In the beginning of chapter ten (p.53) of their book, Under the Wedding Canopy Love and Marriage in Judaism, authors David C. and Esther R. Gross write about "changing customs."
"Oddly, the engagement ring that brides-to-be proudly flash around was worn by the groom-to-be in Jewish communities during the Middle Ages."
Wait, it gets better:
"And even more oddly, the ring was presented to him by his future father-in-law."
WOW. Think about how this would work (or not) in today's wacky shidduch system. But don't give up hope for your alta-alta-alta-alta-alta-alta-alta bubbies, ladies:
"Nevertheless, on the morning of the wedding day, the bride received a golden engagement ring from her future husband."
Overall, quite interesting. I wish they quoted their sources for this, though - there aren't any footnotes or endnotes of any sort... which kind of delegitimizes the novelty of this historical report.
Anyone have any credible sources?
EDIT 10:42 PM - Bad4 totally beat me to the punch in her post from December (see the last bit of the post)...