You’re engaged! How exciting. What a fabulous time in your life right now. I’m sure the first question you got after you announced your engagement was…..where’s the ring? Which would then be followed with comments like….”Oh he did good” or “That’s stunning”. Diamonds are beautiful. Don’t get me wrong. One of nature’s more glamorous creations. Not bad from a little ole piece of coal huh? I’m hoping this blog entry will educate you a little bit better about diamond engagement rings and how spending thousands of dollars to begin your marriage in debt may not be such a good idea.
De Beers. I’m sure you know the name. If not you may have been living under a rock the past 50 years. They are basically responsible for the state of the diamond economy today. I think they even hold most of the market shares for diamonds produced. First off….know that up until the late 1930’s, most engagement rings were not diamonds. The most common stone for an engagement ring was a sapphire. Sapphires were considered the stone of royalty for many years. They were coveted and sought after. Most families can relate to this because you have a grandmother or great grandmother that had a gorgeous sapphire piece of jewelry. Diamonds were just not that popular. They have been around for centuries but not mass produced and not wide spread until the De Beers campaigns in the late 30’s. De Beers decided that in order to boost their diamond sales and market share that they would come up with an aggressive ad campaign to convince consumers that unless you purchased a diamond ring for your sweetie you were basically telling the world you didn’t love her enough. Personally I think this sentiment is crap. You don’t need a ring at all for someone to love you enough to marry you. Think about it for a moment. Let’s say your fiancé lost his job and couldn’t afford that 2 carat diamond you’ve been hinting at. Would you still marry him anyway? If the answer is no then you have some serious evaluating to do in regards to your relationship. I’ve seen it before….brides that get married for the ring and the wedding. Then after all of the events are over and the bad wedding gifts returned they are stuck sharing a house with a total stranger that they don’t really know and barely even like. Don’t do this. Wait for the right one. I promise they will come along if you are just patient. Mine did after I had finally given up. Just don’t jump into something for a huge rock on your hand and a wedding that you will be paying off for the next 5 years. If you want a diamond that badly girl, then go buy your own!
Case in point…..The ring in the pic below is a 2 carat round diamond engagement ring with a square diamond halo offered at a local well known jeweler. Asking price is nearly $9000.
The ring below is also a 2 carat ring. This one it not round but a cushion cut with a halo of pink sapphires. It is made of Moissanite, which is very similar to a natural diamond only lab created. This ring is only $886. That’s a cost difference of over $8000!!! Is it really worth it? Not to mention the one below is ethically sourced.
So now what? What are the options for diamond-less gals? Here’s a few I like…..
- Cubic Zirconia. That’s right…. I said it. The taboo word of all the bridal world. A fake diamond. So freaking what? You do realize that most of the “diamonds” that you try on in jewelry stores are nothing more than CZ’s? Stores don’t want a heavy diamond presence on the showroom floor. They prefer to keep a large amount of their on hand diamonds either in the back or in the vault. Many stores would actually prefer that you purchased the setting and then the diamond separately. Today’s CZ’s are so good that it’s really hard to tell the difference between a real and a fake. Next time you are in your local jewelry store just take a look in the case. Ask them to point out the difference between a CZ and an actual diamond. It’ll be a tough call I tell ya.
- Moissanite. Moissanite is a created gemstone that happens to be my fave diamond replacement. It was discovered in 1893 by French scientist Henri Moissan. Much like a diamond, these stones are also graded for color and clarity. However unlike a diamond, they are 1/3 of the price. Because they are lab created, they are economically and ethically sourced. They are a lot more brilliant than a diamond so if you like sparkle then this is the option for you.
- Colored stones. Sapphires, rubies, emeralds…these all make great choices for engagement rings. Just ask Kate Middleton. A great place in Raleigh to source good quality antique rings is Monte Cristos Jewelry in Seaboard station. Check out their website for new arrivals and some really neat vintage stuff……. http://www.montecristosjewelry.com/
- Just the band. Like to keep it simple? Then just a wedding band will do. You don’t need a ring on your finger to be engaged. In my opinion, the wedding band is the most important piece of jewelry that you will ever wear. Save that 2 months salary for an amazing vacation or a down payment on a new car. You’ll never regret avoiding debt! For a great selection…check out Etsy for some amazing hand crafted bands that won’t break the bank.
- A knot ring. What a better way to celebrate tying the knot than with a cute little knot ring? These rings are lightweight, inexpensive, and can be made out of any material to suit your needs. If sentimental is more your taste than sparkle then this may just be the ring for you!
- Design your own. You can’t get more romantic then making your own ring with your partner. I love this idea! Every time you look at your ring finger you will remember that the two of you created this beautiful thing. A great studio in Raleigh to use is Metamorphosis Metals. It’s a husband and wife team that come up with some really amazing and unique pieces…. http://www.metamorphosismetals.com/
There are so many options on the market today that Brides should have no problem at all finding something that suits their individual style that both partners can agree on. Have a conversation with your beloved. Is his heart set on buying you a diamond? Then let him. Don’t steal his joy. Just let him know that it is not required nor expected. In this aspect it truly is the thought that counts. And love whatever you receive. Because you know without a shadow of a doubt that it was purchased out of love.
Happy Shopping! Gigi