Diamond Rings: Today's Symbol of Love Was Yesterday's Virginity Insurance

#Relationships

Tue, Apr 10th, 2012 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Norman Chan of The Atlantic, before DeBeers convinced lovers that "diamond bands were synonymous with eternal devotion," diamond rings actually served as a form of virginity insurance.

A now-obsolete law called the "Breach of Promise to Marry" once allowed women to sue men for breaking off an engagement. Back then, there was a high premium on women being virgins when they married -- or at least when they got engaged. Surveys from the 1940s show that roughly half of engaged couples reported being intimate before the big day. If the groom-to-be walked out after he and the bride-to-be had sex, that left her in a precarious position. From a social angle, she had been permanently "damaged." From an economic angle, she had lost her market value. So Breach of Promise to Marry was born.

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