With tomorrow's Full Moon in the relationship sign of Libra, here's a timely article about the shift of engagement rings from financial insurance (around the 1940's) to a symbol of love and status (now).
"Suddenly, women wanted an upfront financial assurance from their men. Basically, collateral. That way, if the couple never made it down the aisle, she'd at least be left with something. And that something was almost always small and shiny. The diamond ring was insurance."
The article echoes that heightened, lunar theme of relationship (Libra) culmination (Full Moon). For traditional Libra, the ultimate goal is marriage. It also hi-lights the two sides of Venus, Libra's ruler (love and money).
The financial stakes were high for women and the article states this is not the case in modern times. However, I would say the emotional stakes are just as big now as they were back then. The Libra balance may swing from one extreme (financial insurance) to the other (emotional insurance) but its essence remains the same; partnership.