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Non-Traditional Engagement Rings

Nope, I’m not engaged! But I will be.. sometime.icon wink Non Traditional Engagement RingsWhen we do get engaged, we will be picking out the ring together. Like many women, I always thought of a colorless diamond solitaire as THE default / traditional engagement ring.

I’ve mentioned before that I’d rather have a great trip than an engagement ring. Then my friends started getting engaged (one in particular has an especially gorgeous ring!) and I was surrounded by diamonds. What’s wrong with having a great trip AND a ring, right? In a moment of bling-induced weakness, I told CB that, er, perhaps I DO want a diamond. I believe my exact words were: “I know I am a sucker for all the marketing, but they are so shiny…”

Say what you will about the diamond industry and its many problems (and let’s be honest, I don’t think mining for any type of gemstone is sunshine and roses), DeBeers is a branding genius and market maker and credit must be given where credit is due. Diamonds are fiery, precious, and hard enough for every day wear, and just beautiful from an aesthetic perspective.

Upon closer reflection, however, I realized that while I like and appreciate diamonds, I just don’t want a diamond enough to spend $5,000 or $6,000 it will take to get something that we like or to spend $1,000 and get a diamond of lower quality. A little voice inside me says, “$6,000 amortized over 50 years of marriage (optimistic one, aren’t I?) will be just a little more than $100 a year! So if you really want a diamond, go for it.” Then another little voice chimes in, “but do you really, really truly deeply do want a diamond?”

Once I started to move beyond the “diamond = engagement ring” paradigm, I started thinking about something a little bit more nontraditional. For example, how about something colored AND not a diamond? When I was growing up, ruby was my favorite gemstone. Red is my favorite color, and is, conveniently for me, also the color associated with love. When started googling ruby rings. I’ve found a picture of the ring I really like (see above): a large ruby surrounded by a halo of smaller diamonds. Best part is, many gemstones can be created in labs, which means they are cheaper than mined stones and free from the ethical issues that might arise with mining.

I am not 100% confident, but it’s looking more and more likely that I will be sporting a nontraditional engagement ring.

Do any of you have a nontraditional engagement ring? (i.e, a color gemstone or a non-diamond engagement ring?) How did you come to that decision? Have you regretted not getting a diamond?

  • How much would you spend on an engagement ring? « Graduated Learning: Life after College - [...] part of the wedding and/or the marriage?  Would you skip the diamond all together and opt for a nontraditional engagement ring (like those discussed at Well Heeled [...]ReplyCancel

  • Engagement ring: do you know how much he spent? | Well Heeled Blog - [...] talked about my interest in nontraditional engagement rings. I had thought that we were picking out my ring together, so when I was looking at rings I [...]ReplyCancel

  • getrealweddings - I have a sapphire engagement ring and I wouldn't change a thing! I also think that emeralds and rubies make a great choice too. I would suggest not to get one that is created in a lab. You can get a real gemstone and it doesn't have to be $5,000. We got ours from gemsny.com. They have an awesome selection and you can even build your own ring. Good luck with the engagement and the wedding planning! ReplyCancel

  • Engagement Rings - Diamonds are beautiful and shiny. I mean even fish stare at the wondrous gems. But I also love the idea of a non-traditional engagement ring. There are other precious gems, and other metals besides platinum, gold and silver. Wonderful post! ReplyCancel

  • Ryan VD - 3.I am currently working on a project for school for A Jeweler near my hometown. When an employer of the company was informing us of all the information they needed for the project she shared some very interesting information with us. She told us the a vast majority of people who are looking for engagement rings come in with their significant other to get ideas on what type of rings the like. I was very shocked by this, I always believed that it was the man's job to surprise his lady with a ring and engagement. Obviously when you are shopping for ideas on engagement rings with your significant other it takes out the element of surprise. Just wondering if this is something more people are turning to, or if this is going against the tradition of engagements? Please share your thoughts.
    Thanks!
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  • claudia - Just celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary this year, and my husband gave me a stunning pink morganite set into rose gold. I love the ring so much, that I had a wedding band made to match and packed away my original band and diamond engagement ring. Morganite is 7.5 to 8 on the mhs scale so it's pretty durable but I don't wear it around the house cleaning. I didn't wear my diamonds while doing chores either. I really like the idea of choosing something different. Although diamonds are the hardest gemstone they can still chip and you need to take care of any gemstone that you choose. If you want something that looks like a diamond but a fraction of the cost, look into a natural white zircon, not to be confused with cubic zirconia, a zircon is a real gemstone with as much as or sometimes more brillance than a diamond, and very affordable. However they aren't as hard as a diamond and need a litle more care but the difference in the price is worth it. ReplyCancel

  • Susie - My guy proposed with a very traditional engagement ring that his family loved. But I didn't. I opted for an oval royal blue sapphire–my birthstone that I think I am so lucky to have– with a diamond halo (it didn't take much convincing, he figured if I have to wear it then I should definitely love it). Therefore, I get the pretty gem and it still has the diamonds that seem to appeal to everyone. I love it, it's very old school, and is just as sparkly as a diamond ring. No one I know has a non-traditional ring and my mother absolutely adores it. And if people see it and realize that a non-diamond ring can still be stunning, then I'll be happy with that. I mean, how many diamond rings can you look without getting bored? ReplyCancel

  • Sunday evening round-up - TotallyMoney - [...] Well Heeled thinks about non-traditional engagement rings [...]ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - I have a non-traditional 3 stone aquamarine ring which is my birthstone. I did not want a traditional "everybody's got one" white diamond (especially not since I already inherited my grandmother's diamond ring). I've always preferred color but had no desire to have my fiance spend the extra time and money hunting down a pale colored blue diamond (that would almost certainly have been a blood diamond) when I have always LOVED my precious aquamarine. I'm a little disappointed to say that because the design is obviously an engagement ring and the color is really pale, if I'm more than 2-3 feet away most people assume it is a colorless diamond. On the other hand, I really do get a kick out of the look on people's faces wondering what kind of stone it is when upon closer examination they spot that blue/aqua color. It's definitely a conversation starter; something I know no one else has; and uniquely suited for me. Even if you are going to go with a diamond go with a non-traditional colored diamond or a white diamond set in rose gold. It's your ring and should make you stand out from the crowd. ReplyCancel

  • Monica - I make them! I just made a ring with a rose cut diamond and two opals in a grungified white gold that I carved out of wax to fit the stones and I'm working on one with a black marquise diamond because the couple is very into gooood coffee and it looks like a coffee bean! I'm PhBeads on Etsy.com. I can't even tell you how many couples have been married with my blackened silver black diamond rings! It's very fun for me to be creative and make these very special and meaningful rings for my clients. It's exciting because I get to do something different all the time. ReplyCancel

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