"If diamonds are forever, it’s not because they’re indestructible, but because our desire for them is." With engagement season in full swing "(surveys show that as many as 40 percent of all engagements occur between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day)", Alix Strauss of The New York Times investigates the evolving nature of the marriage proposal. While "the presenting of a diamond as part of the marriage proposal has had a relatively short history", and "Despite the advancement of equality in today’s society, most women still expect men to get down on one knee, extract the black velvet box from their pocket with perfect precision, and to experience that magical Cinderella moment."
Millennial couples in particular may be changing the dynamic of selecting a ring, with would-be brides taking a much more active role in the purchasing process and well-informed couples looking for customization, but the diamond traidition is far from passé. Nor has the element of rings as a status symbol declined. "Once used to indicate a woman’s unavailability, rings also indicate financial status." As Aja Raden, author of the newly released Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World adds, “The engagement ring is the only piece of jewelry anyone expects they will own. You don’t grow up thinking you’re going to have a ruby necklace. You grow up thinking I’m going to have a diamond ring, or I’m going to buy one for someone.”