[T]here's a powerful case to be made that in an age of equitable marriage the engagement ring is an outmoded commodity—starting with the obvious fact that only the woman gets one. The diamond ring is the site of retrograde fantasies about gender roles. What makes it pernicious—as opposed to tackily fun—is its cost (these days you don't need just a diamond; you need a good diamond), its dubious origins, and the cynical blandishments of TV and print ads designed to suggest a ring's allure through the crassest of stereotypes.
Meghan O'Rourke wrote this piece about the shady origins of diamond engagement rings a few years back, but Slate is re-running it this week for their wedding-themed issue. It's as relevant today as it was back then:
Posted by David Chen Wednesday, June 22, 2011 3:36 AM