Love feels like it’s in the air everyday in the Spring. It’s easy to fall in love during this time when everything is anew.
The engagement ring’s history has encompassed many different traditions and the ring itself has been considered significant for a number of different reasons. Many may not know the engagement ring, symbol of eternal love, that designers work to perfect every day, at one point was nothing more than a type of insurance.
It goes back to a law named the ‘Breach of Promise to Marry’ from the early 20th century. In the scope of the law, engagements were comparable to legal contracts. If the would-be groom got cold feet, then he would be in “breach” of his contract and the ex-fiancé could sue for damages. Not so romantic.
(Image above via MyVintageAmerica Blog)
Women were expected to stay pure before marriage. Yet, surveys from the 1940s suggest that at least half of engaged couples were learning firsthand about the birds and the bees. In the 1940s, many states began to shut down the Breach of Promise to Marry. Perhaps partly due to the war.
Without the Breach of Promise to Marry, women felt legally unprotected; they no longer had any legal recourse if the wedding never happened. Hey, women might have lost legal protection, but they didn’t lose their creativity, wit and resourcefulness. Around the same time the Breach of Promise to Marry ended, engagement rings went from being an attractive gift to a requirement for proposals in terms of etiquette. Coincidence? Maybe not. Diamond importers caught on fast and the rest is history.
Today, we know that the engagement ring symbolizes much more than a promise to follow through with the wedding. Love’s assurance of a life together. Big or small, money can never buy the priceless twinkling look of a woman in love.