Congratulations on your engagement. (To be well set up for a life of marital happiness, and to learn how to deal as a couple with the curveballs life will inevitably throw your way, seek premarital counseling. This link is a list of things to talk about before you get married. You want to know how each of you will handle difficult situations, so you are prepared and able to support one another through them. I recommend that you put premarital counseling on your wedding registry; it’s as, or more, important than any gift you receive.)
There’s a long history of engagement rings from the Roman times to present. I read a fascinating story called The Engagement Ring Story: How DeBeers Created a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry from the Ground Up. It’s about the DeBeers ad campaign that has led to the emotional and psychological attachment of love and marriage to a diamond engagement ring.
Currently an engagement ring is supposed to cost two month’s salary. A diamond is a common stone, but has been monopolized to keep prices high. And once you walk out the door of the jeweler’s, your ring has dropped 50% in value.
Let me just say, I am a personal fan of diamonds; they are my birth stone, and I wear my diamonds all the time. Where they came from is part of the story I want you to know about.
My wedding ring has diamonds that came out of an eternity band that was my grandmother’s, so it has extra special meaning to me. My husband and I designed our wedding rings with a jeweler’s help, and they crafted them for us. My husband got me a gorgeous ring from an eBay site, oldtreasures333. They have all sorts of estate jewelry: diamonds and other precious stones to suit anyone’s taste.
Today on eBay there are over 111,000 estate jewelry pieces for sale. On a Google search for estate jewelry, over 20 million results popped up! And you don’t have to spend two month’s salary.
I got a sample silicone wedding ring for active men and women, and while firefighters, athletes and construction workers, etc. may want one to wear while at work, my husband said it didn’t feel like a real wedding ring.
Of course you and your beloved have to agree about what you both want in an engagement ring and wedding rings. Is having them brand new important to you? Does selecting estate jewelry for the stone(s) and making new rings appeal to you? Is an estate piece as-is the solution for your tastes? There is no right answer here; just a lot of questions.
Notice how you sort through the possibilities. Are you able to discuss these options with clear and honest communication? Are you able to say what you actually want? That doesn’t mean you won’t negotiate.
It’s important for your marriage to be able to say, “This is who I am and what I want.” You won’t always get it, and you will part of the time – especially if your partner is invested in your communal happiness. But not saying what you want and need in all aspects of your relationship leaves you without a voice, and then who does your partner love? If you don’t show up with your authentic self, your partner loves the persona you wear. And that leads to unhappiness, resentment, and maybe divorce.
Don’t bankrupt your partner: emotionally, financially, or spiritually. Talk it through, and decide together how to proceed.