diamond Eternity Rings

Diamond eternity ring

What is an Eternity Ring?

An eternity ring is a precious metal band, set with a repeating pattern of gemstones. It’s association with a significant anniversary makes it an eternity ring. Since many similar designs are worn as diamond wedding rings, eternity rings celebrate a span of marriage.

A diamond eternity ring is the third most popular item of jewellery. Traditionally, couples purchase an engagement ring, then wedding ring, and finally an eternity ring. Their application is as follows.

Diamond engagement rings – mark commitment and an intention to marry.

Wedding rings – mark the union of marriage or civil partnership.

Eternity rings – celebrate the continuation of the union of marriage or partnership.

History and the origin of Eternity Rings.

The ‘Eternity Ring’ as a tradition arose from the efforts of DeBeers to sell stockpiled smaller diamonds. Effective marketing campaigns in the 1960’s by DeBeers led to increased global diamond sales.

Eternity rings provided an opportunity to sell to married women—couples who had already been through an engagement ring and wedding ring purchase.

A continuous repeating pattern of diamonds represented ever-lasting love.

DeBeers-Eternity-Rings-Adverts

Two posters advertising eternity rings with associated slogans below. 

“She married you for richer or poorer. Let her know how it’s going.” (DeBeers 1960’s campaign)

When a man actually remembers an anniversary, he ought to make it unforgettable.” (DeBeers 1970’s campaign)

“We never made it to the restaurant. What better way to celebrate your next anniversary. A diamond is forever.” (DeBeers 1990’s campaign)

Why are Eternity Rings given?

Diamonds symbolise never-ending love and eternity by their hardness and physical permanence. For this reason, a continuous ring of diamonds symbolises eternal love.

When are diamond Eternity Rings given?

Traditionally, eternity rings were given after many years of marriage. It is the 60th anniversary being which is represented by diamond.

Today, eternity rings are often presented after one year of marriage, five years of marriage or after a decade of marriage. Alternatively, many couples celebrate a significant event with an eternity ring. For example, the birth of a child. For this reason, the term “maternity ring” has started to appear.

Which finger do you wear an Eternity Ring on?

Tradition suggests that diamond eternity rings sit on the wedding ring finger. In the UK this is the third finger of the left hand, on which the engagement ring is also worn. Some people choose to wear an eternity ring on the opposite hand. The reason for this might be where the eternity ring will not sit, or match with an existing wedding ring/engagement ring set.

Channel set eternity ring shown on the hand - sitting on the third finger of the left hand

The half eternity ring and the full Eternity Ring

Half-set diamond eternity rings differ in appearance from fully-set diamond eternity rings. The classic style is a fully set band. An advantage is that the ring appears identical around the entire ring.

Since the lower section of the ring is usually unseen from above, eternity rings half set with diamonds, are equally popular. In addition, half set eternity rings give the same appearance for a lesser cost. Furthermore, small size adjustments may be possible with a half eternity ring.

Shaped Eternity Rings

Many of the bespoke shaped eternity rings we make, fit around engagement ring settings. We include more information below on bespoke eternity rings.

How and when to buy a diamond Eternity Ring

Today, many buyers purchase eternity rings in jewellery stores, or online. Many traditionally hand-set designs now feature machine-set diamonds giving a perfect finish. Online sales of eternity rings continue to rise each year.

Since all of our diamond eternity rings are individually crafted, they take around 4 weeks to make. We suggest allowing a minimum of 5-6 weeks for peace of mind. We can make suggestions based on available rings. However, this carries the risk of not getting exactly the specifications you want.

For ease, we list many of our diamond eternity rings in categories on our website. For example, channel set eternity rings, baguette eternity rings, claw-set eternity rings.

Buying a diamond eternity ring online

Showing the section of our website where buyers can order their diamond eternity ring

Buying an Eternity Ring in person

Many buyers prefer to meet face-to-face with a jewellery expert to buy an eternity ring in person. Owing to the many addition designs, this makes great sense. Furthermore, extensive discussion may take place over precious metal choice and diamond quality. Some clients require specialist advice on matching their diamond eternity ring to their engagement ring band. For this reason, some buyers choose our bespoke eternity ring service. This is especially relevant when an eternity ring fits around an eternity ring setting.

Buying an eternity ring in person at Serendipity Diamonds

Commissioning a bespoke Eternity Ring

We create many bespoke eternity rings. Furthermore, we do this for clients Worldwide, regardless of their location. Many of our buyers reside in the UK, Ireland, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and Switzerland.

Firstly we discuss your requirements, give design advice and create a non-obligation quote. We request a deposit to start work—the final settlement is only due once work is completed on the eternity ring. We have great advice for you, even if you are not 100% certain on the finger size. After all, some eternity rings are surprise gifts.

Bespoke Eternity Ring examples

The example below shows a diamond encrusted eternity ring, crafted by bespoke design. Diamond encrusted eternity ring in Platinum

Our next example shows a shaped diamond eternity ring, matching a shaped wedding ring on the opposite side of the engagement ring.

Shaped diamond eternity ring, birthstone for April, curved around engagement ring

Finally, our third example shows a platted design. Created by bespoke design, the interwoven band contrasts with more traditional eternity ring styles.

Interwoven eternity ring

Mark Johnson

About Mark Johnson

Mark attended Liverpool University and went on to pursue a career in the diamond industry. After more than a decade working in polished diamonds, Mark moved to the Isle of Wight where he launched Serendipity Diamonds. He works most days from their busy Ryde showroom, photographing jewellery and writing for the Serendipity Diamonds website. Anyone interested can connect with Mark on Linkedin via the profile link.

Mark Johnson

About Mark Johnson

Mark attended Liverpool University and went on to pursue a career in the diamond industry. After more than a decade working in polished diamonds, Mark moved to the Isle of Wight where he launched Serendipity Diamonds. He works most days from their busy Ryde showroom, photographing jewellery and writing for the Serendipity Diamonds website. Anyone interested can connect with Mark on Linkedin via the profile link.