Author Topic: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts  (Read 41041 times)

PolarBeer

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #50 on: July 29, 2013, 05:49:09 AM »
I wouldn't give up a planned engagement or wedding over a ring, but think its wise to try to get an idea of expectations early in a relationship. I believe expectations for rings is a quite decent indicator of the attitudes and values of a person. One of my friends whose engagement was broken off afterwards regretted the hugely expensive rings, not so much because of the cost but because he so completely went against his own values when cashing out for it just because she declared that she wanted it. There was no compromise. Of course its easy to realize all the small things that weren't quite right after the fact, but... I think this is one of the things that are a good indicator of the goals/personality of a person. So my advice would be to try and bring up the topics of weddings and rings in a casual way. If she/he expressed interest in keeping it all low-key and intimate, that's a good sign for a mustachian.

Kitty

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #51 on: July 29, 2013, 05:59:02 AM »
Whoa whoa whoa, I am somewhat of a diamond and jewelry hobbyist expert, and am a regular on a diamond/jewelry forum, and I love my engagement ring and all my diamond jewelry. I realize it's not for everyone, but if your lady wants a diamond, I think you should get her one.

Biggest tip I can offer: buy online from a reputable online seller and get the best CUT you can get. Cut does not equal shape. Cut equals the best angles for the best light return, sparkliest stone, and a stone that 'faces up' the correct size for its carat weight. Educate yourself with the internet and don't get suckered into a bad deal. We have so many people who come to the diamond forum saying, "Did I get a good deal?" and we often have to say "Absolutely not, can you return it?"

My engagement ring and an anniversary band I have are from Whiteflash.com, our white gold wedding bands are from e-weddingbands.com (cheapest and nicest I've ever found), and I've also had good luck going with reputable eBay sellers, sellers on DiamondBistro.com or LoupeTroop.com, and having custom pieces made on Etsy.com. I especially like antique diamonds (Old European cuts vs. modern round brilliant cuts)

Not sure if we can link to other forums here, but if you google "diamond forum" you will find it. People there are happy to help you find the best thing for your budget, even if it's a relatively small budget. Don't be put off by the large diamonds, many of the people on the forum are older and the rings are 'upgrades' from their original 1/4 carat or 1/2 carat rings.

THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS. Rubybeth and I post on the same forum (although I use a different name).

Whatever you decide to do, please educate yourself before making a decision. There are knowledgable people out there that can help you choose something perfect for your partner if she wants a diamond or semi/precious stone.

In the interest of full disclosure, we spent a "large" amount on our engagement ring. I love it to death and my husband still gets a kick out of the cut (not the shape!). We considered Whiteflash too but went with Brian Gavin Diamonds.

rubybeth

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #52 on: July 29, 2013, 07:02:42 AM »
Whoa whoa whoa, I am somewhat of a diamond and jewelry hobbyist expert, and am a regular on a diamond/jewelry forum, and I love my engagement ring and all my diamond jewelry. I realize it's not for everyone, but if your lady wants a diamond, I think you should get her one.

Biggest tip I can offer: buy online from a reputable online seller and get the best CUT you can get. Cut does not equal shape. Cut equals the best angles for the best light return, sparkliest stone, and a stone that 'faces up' the correct size for its carat weight. Educate yourself with the internet and don't get suckered into a bad deal. We have so many people who come to the diamond forum saying, "Did I get a good deal?" and we often have to say "Absolutely not, can you return it?"

My engagement ring and an anniversary band I have are from Whiteflash.com, our white gold wedding bands are from e-weddingbands.com (cheapest and nicest I've ever found), and I've also had good luck going with reputable eBay sellers, sellers on DiamondBistro.com or LoupeTroop.com, and having custom pieces made on Etsy.com. I especially like antique diamonds (Old European cuts vs. modern round brilliant cuts)

Not sure if we can link to other forums here, but if you google "diamond forum" you will find it. People there are happy to help you find the best thing for your budget, even if it's a relatively small budget. Don't be put off by the large diamonds, many of the people on the forum are older and the rings are 'upgrades' from their original 1/4 carat or 1/2 carat rings.

THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS. Rubybeth and I post on the same forum (although I use a different name).

Whatever you decide to do, please educate yourself before making a decision. There are knowledgable people out there that can help you choose something perfect for your partner if she wants a diamond or semi/precious stone.

In the interest of full disclosure, we spent a "large" amount on our engagement ring. I love it to death and my husband still gets a kick out of the cut (not the shape!). We considered Whiteflash too but went with Brian Gavin Diamonds.

Yay, I was hoping you'd chime in, as well, Kitty! Though I haven't ever purchased from Brian Gavin Diamonds, every e-mail I've sent has been promptly responded to with much care and attention, so I'd vouch for them, as well. Also, my diamond earrings are from them but purchased second-hand from another diamond forum member.

Also in the interest of full disclosure, DH spent about $1,200 on my original engagement ring, so not a huge amount by most standards, but it felt like a lavish amount at the time, esp. since our wedding only cost about $6k. But like I like to say, the only things you get to keep from the wedding are the jewelry, the photos, and the marriage license. :) 

anastrophe

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #53 on: July 29, 2013, 08:11:06 AM »
Okay, I'll bite: what is the difference between a $1,200 diamond ring and a $50 sterling silver ring, aside from cost? Does it make you feel like your marriage is more legitimate somehow when you wear it? What kind of "kick" does a person get out of giving someone it?

No offense intended, I'm honestly mystified and hope one of you can explain.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #54 on: July 29, 2013, 09:01:58 AM »
Okay, I'll bite: what is the difference between a $1,200 diamond ring and a $50 sterling silver ring, aside from cost? Does it make you feel like your marriage is more legitimate somehow when you wear it? What kind of "kick" does a person get out of giving someone it?

No offense intended, I'm honestly mystified and hope one of you can explain.

Can't say for the ladies, but as the man who bought the absurdly-priced-ring ("Only $1,200? For my woman? Scoff! I'll pay no less than I would for a car!") it's caught up in a lot of age-old gender bullshit about being a good provider, etc. In a way, it's like antlers. The giant rack on a moose is his way of saying "Look, babe, I'm so fit I can afford to waste half my calories growing and carrying around these enormous, useless things."
The giant diamond satisfies a similar urge (probably socialized) in the male psyche : "Look, babe. I'm so flush I can afford to waste half my income on this enormous gaudy rock for you." Also, we want to show our love and devotion by making some great sacrifice. What else does a man in our society have to sacrifice these days than money?

Truth is, it's bullshit. Materialistic, I've-got-more-than-you bullshit. I think for the ladies it probably is, too, since they always seem to be comparing the size of their stones.

I said in a previous reply to this thread we forged our wedding bands from nickel-- which may have cost a couple bucks, total.  That we did it together, using metal that was in large part mined in our hometown, makes for a far more meaningful symbol of our partnership  and our roots than the giant shiny rock I bought her when we got engaged. I'd thought to make her something then, too, but lacked the courage of my convictions. What if she laughed? What if she spurned me? What if it didn't turn out?  So I spent far to much, to wow her and ensure she'd say yes. I absolutely didn't have to, and I should have known it. The fact that for the wedding bands she helped me find the courage to do it ourselves is another very powerful layer of meaning on the cheap-ass rings, to me.

LikeAHawlk

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #55 on: July 29, 2013, 09:23:30 AM »
I don't think anyone has posted it yet, but do you have a family ring available?  Engagement rings are traditional and diamonds are forever, so double down on the tradition if you can.  I asked my mother for her ring (not wearing it anymore) which used to belong to my Dad's grandmother.  It's a bit more meaningful than a diamond shipped from Africa.

Obviously this isn't an option for everyone, but if it is for you, try it.

I agree, if this is an option available to you, definitely look into it. My husband had his great-grandmother's engagement ring - she got married in the early 1920s - and he had the diamond from the ring taken and put into a new band as an engagement ring for me. I love that there is history behind it, especially as my side of the family has absolutely no heirlooms that get passed down. It think this is a good option if you have something like this in your family, and it strikes a good balance between being practical and spoiling your significant other (old diamond, but new band).

rubybeth

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #56 on: July 29, 2013, 10:12:05 AM »
Okay, I'll bite: what is the difference between a $1,200 diamond ring and a $50 sterling silver ring, aside from cost? Does it make you feel like your marriage is more legitimate somehow when you wear it? What kind of "kick" does a person get out of giving someone it?

No offense intended, I'm honestly mystified and hope one of you can explain.

Well, first of all, a diamond looks different (different light dispersion) than a fakey (cz, moissy, etc.), and silver tarnishes, while white gold and platinum don't. A diamond is also much harder than other material, including other gem stones, so it's wearable every day. I also like that it's a clear stone vs. a colored stone, because it always looks good with whatever nail polish I wear--another mystifying 'lady temptation,' but it keeps me from biting my nails, so does have a purpose.

I don't think my marriage is more 'legitimate' than yours if you only spent $20, just that you have different priorities. It's the same with our $6k wedding vs. a friend's $20k wedding. Are they more 'married' than us? No, they just wanted a bigger party.

As for what someone gets out of giving an engagement ring? A future wife! A ring is a gift, and it's a symbol. Is it important for everyone? No, of course not. But my DH knew I would like a ring, so he got me one.

As for why I like it, I guess I could ask, why does anyone like pretty things? Why have people been making and wearing jewelry for thousands of years?

I, like many women and some men, really enjoy jewelry, especially diamonds, which most people on this forum are probably mystified by, but that's okay. I budget and save for it just like any other large purchase. I also like helping people on the diamond forum get the best bang for their buck. I'm always trying to convince guys who want to buy from Tiffany or Cartier to skip the brand name and go for less expensive AND better quality with a trusted online vendor. :)
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 10:25:52 AM by rubybeth »

NumberCruncher

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #57 on: July 29, 2013, 10:29:22 AM »
Well, first of all, a diamond looks different (different light dispersion) than a fakey (cz, moissy, etc.)

I know just about nothing about this - what is the difference? I was trying to get a picture or something to show the difference - this is the best I could come up with: http://www.moissanitevsdiamondrings.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Moissanite_JFire_Test-Large.jpg 

Is moissy too shiny, CZ not enough (for your tastes)?

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #58 on: July 29, 2013, 11:15:13 AM »
Okay, I'll bite: what is the difference between a $1,200 diamond ring and a $50 sterling silver ring, aside from cost? Does it make you feel like your marriage is more legitimate somehow when you wear it? What kind of "kick" does a person get out of giving someone it?

No offense intended, I'm honestly mystified and hope one of you can explain.

It's a matter of taste, not legitimacy.

As for the kick someone gets out of giving it to someone? First, the same kick that comes from giving anyone an engagement ring that she'll wear forever. Second, the kick of giving her something she really wants (if that's the case) the only time in her life that she'll get it (if that's the case). Third, and feel free to disagree, I think that plunking down a significant chunk of change for a gift* makes a statement about your commitment to that person. Like it or leave it, it's the truth: plunking down that kind of cash for someone lets her know you're serious. The same concept is true of giving a family stone, although I think the commitment statement is even more pronounced there -- you're not going to give someone your grandmother's ring if you're not committed to spending the rest of your life with her.

* or, as some would say, consideration on a contract to marry. But it is the same idea.

PolarBeer

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #59 on: July 29, 2013, 11:28:11 AM »
I get that, but it does go against a lot of what is preached here at MMM though. I'm not judging anyone's tastes in jewelry, but there is a major theme among most people here that material things are relatively unimportant in the larger picture, outside of utility and comfort. Especially when those material things set you back financially meaning delaying FI date or forsaking freedom to do/buy something else. I won't protest if that $1000 or $10000 truly provides an amount of sheer happiness and joy that cannot be acquired in any other way. But I think that many or most people here would argue that other things (not necessarily costing money at all) can provide that happiness or contentment. And I also think that not spending that amount on a ring does not mean that one would not forsake that kind of money or 10x the amount or the corresponding work hours for the SO. Just not on a ring.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 11:30:07 AM by PolarBeer »

Daleth

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #60 on: July 29, 2013, 11:37:47 AM »
Well, first of all, a diamond looks different (different light dispersion) than a fakey (cz, moissy, etc.)... A diamond is also much harder than other material, including other gem stones, so it's wearable every day.

"Fakey"? That word seems to suggest that you are buying into the "diamonds are the only proper engagement-ring stone" BS. FYI, if you like white (clear, like diamonds) stones, moissanite has a slightly HIGHER refractive index than diamonds--meaning it's even more sparkly, albeit just by a little bit--and it's also the second-hardest gemstone on earth, slightly harder than rubies/sapphires*, which millions of women wear every day. Here's a link:
http://www.moissanite.com/educate/faqs/#.

* Rubies and sapphires are actually the same stone (namely, corundum) in different colors. Sapphires come in every color of the rainbow (including white), and red is one of them. There are a zillion links on that but here are a couple:
http://blog.igem.com/2010/rubies-and-sapphires-two-sides-of-the-same-coin/
 
http://www.callagold.com/jewelry-education/did-you-know-rubies-and-sapphires-are-the-same-stone/

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #61 on: July 29, 2013, 11:48:45 AM »
I get that, but it does go against a lot of what is preached here at MMM though. I'm not judging anyone's tastes in jewelry, but there is a major theme among most people here that material things are relatively unimportant in the larger picture, outside of utility and comfort. Especially when those material things set you back financially meaning delaying FI date or forsaking freedom to do/buy something else. I won't protest if that $1000 or $10000 truly provides an amount of sheer happiness and joy that cannot be acquired in any other way. But I think that many or most people here would argue that other things (not necessarily costing money at all) can provide that happiness or contentment. And I also think that not spending that amount on a ring does not mean that one would not forsake that kind of money or 10x the amount or the corresponding work hours for the SO. Just not on a ring.

You can't think about engagement rings in a social vacuum. There are stereotypes and norms and expectations. If the fiancé is not a mustacian in spirit, it's going to be pretty damn hard for her to get that sheer happiness and joy from something that's not shiny and pretty and pictured in her mind for 2 or more decades. There are strong social forces at work. In my case, there were strong family forces at work. I didn't even want a diamond (I did, however, want a beautiful gemstone ring), but got a lot of family pressure for it in order to make the engagement legitimate in their minds. My fiancé (at the time, now my husband) hemming and hawing about whether to get a diamond (he suggested moissanite) translated to me (subconsciously) as him hemming and hawing about getting married. Yes, the latter does not require the former, but there was a lot of pressure on me; and I think that there is a lot of similar pressure on most women. If there is a time for spending money that unnecessarily delays FI, I think you can do a lot worse than spending it on a piece of jewelry that your fiancé will love and wear every single day of the rest of her life.

anastrophe

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #62 on: July 29, 2013, 12:12:02 PM »
love and wear every single day of the rest of her life.

Perhaps.

Or perhaps not: http://rowdykittens.com/2010/11/diamonds-and-debt/

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #63 on: July 29, 2013, 12:21:34 PM »
love and wear every single day of the rest of her life.

Perhaps.

Or perhaps not: http://rowdykittens.com/2010/11/diamonds-and-debt/

Well, if the OP can take the advice in that article to heart, and not buy the ring with debt, then that's one way to take out one possible regret factor. I do have some regret in asking for a diamond because, deep down, I didn't want a diamond, and didn't see the outside forces for what they were. But that regret is not nearly enough to make me take off my rings. When I look at them, I see the occasions where my spouse put my engagement and wedding rings on my finger. I don't dwell on the regrets, I see the positive. Some people can look at a lot of things and have so much regret that they don't want to look at it any more. I choose to look at the positive in general, and I plan to wear them forever.

rubybeth

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #64 on: July 29, 2013, 01:37:22 PM »
Well, first of all, a diamond looks different (different light dispersion) than a fakey (cz, moissy, etc.)... A diamond is also much harder than other material, including other gem stones, so it's wearable every day.

"Fakey"? That word seems to suggest that you are buying into the "diamonds are the only proper engagement-ring stone" BS. FYI, if you like white (clear, like diamonds) stones, moissanite has a slightly HIGHER refractive index than diamonds--meaning it's even more sparkly, albeit just by a little bit--and it's also the second-hardest gemstone on earth, slightly harder than rubies/sapphires*, which millions of women wear every day. Here's a link:
http://www.moissanite.com/educate/faqs/#.

* Rubies and sapphires are actually the same stone (namely, corundum) in different colors. Sapphires come in every color of the rainbow (including white), and red is one of them. There are a zillion links on that but here are a couple:
http://blog.igem.com/2010/rubies-and-sapphires-two-sides-of-the-same-coin/
 
http://www.callagold.com/jewelry-education/did-you-know-rubies-and-sapphires-are-the-same-stone/

I use 'fakey' to refer to the stone itself. Some would argue that wearing a clear stone that *looks* like a diamond is trying to make people *think* you are wearing a real diamond, which is faking them out, therefore it's a 'fakey' stone, aka a simulant--simulating a diamond. If you wear a CZ or moissy, you likely don't walk around announcing "My ring isn't a diamond, it's a moissanite!" unless someone specifically asks, because that would be weird.

It's not about refractive index, either, it's about light dispersion, and some people are color sensitive to the tones that moissy gives off (can look greenish--I am not color sensitive but others are--someone linked a comparison above that is good). It's pretty impossible for anyone (even a jeweler) to determine CZ or moissy vs. diamond without special tools.

I NEVER said that diamonds are the only proper engagement ring stone, don't know where you got that idea. I greatly appreciate gemstones and I know that diamond engagement rings are a newer idea marketed by DeBeers. I have a spinel ring that I love, and it's rare to find anyone who knows what a spinel is. They just think it's a purple sapphire or something. Doesn't matter to me if they know or care, I just know that I enjoy it.

And I know that sapphires and rubies are both corundum--I have this screen name for a reason. :) I looked at white sapphires as an option for jewelry, but it is harder to find a well cut sapphire vs. a diamond and they are still quite expensive. Some gemstones actually cost more than diamonds because of rarity.

I get that, but it does go against a lot of what is preached here at MMM though. . .but there is a major theme among most people here that material things are relatively unimportant in the larger picture. . .But I think that many or most people here would argue that other things (not necessarily costing money at all) can provide that happiness or contentment.

I am not very mustachian when it comes to jewelry and never claimed to be. I choose where to spend my 'fun' money, and I choose jewelry over other things. And MMM himself owns many 'extras' that some would deem unnecessary (musical instruments, high quality sound system, in-home movie theatre, etc.) but he mentions that he often buys awesome things second-hand for much less than retail, and that's how I mostly buy jewelry. And we still save more than 50% of our income. :)
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 01:41:08 PM by rubybeth »

jba302

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #65 on: July 29, 2013, 02:54:01 PM »
Having done this in the last few years, palladium over platinum saved us a lot of money. Pissed off the jeweler royally too (smaller markup and he said palladium is a pain in the ass to work with). We also used a second hand diamond, the appraised value for insurance was like 10x what we ended up paying for it :).

Kitty

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #66 on: July 29, 2013, 03:53:28 PM »
Okay, I'll bite: what is the difference between a $1,200 diamond ring and a $50 sterling silver ring, aside from cost? Does it make you feel like your marriage is more legitimate somehow when you wear it? What kind of "kick" does a person get out of giving someone it?

No offense intended, I'm honestly mystified and hope one of you can explain.

There's no difference as long as the couple involved share a perspective. I consider jewellery purchases as a luxury purchase and budget accordingly. That said, diamonds have interesting optical properties that my husband (an engineer) and I enjoy. So we bought a stone we could both enjoy. I'm sure many people think it's fake, because it's a little larger than "normal" around here. Doesn't matter to me, because it's not a status symbol or an external sign of how much my husband loves me. It's just something I love very much and that my husband valued enough to budget for too.

The broader crux of my comment to the OP though was to do some research and pick a ring option that suits your taste and budget with the help of some informed consumer experts (not salespeople).   

SnackDog

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #67 on: July 29, 2013, 06:41:08 PM »
We just bought rings today.  They are identical and will serve as our engagement rings for two days until we get married after which they are our wedding bands. Got them from a reputable jeweler in San Francisco. They cost a fraction of one days wages, after tax.  Our only other wedding expenses are the county fees.

lifejoy

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #68 on: July 31, 2013, 09:53:24 AM »
Snackdog, that sounds great!

Can I ask what they look like?

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #69 on: July 31, 2013, 11:42:40 AM »
What about an heirloom ring?  Sometimes elderly family members gift things like that, totally situation-driven but jump on it ASAP if it's at all a possibility.  My wife's wedding ring has been in my family for at least a century.  She was ecstatic with it, though I was a little unsure at first that she would like it. Now she gets compliments on it all the time.  I won't tell how much it cost us because it's absurd, as in absurdly little, but we had the setting professionally cleaned and a new band put on it.

AJ

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #70 on: July 31, 2013, 12:13:58 PM »
Okay, I'll bite: what is the difference between a $1,200 diamond ring and a $50 sterling silver ring, aside from cost? Does it make you feel like your marriage is more legitimate somehow when you wear it? What kind of "kick" does a person get out of giving someone it?

No offense intended, I'm honestly mystified and hope one of you can explain.

The VAST majority of people cannot tell the difference. If you and/or your beloved are diamond connoisseurs then by all means buy the best one you can afford. But the fact remains that MOST couple pick diamonds because everyone else does. Sometimes that's because they want to follow "tradition", often they just don't realize there are other options. I know at age 20, I didn't know I had other choices. Etsy didn't exist 10 years ago, but if I were getting married today that is where I would get my ring. Choosing something made by a hobby artist (or something we designed ourselves) would be much more meaningful and provide a better conversation starter for the many decades we plan to be married.

At a minimum, she should be aware of the controversy surrounding the diamond industry (if she is not already) so that she can make an informed decision. I had no idea about that issue at the time, and if I had known, I would have insisted on something else. I would rather not be reminded of it every time I look at my finger.

Hunny156

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #71 on: July 31, 2013, 12:51:09 PM »
When we were dating, I was working in the bridal industry, so I had some social pressures to deal with.  I wanted a flawless 1 carat round diamond, in a 14kt gold setting, preferably w/some baguettes surrounding the main stone.

We shopped around, and the prospect of having $7 - $10K wrapped around my finger did not sit well with me.  We were fresh out of college, and had tiny incomes too, so I knew this would be a stretch for my future hubby, even though he really wanted to give me what I wanted.

One day we went shopping for the setting, and he picked one out that I really liked.  I think he paid about $275 for it.  I later presented him w/a 1 carat round flawless CZ, and told him to put the two together whenever he was ready.  The jeweler was less than pleased, but I love the ring!

Hubby promised to swap the stone out for a real one at a later date, and wanted to get a bigger one too.  I told him that would ruin the memory of our engagement, I want to keep the ring intact, as presented on that special day.  I don't wear it very much these days - the setting is raised and it sometimes gets caught on things, but it still looks as lovely and sparkly as it did when he first gave it to me, and I could care less if anyone knows it's real or fake.  12 years into the marriage, that's real.

As for finances, he had way more debt than I did, but once we were married, it all became our debt.  It's long gone now, and we still do everything jointly.  Larger purchases are discussed beforehand, communication lines are open, finances is one thing we rarely argue about.

savingtofreedom

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #72 on: July 31, 2013, 01:39:12 PM »
My husband purchased a diamond ring for me for our engagement.  I toyed with the idea of going with a fake but in the end we purchased a diamond in a nice band and a matching engagement ring.  In hindsight, even though I really love the ring, it was a mistake.

Especially after getting a better understanding of how the diamond market is manipulated (mostly by DeBeers in the past) to retain their super high prices.  I hate falling prey to marketing and manipulation, and typically I don't, but in this case I did.

Before anyone thinks about buying a diamond in the future I think it is worth getting a full understanding of how the price of diamonds are kept artificially inflated and how much marketing was performed to get folks to purchase diamonds for engagement rings in the first place.

My SIL had a handmade ring made by a jeweler friend which I thought was a lovely idea.  Also a white sapphire can be a nice alternative for a diamond.

Some interesting articles:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ira-weissman/7-reasons-why-you-shouldn_b_1720870.html

http://blog.priceonomics.com/post/45768546804/diamonds-are-bullshit   

RetiredAt63

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #73 on: August 02, 2013, 06:43:11 AM »
One more thing - does she wear rings a lot?  If she does, she will enjoy wearing her rings.  If not, she will probably end up putting them in a drawer.  I don't wear rings much, and my job is really bad for rings, so within a year I ended up only wearing my wedding ring.  My fingers swelled when I was pregnant, I took off the wedding ring, and it stayed off.  I was married, I didn't need the ring.  My sister-in-law lost her really expensive engagement ring when she took if off to wash her hands so soap wouldn't get into all the little crevices.  I think fancy engagement rings are more trouble than they are worth.  Actually, given the difficulty keeping them clean if you do messy work, much as I love my knotwork ring, looking back a simple gold band would have been better.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #74 on: August 02, 2013, 07:04:48 AM »
For Cerberusss and the previous girlfriend:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLugEHP3HaU

oldie but relevant  ;-)

kms

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #75 on: August 02, 2013, 08:36:38 AM »
When I was engaged a couple of years ago social pressure did its best to force me into the "you should spend two to three months salaries on an engagement ring" corner. From the very beginning I thought that was some major BS and I managed to escape the debt spiral before getting sucked into it. Fortunately, my then-girlfriend-now-wife is not the all-your-jewelery-are-belong-to-us type and had no expectations regarding the ring whatsoever. Also, I didn't want to get her something she'd only wear for a couple of months until the wedding (we got engaged in December and married in May) but also afterwards, and huge diamonds more often than not end up in your jewelery box at home because they're too big, chunky, and heavy for everyday use. I ended up buying a nice looking white gold ring for somewhere around US $400, plus another $30 for a silver ring for me. When shopping for wedding rings we both decided that we wanted white gold instead of yellow gold, since we both don't like it, and bought a matching pair of low-key but good looking rings for somewhere around US $650.

Regarding the debt issue: I'm with Frankies Girl on this one. When you decide to get married and start a life together it's sorta stupid to keep your finances separated. However, I keep myself asking randomly if I'm wrong with things like this because almost all of our friends keep their finances separatedt, and I could never understand why. Maybe it's because for some people money is more important than for others but for us it was always like meh. We'd decided to merge our finances, both income and debt, when we moved in together which happened to be about a year before we got married, and then started paying off our joined debt as a team. We started somewhere around 17k € after I graduated and started working (5k my student loan, 10k her student loan, 2k credit card) and had that paid off within less than two years.

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #76 on: August 02, 2013, 08:52:28 AM »

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #77 on: August 02, 2013, 11:10:48 AM »
I could have had a ring made for my wife out of my mom's wedding ring, but when I asked my wife what she wanted for a ring, she said "wood".  I was actually a bit insulted when she said that (because I didn't understand at the time), but I went to work and made her a wood ring.  Actually I made her about 20 because I had never done that before and kept failing.

Eventually I figured out how to do it, and I made her a mahogany wrapped wood ring and she loved it.  So the ring cost maybe pennies to make, but it took about 40 hours.

My ring is a $6 steel ring we got on our honeymoon while waiting for the ferry at Tsawwassen.

My wife is amazing though and not very many women would be down with this.

The thing I love about this all is, the ring is only a symbol of the marriage.  It's something that is very special to each of us, however it doesn't matter what the ring costs.  We spent very little on my ring because 1) We think it would be stupid to go into debt to buy a ring which in our opinion is a useless thing and 2) we have a tendency to lose things.  How terrible would it be to lose a $7000 ring?  Or to have it stollen?

Sorry for the mishmash of thoughts, but I hope that helps.

Russ

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #78 on: August 02, 2013, 11:37:49 AM »
I could have had a ring made for my wife out of my mom's wedding ring, but when I asked my wife what she wanted for a ring, she said "wood".  I was actually a bit insulted when she said that (because I didn't understand at the time), but I went to work and made her a wood ring.  Actually I made her about 20 because I had never done that before and kept failing.

Eventually I figured out how to do it, and I made her a mahogany wrapped wood ring and she loved it.  So the ring cost maybe pennies to make, but it took about 40 hours.

Just wanted to say I think this is super badass. That's one hell of a way to show commitment.

calskin

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #79 on: August 02, 2013, 01:50:09 PM »
Just wanted to say I think this is super badass. That's one hell of a way to show commitment.

Thanks.  People usually think I'm a cheapass.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #80 on: August 02, 2013, 02:45:43 PM »
I could have had a ring made for my wife out of my mom's wedding ring, but when I asked my wife what she wanted for a ring, she said "wood".  I was actually a bit insulted when she said that (because I didn't understand at the time), but I went to work and made her a wood ring.  Actually I made her about 20 because I had never done that before and kept failing.

Eventually I figured out how to do it, and I made her a mahogany wrapped wood ring and she loved it.  So the ring cost maybe pennies to make, but it took about 40 hours.

My ring is a $6 steel ring we got on our honeymoon while waiting for the ferry at Tsawwassen.

My wife is amazing though and not very many women would be down with this.

The thing I love about this all is, the ring is only a symbol of the marriage.  It's something that is very special to each of us, however it doesn't matter what the ring costs.  We spent very little on my ring because 1) We think it would be stupid to go into debt to buy a ring which in our opinion is a useless thing and 2) we have a tendency to lose things.  How terrible would it be to lose a $7000 ring?  Or to have it stollen?

Sorry for the mishmash of thoughts, but I hope that helps.
Awesome!
We almost went the bentwood route, but my better half decided shiny metal was preferable. So for wedding bands we ended up hammering out some nickels. The fact that we did it together is what throws more people than the DIY angle. (If they even believe us! Whenever I say I'm going to make something, the response is always a patronizing "oh, sure, sure.") Apparently metalwork is man's work, and couples aren't supposed to be able to tolerate each-other in the shop. (I worry for my friends marriages, after hearing that!)

Kitty

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #81 on: August 02, 2013, 03:58:31 PM »
Just wanted to say I think this is super badass. That's one hell of a way to show commitment.

Thanks.  People usually think I'm a cheapass.

REALLY?!?! Cheap? You spent hours and hours of your time perfecting a ring that your intended specifically requested, that is completely unique, and that signifies an amazing commitment to each other, and people call you CHEAP? I agree with Russ: super badass.

MoneyCat

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #82 on: August 03, 2013, 10:47:50 AM »
I spent $1500 on a 1/2 carat princess cut diamond solitaire in 14K white gold for my wife when we got engaged. She thinks it's the most beautiful thing ever and she doesn't care that it isn't something gigantic to show off to her friends.  It's simple and elegant and not ostentatious.  We have similar frugal tastes.

SnackDog

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #83 on: August 03, 2013, 10:50:54 AM »
Snackdog, that sounds great!

Can I ask what they look like?

They are classic 14K white gold bands which will never go out of style (unlike all the cool tungsten and other designer rings we liked).  Since they were affordable we don't have to worry so much about losing them or getting mugged (pretty frequent occurrence where we live).

Frugal373

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #84 on: August 03, 2013, 07:20:16 PM »
Firstly, checkout www.bluenile.com, you get such a better deal for it. Diamonds are a commodity, the only reason high end retailers can charge so much is because of their brand names...which is a total waste. My fiance spent about 5k on my ring, which is about one month salary for him. Neither of us have any debts and we both have significant savings, so from a financial perspective, I think the amount was fine. I did tell him though that I didn't need anything expensive, but I think he liked to splurge on it. And it does look amazing btw. However, if you have debt and not much savings, then I think you both should have an honest discussion about what other things you could spend that money on.

SnackDog

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #85 on: August 03, 2013, 08:51:01 PM »
Diamonds are a complete waste of money. Debeers controls the market and inflates prices.  Diamond is a very hard mineral, but it is very common and uninteresting. There is little point in owning one, especially at ridiculous prices.  If you are determined to have a stone on your finger, you are much better off with a ruby, emerald, topaz, sapphire, etc.  These are best purchased raw, from reputable sources, close to where they are mined.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #86 on: August 05, 2013, 08:25:19 AM »

The thing I love about this all is, the ring is only a symbol of the marriage.  It's something that is very special to each of us, however it doesn't matter what the ring costs.  We spent very little on my ring because 1) We think it would be stupid to go into debt to buy a ring which in our opinion is a useless thing and 2) we have a tendency to lose things.  How terrible would it be to lose a $7000 ring?  Or to have it stollen?


Honestly, I would be heartbroken to lose a ring that my husband made by hand -- whether it cost $5k or $0.05. But, the ring being wood does make it less likely to be stolen!

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #87 on: August 05, 2013, 09:33:45 AM »

The thing I love about this all is, the ring is only a symbol of the marriage.  It's something that is very special to each of us, however it doesn't matter what the ring costs.  We spent very little on my ring because 1) We think it would be stupid to go into debt to buy a ring which in our opinion is a useless thing and 2) we have a tendency to lose things.  How terrible would it be to lose a $7000 ring?  Or to have it stollen?


Honestly, I would be heartbroken to lose a ring that my husband made by hand -- whether it cost $5k or $0.05. But, the ring being wood does make it less likely to be stolen!

Yeah, but he/you can always make another.

Villanelle

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #88 on: August 05, 2013, 09:53:12 AM »
Even "get the best cut" isn't universally good advice.

the cut on my diamonds is shit, by most standards.  With the naked eye, you can see that the facets are uneven and crooked.  That's because they were cut in approximately 1910.  I have to rose cut diamonds and a miner's cut. (Basically, that means "old diamonds, cut by hand in ways different than those currently favored). I also have less than half a caret, I believe, which includes those 3 main stones, plus 16 (I just had to count) tiny diamonds set in the filigree.  I adore my ring.  It cost well less than half a month of my husband's salary.  It's unique and spectacular, and as a bonus, since it was an estate piece, I didn't have to worry about my money supporting the nastiness that is the diamond trade and the diamond companies.  I wanted something unusual, something second hand, and something with a very low profile (how far it stuck out off my finger) so I wasn't bumping it on things, catching it when I put my hand in my pocket, etc.   And my ring is all those things, perfectly.  So I don't care that the cut is shit and that the stones are probably not great quality.  It's the perfect ring for me and it was a price we both thought was reasonable. 


So women want a giant diamond and don't care much about cut, clarity, or quality.  Not my thing, but it that's what someone wants, then spending money on making sure it is flawless and perfectly cut is a waste. Some women want a perfect diamond, even it it's a bit smaller.  Some want something unique and don't care about the diamonds, and some don't want or even like diamonds.

Of course everyone should set reasonable budget limits, but beyond that, trying to supply some universal law about what is most important is going to fail because it is such an individual thing.  Find out what she likes and values most, and then make sure you get a good price for whatever that is. 

Ashcons

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #89 on: August 05, 2013, 09:55:41 AM »
Re: price of the engagement ring; that depends on what makes your fiance happy ;)  My wife and I compromised on a pretty simple ring design with a smaller diamond. She was happy to have a ring she liked and I was happy not to put us into debt as part of an antiquated system (for good or bad) of me making a show of her value to me by me giving money to a third party (how does that make sense) for an over-priced rock. I think the ring was around $500 for mounting a 3/4 ct CZ (one of our compromises) in the "white" gold (silver with a little gold in it, really).

The ring on her hand is going to be tied up money that you'll never be able to recoup and won't be able to go towards things like a house, investments/retirement, paying off debt you may have, or saving for an emergency. At one point, she lost it in our apartment and thought that she had lost it in the doctor's office - felt like a good chunk of money out the window. We found it when we were packing to move to our house several months later. Obviously I am not too romantic about all this stuff. My wedding band is a simple silver ring I picked from an eBay seller for $20. My wife, especially at the time, but less so now, had a much more romantic view on both the ring itself and the amount of money I was willing to spend on it as a show of how much I love her. And in case you're wondering, no, she doesn't wear the ring because engagement rings are impractical things.

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #90 on: August 07, 2013, 12:49:44 PM »
My wife, especially at the time, but less so now, had a much more romantic view on both the ring itself and the amount of money I was willing to spend on it as a show of how much I love her.
That's the tricky part. You can't expect possible partners that you meet to be perfect mustachians (unless you are very patient). I really object to the attitude when a girl "demands" a ring but at the same time I can't necessarily label it a character flaw, there might be nothing wrong with her at all except lack of experience and education in finance (and lack of philosophical perspective on finances/happiness/spending). People are imperfect. And we mustachians are already very aware of spotting consumerist traits among possible partners, so if a partner is already considered acceptable, a wish for a ring will probably not be the one thing that ends the relationship. (There's the story about my friend who probably should have done just that... but that's easy to say looking back, wasn't too easy to see the big picture at the time)
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 12:56:59 PM by PolarBeer »

lifejoy

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #91 on: August 08, 2013, 10:12:35 PM »
I love all of the thoughtful posts here! My bf and I are going a similar thing... Except I want $0 rings and he wants $3000+.

For him, he doesn't want to appear to be cheap, and he also enjoys the finer things in life. I think, that in terms of spending money on something, you're going to wear it every day - so why not? People spend $200 on a shirt, which I think is dumb. If you buy lovely wedding rings, they can be heirlooms for your grandchildren :) Just make sure to find out what she likes! Good luck :) :)

ilyeana

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #92 on: August 09, 2013, 12:12:02 PM »
Ugh. Usually I try to keep my mouth shut about engagement rings, but since this post is on this particular forum, I feel okay saying that your fiance's mentality about engagement rings (that she deserves/is entitled to/will not forego having something useless but shiny just because she grew up being told that that was what she should aspire to) is EXACTLY the mentality that lands people with huge mortgages and credit card bills and tons of crap that they don't need. And therefore exactly the kind of thing that this site is about opting out of.

It's just such a hypocritical mentality - engagement rings are supposed to be a symbol of commitment, and most women would never say outright that the cash outlay is more important than the symbolism of it...but most clearly think that it is, because they get upset when the symbol of their beloved's commitment isn't big and shiny enough. Sorry, but that's BS, ladies.

And for the record, I am a woman...of typical marriage age...and if my partner ever tried to give me an engagement ring, I would be offended. My commitment is not for sale.

rubybeth

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #93 on: August 09, 2013, 05:30:27 PM »
Firstly, checkout www.bluenile.com, you get such a better deal for it. Diamonds are a commodity, the only reason high end retailers can charge so much is because of their brand names...which is a total waste. My fiance spent about 5k on my ring, which is about one month salary for him. Neither of us have any debts and we both have significant savings, so from a financial perspective, I think the amount was fine. I did tell him though that I didn't need anything expensive, but I think he liked to splurge on it. And it does look amazing btw. However, if you have debt and not much savings, then I think you both should have an honest discussion about what other things you could spend that money on.

I would avoid Blue Nile. Check out vendors I previously mentioned or visit Pricescope forum for recommendations for the style you prefer.

rubybeth

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #94 on: August 09, 2013, 05:36:16 PM »
Even "get the best cut" isn't universally good advice.

the cut on my diamonds is shit, by most standards.  With the naked eye, you can see that the facets are uneven and crooked.  That's because they were cut in approximately 1910.  I have to rose cut diamonds and a miner's cut. (Basically, that means "old diamonds, cut by hand in ways different than those currently favored). I also have less than half a caret, I believe, which includes those 3 main stones, plus 16 (I just had to count) tiny diamonds set in the filigree.  I adore my ring.  It cost well less than half a month of my husband's salary.  It's unique and spectacular, and as a bonus, since it was an estate piece, I didn't have to worry about my money supporting the nastiness that is the diamond trade and the diamond companies.  I wanted something unusual, something second hand, and something with a very low profile (how far it stuck out off my finger) so I wasn't bumping it on things, catching it when I put my hand in my pocket, etc.   And my ring is all those things, perfectly.  So I don't care that the cut is shit and that the stones are probably not great quality.  It's the perfect ring for me and it was a price we both thought was reasonable. 


So women want a giant diamond and don't care much about cut, clarity, or quality.  Not my thing, but it that's what someone wants, then spending money on making sure it is flawless and perfectly cut is a waste. Some women want a perfect diamond, even it it's a bit smaller.  Some want something unique and don't care about the diamonds, and some don't want or even like diamonds.

Of course everyone should set reasonable budget limits, but beyond that, trying to supply some universal law about what is most important is going to fail because it is such an individual thing.  Find out what she likes and values most, and then make sure you get a good price for whatever that is.

Cut is king, regardless of type. I have some antiques myself (Old European and transitionals) and they are so well cut, they are even prettier/sparklier than my modern cuts. My main advice still stands: do your research so you don't get ripped off. Buy online and save the costs of a jewellery store's overhead.

Villanelle

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #95 on: August 12, 2013, 06:18:33 AM »
Why is cut king though?  Because *you* think it's most important?

If someone wants a huge stone and doesn't care about the cut, why is that a less valid (or less whatever-else) approach than "buy the best cut you can afford"?  As long as they aren't over-paying for the diamond they are getting, why is your emphasis on cut more worthy than their emphasis on size, or someone else's emphasis on clarity or color?

My crappy diamonds are definitely more sparkly in low light than modern-cut diamonds. It's not because they are well cut, but I think that the style and shape of the cuts is more conducive to that kind of light.  Perhaps because back then, that's the kind of light they had--candles vs. overhead fluorescents!

rubybeth

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #96 on: August 12, 2013, 08:26:17 AM »
Why is cut king though?  Because *you* think it's most important?

Because a well cut stone in a lower color/clarity will look better than a poorly cut stone in a high color/clarity. Well cut stones also get you the correct 'spread' for the carat weight, meaning the face up size/diameter of the top of the stone will be better than a deeply cut stone (which will face up smaller) or avoid the sometimes ugly effects of a shallow cut stone. You may be able to get a stone just shy of a price jump weight (like a .45 vs. a .5 carat, or a .9 vs. a 1.0) and it will face up very similarly to the price jump weight, and might even look bigger than someone else's deep/steep cut stone of a heavier weight.

I still suggest that the buyer of any type of jewelry do their own research and figure out their priorities when spending their pennies, but a well cut stone will generally perform better than a less well cut stone. I'd rather have a smaller, well cut diamond than a larger, poorly cut stone. I also believe the potential re-sale of a well cut stone is higher than that of a less well cut stone. People can literally see the difference in brightness and scintillation. Is that everyone's priority when buying a diamond? Probably not, but I would still suggest comparing two stones side by side to see the difference.

My OECs/transitionals do look amazing in lower light situations, which I just love! Your stones are likely quite well cut. It sounds like your stones are just lovely--would love to see photos!

homeymomma

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #97 on: August 12, 2013, 10:03:23 AM »
I'd say follow her lead on this one. Go hunting for them online, in jewelry stores, antique stores, anywhere and everywhere you might find a unique, handmade, used, antique, or whatever ring that she LOVES and is happy with the price. Since she is already of the mindset, "I don't want you to spend an exorbitant amount" - then clearly the status of spending $XX on it is not important to her. What matter is that she loves it and will want to wear it every day! Don't push her to find a non-diamond ring if a diamond is what she wants.