Author Topic: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts  (Read 41955 times)

aaronpct

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Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« on: July 26, 2013, 01:17:23 PM »
Hello MMM community,

How much is a reasonable amount to spend on an engagement ring? 
How do people treat their separate debts when tying the knot?
Any ideas on how to get the best deals for rings/diamonds?

Background:

We have both gone out to look at rings, she felt like a princess for a day but when the price tag of 7k came up from the jeweler (after more research I found he was giving us a good deal for what a retailer could provide comparing similar prices that I was seeing in Costco) she said it was too much and would be happier with something much more affordable.  I'm sure if I went with a much smaller stone I could cut that price in half and not feel like I was getting sucker punched by the diamond industry and still make her happy.

Finances:

MY SO has a 5k student loan that she is paying off, and I said out loud to her that i'd rather spend that much money to pay off her loan.  But she refuses to allow me to do so and wants a ring because that is where her dreams of getting married come into play.  Also she doesn't want any one else to take responsibility for her debts.

We both work full time jobs, except she is going back to school at nights so she can change her career.  She landed in retail because she didn't have a college degree and was able to work her way up to a Managing Director position which pays pretty good.  She is going back to school because she's a Bosnian immigrant who came to this country after the war and because her family received so much help along the way, she really wants to transition into the non-profit world.  (She already volunteers a lot of her time.  When I say things like why don't you learn something that will make you more money and you can just donate to non-profits or anything along those lines, she is not open to any of those types of suggestions.  Don't get me wrong, I admire her for her passion in all of this...not only does she not want help (independence) but she wants to help others.  I wish there were more like this in the world.

Thanks for your time!

xocotl

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2013, 01:42:33 PM »
How much is a reasonable amount to spend on an engagement ring? 

I'm probably not qualified to answer this. I don't think I spent a reasonable amount on my wife's engagement ring. It was a rather absurd splurge, but I have no debt or anything, so it's not like it materially hurt my financial position, and I don't regret it.

How do people treat their separate debts when tying the knot?

My wife and I maintain both separate and joint finances; her car loan at the time remained hers. Assets and liabilities only become joint when we explicitly decide to, generally because it's easier to deal with that way (rent, cell phone, groceries, etc.). I think this very much depends on what works for you.

John74

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2013, 01:47:02 PM »
I spent about $500 on the engagement ring in 1999 (half a month salary at the time). Still happily married 12 years later. We could afford to upgrade the ring now but my wife won't do it.

velocistar237

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2013, 01:48:05 PM »
How much is a reasonable amount to spend on an engagement ring? 

I'd say spend as little as possible. I know you want it to be meaningful, but for everyone, spending more seems more meaningful up to a point, and beyond that it seems wasteful. For me, that point is now very low. It just doesn't make sense to say, let's start off the rest of our life together by spending all our money.

I'm a guy. My ring is made of tungsten carbide. Machining bits are made from tungsten carbide, so it doesn't scratch. It was pretty cheap, just not resizeable, so size well or find a place that will exchange. They sell the things on Amazon.

If you go with a diamond for her ring, consider going with a lower-grade clarity. Friends and family aren't going to study the thing under a 10x loupe. Something like SI1 or SI2 is fine.

Would you consider ebay? Something like this.

I bought through Blue Nile. It was fine for what I bought, but my wife rarely wears it. It snags on things and pokes me when I hold her hand. I think I spent a little over $2K, and it now seems like it wasn't worth it.

From Retired Syd

Quote from: Retired Syd
When Doug and I got engaged I told him I didnít want a ring yet because we were saving for a house.  After we bought the house, I said I didnít want a ring yet because we needed a new car.  After that it was a new deck and who remembers what it was after that.

Spending money on a diamond ring means youíre not going to spend that money on something else, something now or something later.  By thinking about what Iíd rather have each time the subject came up, I finally realized that I never really wanted a diamond ring.  For me it was something you were just supposed to have, not something I really wanted.


How do people treat their separate debts when tying the knot?

We merged our finances. I brought about $8K in school debt into the marriage, and my wife brought $100K of debt. I've brought in 90% of our earnings, and now she stays home with the kids and keeps our expenses low.

Eric

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2013, 01:57:02 PM »
So I take it she has her mind set on receiving an engagement ring?  I realize it's tradition, but it seems sort of antiquated to me.  The concept is from the old days when the man was supposed to take care of and provide for the woman, as opposed to it being a shared partnership.  I married my wife without one, and we were both fine with only buying the wedding rings.  My thinking was, since we're going to be equal partners, why would I spend a lot of money on jewelry for her when she wasn't going to do the same for me?  And luckily, she agreed.

I guess this is me agreeing with velocistar, saying spend as little as possible.

NumberCruncher

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2013, 02:03:24 PM »
So I take it she has her mind set on receiving an engagement ring?  I realize it's tradition, but it seems sort of antiquated to me.  The concept is from the old days when the man was supposed to take care of and provide for the woman, as opposed to it being a shared partnership.  I married my wife without one, and we were both fine with only buying the wedding rings.  My thinking was, since we're going to be equal partners, why would I spend a lot of money on jewelry for her when she wasn't going to do the same for me?  And luckily, she agreed.

I guess this is me agreeing with velocistar, saying spend as little as possible.

+1

If there has to be a ring, does it have to be a diamond?
http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/07/non-diamond-engagement-rings/
(note links to other engagement ring posts including buying vintage)


anastrophe

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2013, 02:08:37 PM »
I skipped it entirely. We each get a ring when we get married, what's the point of getting two?

I was going to dig up all the previous threads on these topics but I'm too lazy...hey matchewed, we should put this one in the FAQ.

cerberusss

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2013, 02:10:33 PM »
I've been of different minds. When I was 25, my limit was about 700-800 euros. Now that I'm 35 and have been through a separation (we weren't married, but might as well been), I would spend maybe 200 max.

Thank god my girlfriend thinks gold is ugly, and diamonds are pompous. As an alternative, I've given her a workshop making jewelry. You get to play with torches and semi precious stones, and you get to make your own ring. Costs a hundred.

As for finances, after the above mentioned separation, I'm of the opinion that there's not enough good reasons to mix love and finances.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 02:12:51 PM by cerberusss »

Kazimieras

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2013, 02:10:36 PM »
So I take it she has her mind set on receiving an engagement ring?  I realize it's tradition, but it seems sort of antiquated to me.  The concept is from the old days when the man was supposed to take care of and provide for the woman, as opposed to it being a shared partnership.  I married my wife without one, and we were both fine with only buying the wedding rings.  My thinking was, since we're going to be equal partners, why would I spend a lot of money on jewelry for her when she wasn't going to do the same for me?  And luckily, she agreed.

I guess this is me agreeing with velocistar, saying spend as little as possible.

It is entirely a partnership and a bit dated. I had the money sitting in an account, but hadn't gotten around to selecting the ring. My girlfriend at the time was annoyed that I wasn't asking her (this ignores the "engagement house down-payment" I gave) and then suddenly realized - wait a second... why am I annoyed he isn't asking when I am perfectly capable. So she went out, found a ring and bought it for me :) (it was under $100). I did recipricate and we had amazing luck with estate jewelry (aka used). We got a lovely ring for $750 which would have cost ~4k new.

Lesson to be learned - used is cheaper than new
 - If you want new, be smart about it. Diamonds are a cartel and artificially inflated in price. A synthetic (which would be of better quality than any natural stone) can be had at 1/10th the price and it is impossible for the average person to tell the difference. So if you must go with new, get her a nice synth diamond :)

anastrophe

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2013, 02:13:59 PM »
As an alternative, I've given her a workshop making jewelry. You get to play with torches and semi precious stones, and you get to make your own ring. Costs a hundred.

That's awesome! My partner makes some nice jewelry with a small oxyacetylene torch but I wish I'd thought to buy supplies as an engagement present!

Frankies Girl

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2013, 02:15:19 PM »
My engagement ring and band cost $250. It had 13 tiny diamonds in yellow gold. We bought it at a department store.

I no longer wear it as I was sick to death of breaking off prongs and flattening the band, and digging paint out of all the tiny little holes. I am an artist an work with my hands quite a bit, and very hard on jewelry, so while I like shiny objects, I don't wear them very often. I also started realizing that it's a hunk of shiny rock and metal that has an artificially inflated value. I'd sell it for what we could get if my husband wasn't still sort of sentimental about it. I'm just glad we didn't drop more money on something so incredible stupid. I have no interest in showing off to other women, and I don't attach any self-worth to how much my husband paid for something like that.

I currently wear a stainless steel band that we got at a funky little flea market for $8. It's beautiful and doesn't scratch or deform and I get quite a few compliments on it, strangely enough. Hubby got a matching one at the same time, and he really likes his too - it's much nicer than what he had before and has no interest in ever wearing his old band.

No matter how much you pay for a ring, no matter how much certifications and reassurances you get from the jeweler... it's almost never going to be worth what you paid. Most of the time, it will be quite a bit less, and that is if you even decide to sell it at some future date. The money you spend is forever bound up in the ring, and unless you're carrying around your certifications and a jewel's loupe to pass out to everyone she meets so they can properly examine it, most people would have no idea that the ring is this or that grade or just how much you did or didn't spend. So when looking, keep that in mind as well.

I'm partial to the idea of looking at antique shops for vintage rings if I had to have something now. Those are worth more in terms of design and uniqueness and history, and price wise, they will not set you back as badly as a mass produced jewelry store ring.

What you spend on the ring is up to you and your intended spouse. It is sometimes a flat out "I want a fancy ring" and no budging, so be prepared to do the best you can without going into debt and still make her happy. BUT if you could discuss and maybe work around to a compromise, that would be great if she's willing to think of why she wants what she wants.

As far as the debts before marriage...this is just my feelings on it, but they are shared debts after you get married. If you go into a marriage/partnership with the idea that you're keeping things like that separate, then it sort of means that there is some sort of resentment or distrust or something... lacking in the overall relationship in my opinion. You're a team, so you should act like it. It doesn't mean that the one that incurred the debt shouldn't feel a deep sense of obligation to work harder to tackle that debt, tho, and they sure as hell shouldn't be irresponsible and rack up further debt or hide money or the like. Not that I'm saying that's your fiancee - she actually sounds very nice - but it's something else to make sure you've discussed at length (handling of money and debts) before you make it official. ;)
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 02:18:49 PM by Frankies Girl »

aaronpct

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2013, 02:35:10 PM »
Wow there are a lot of great options here.  I've been trying to look through EBAY and Craigslist, its just really hard to find the type of design that she would want if I were to get an engagement ring.  I really like the idea of just getting wedding bands. If that works out I can use the money saved to throw at a small party for friends and family to celebrate. =)

MissStache

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2013, 02:35:38 PM »
I'm of the opinion that big engagements rings (and especially diamonds) are a ridiculous and silly tradition, but I got reamed on a different thread for saying that in a judgemental way, so I'm trying to be more kind!

For how much is reasonable, I think you need to look at your finances and see what you can afford and then see if that is something she would be happy with.  She said she would be happier with something much for affordable, but has she seen what those rings look like?  If a big, sparkly diamond is something she has her heart set on, she may actually be really disappointed with what a $3000 ring looks like.  Then you're out $3000 and she isn't happy!

For what is affordable, I'll parrot everyone else and say antique stores and estate jewelery can be reasonably priced, and stay away from diamonds if you can.  There are some truly gorgeous stones that are far more beautiful than diamonds and much cheaper  (Anyone ever been to the Hall of Minerals at the Smithsonian?  The diamonds are laughably boring compared to all the other sparkles!).  Most people are so brainwashed by the genius advertising of DeBeers that they never consider other options.  I'm a big fan of pearls and sapphires, myself!

Congratulations on your upcoming engagement! I think your girlfriend sounds lovely!

aaronpct

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2013, 02:39:31 PM »
If a big, sparkly diamond is something she has her heart set on, she may actually be really disappointed with what a $3000 ring looks like.  Then you're out $3000 and she isn't happy!

Congratulations on your upcoming engagement! I think your girlfriend sounds lovely!


Great Quote, and thank you I think so too!!

basd

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2013, 03:10:07 PM »
I spent about 40 on the engagement ring, as it was to be switched for a proper wedding ring at the wedding.

We spent about 300 for the pair. We have stainless steel ones (we both think gold is ugly, and silver doesn't really do it either), those are much cheaper, plus they were hand made by the jeweller himself, meaning you can tinker with the design a little and have truly unique ones. Ours are simple yet elegant.

jpo

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2013, 03:15:07 PM »
OP, have you looked at moissanite? http://www.moissanite.com/educate/what-is-moissanite

It's much cheaper and nearly identical or in some cases superior to diamond. And nobody's getting killed in Africa.

Kipp

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2013, 03:21:23 PM »
I spent $1000 on the engagement ring and $400 on the band and my wife had them attached together.  I got a cheap titanium ring (cannot be resized).

aaronpct

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2013, 03:26:22 PM »
OP, have you looked at moissanite? http://www.moissanite.com/educate/what-is-moissanite

It's much cheaper and nearly identical or in some cases superior to diamond. And nobody's getting killed in Africa.

I've not considered it - I think as long as its shiny no one except a trained jeweler will know the difference.  I will def look into it. :)

Megatron

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2013, 04:39:07 PM »
goddammit. (hangs head in shame...) i bought my fiancee a 1+ carat diamond ring literally a month before coming across MMM. I've always thought diamonds were bullshit and looked into moissanite a bit but got pressured into "oh you can't buy her that cheap stuff" mentality by family and friends. I've always been a traveler and I figure with that money I can get my fiancee and I a pair of Round the world tickets with it. My aunt is a jeweler in Hong Kong, and I was going to design the ring and send her the money. The ring was about 6k = (1 month salary dafuq)! and I wrestled with the idea of printing out a picture of the ring and a picture about 6k worth of cash. I went to the bank and took out 6 thousand dollars and had my aunt send over the picture of a similar size ring. (we haven't start the design yet) and I was going to get down on my knee and ask my girlfriend to pick one. In the end, I didn't do it because I realized that even though she's somewhat frugal and I think she would love anything that I give her, I know she'll like the social status among her peers that comes with a diamond. and I know she'll cherish it. I put my story here, hoping someone, someday would use my proposal idea. I think it's a pretty good proposal idea. I still have the images on my computer.

p.s. she loves the ring but said it didn't need to be that big and she didn't even pay attention to the certificate of authenticity and threw it in a drawer.

p.p.s In hindsight, I could've gotten something smaller and cheaper, but I'm also helping my aunt with her business.

p.p.p.s  I still think the diamond industry is bullshit.

CeciliaW

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2013, 05:17:03 PM »
For something rather more interesting there's an option called 'wedding ring workshop'.

You work with a professional jeweler and make your own rings, from the molten metal to the finished ring, usually in a day.

People have described as an 'experience'.

Just another option.

The knitter

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2013, 05:51:31 PM »
I told my husband (then boyfriend) I didn't want a ring, I just wanted to be married to him.

He thought I was being romantic, or something, and bought me a ring anyways.

First, he didn't spend an obscene amount - probably $1,200 (which still seems high, but not in comparison to some others I've heard I've). Second, if you pick the right style, cut, etc., you can give the appearance of a bigger diamond, when you're only paying for a .75 karat stone.

Third, I wasn't kidding when I said I didn't want an engagement ring. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful and I do like how it looks on, and I did like the attention random strangers (usually old ladies) would give me when they realized I was engaged to be married.

But honestly, I often wear only my wedding band now that we are married. (We took our parents' bands, so we didn't pay anything extra for them, and, mine is a sweet 70's retro style that looks really cool with my more timeless and simple engagement ring).

The reasons I wear only my wedding band: I'm uncomfortable wearing a single item of jewelry that costs more than I have in my savings account. (I've since fixed the low savings balance, by the way)

And, as a result, I'm worried I will somehow damage it, lose it, or get it stolen.

Also, it doesn't fit well into my motorcycle gloves.


So, in summary, consider whether she'll actually feel comfortable wearing the ring in addition to the costs.


DocCyane

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2013, 05:59:26 PM »
My parents didnt have money for an engagement ring, so they bought two gold bands that they still wear today, 48 years later. That's the goal to strive for.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2013, 06:00:34 PM »
I love my engagement ring, but I seriously regret that we spent so much on it. We were seriously broke college students, and in retrospect, we should have gotten matching bands. Now, I see smart  girls choosing other stones, pearls, or even cubic zirconia for their rings. I think something made by an artist (etsy) would be unique and special.  I recently read an article entitled something like "diamonds are bullsh@t".  Basically, diamonds aren't really an investment and they're not all that rare.  One company owns all the mines and cutting and sets retail prices.

We combined our assets, or rather lack of them. I have always looked at it as our money, even though I have been a stay at home mom for 15+ years. Works for us, but everyone has to work out their own comfort level. Good luck!

Riceman

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2013, 06:54:10 PM »
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.

steveo

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2013, 07:51:22 PM »
I spent about $200 on the engagement ring for my wife. I think spending anymore than that is pretty stupid.

As for debts and assets I think assuming you are young and not hugely wealthy everything gets combined and you try to work together to save and move forward.


meadow lark

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2013, 09:26:11 PM »
Does she really want a diamond?  As socially conscious as she is, I am surprised she would want one that might have come from and funded slavery, war, and terror.  I personally would choose either a CZ or a used one based on that.
   One comment on other stones though - I had opals in my wedding ring, managed to crack them while winter camping.  Evidently you can destroy them if they get too cold.  Also, pearls are a little delicate if you are expecting something to stand up to daily use for the next 70 years.  So be aware of durability.  This really is a buy it for life item!  If you go with synthetics, pay for it to be set in gold or  Sterling silver is also fine, but don't get anything plated.  Daily wear with plating may last for 5 years (if you're really lucky.). It will not last 70! 

lifejoy

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2013, 10:01:03 PM »
Also if I needed one to impress friends and family: http://www.fantasyjewelrybox.com/

Rural

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #28 on: July 26, 2013, 10:07:31 PM »
My husband was really set on the idea of an engagement ring, so I suggested garnet, which is my favorite stone (I hate diamonds and made it clear I would not wear one). He got me a nice big sparkly solitaire for $100. Our wedding rings were matching endless knot designs in sterling silver bought from a hippie with a street kiosk. He made them himself, and the pair cost $54. Now, I wear a plain white gold band ($60) because the original was too bulky for my hand and hurt over time. He nearly jerked his finger off by getting the ring stuck one time too many working on cars or heavy equipment and I put my foot down and got him to quit wearing his. The marriage abides. :)
« Last Edit: July 27, 2013, 06:13:22 AM by Rural »

Beckyemerson

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #29 on: July 26, 2013, 10:12:41 PM »
I think a great lower price option is an antique ring. They are one of kind and lovely. http://www.brilliantearth.com/The-Leilani-Ring-White-Gold-BTG675034/

Also you ought to check with her family. A ring that has been in her family would be low cost and it's sentimental value would make it priceless.

Micheal

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #30 on: July 26, 2013, 10:37:38 PM »
My wedding ring is a Titanium bearing retainer with a quartz Triangle inserted into it, cost $35 on a website, my wife's wedding ring is a simple sterling silver celtic knot wrap that we found in a lake on a camping trip, she refuses to wear anything else.  I did get her a $500 engagement ring, but we had to sell that later on (got $650 for it) to pay for some emergency dental work.

worms

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2013, 11:31:53 PM »
When I got engaged I had been saving up to buy shares in a company called AC Cars (the car geeks may remember the AC Cobra) which had recently moved to my home town and been floated on the London stock market. I really wanted these shares (actually, I really wanted one of their cars, but that was never going to happen!) but instead I got engaged and used all the money to buy a very tastefully understated engagement ring by a local designer with a top quality diamond and 9 carat gold.

The shares took off, then crashed a year or two later.  The marriage is still going strong 27 years later.  I have absolutely no regrets about the cost of the ring!

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #32 on: July 26, 2013, 11:51:41 PM »
Does she really want a diamond?  As socially conscious as she is, I am surprised she would want one that might have come from and funded slavery, war, and terror.  I personally would choose either a CZ or a used one based on that.
   One comment on other stones though - I had opals in my wedding ring, managed to crack them while winter camping.  Evidently you can destroy them if they get too cold.  Also, pearls are a little delicate if you are expecting something to stand up to daily use for the next 70 years.  So be aware of durability.  This really is a buy it for life item!  If you go with synthetics, pay for it to be set in gold or  Sterling silver is also fine, but don't get anything plated.  Daily wear with plating may last for 5 years (if you're really lucky.). It will not last 70!

You are correct that pearls and opals are not durable. The girl I met with a pearl figured she might have to replace the pearl. They aren't terribly expensive.  I also agree with getting a solid metal. Even silver is great if you keep it polished.

Beckyemerson

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #33 on: July 27, 2013, 12:23:50 AM »
Does she really want a diamond?  As socially conscious as she is, I am surprised she would want one that might have come from and funded slavery, war, and terror.  I personally would choose either a CZ or a used one based on that.
   One comment on other stones though - I had opals in my wedding ring, managed to crack them while winter camping.  Evidently you can destroy them if they get too cold.  Also, pearls are a little delicate if you are expecting something to stand up to daily use for the next 70 years.  So be aware of durability.  This really is a buy it for life item!  If you go with synthetics, pay for it to be set in gold or  Sterling silver is also fine, but don't get anything plated.  Daily wear with plating may last for 5 years (if you're really lucky.). It will not last 70!

You are correct that pearls and opals are not durable. The girl I met with a pearl figured she might have to replace the pearl. They aren't terribly expensive.  I also agree with getting a solid metal. Even silver is great if you keep it polished.

Don't get pearls. I got pearls in my ring and they became dull and then fell out. I had them replaced and a year and half later it happened again. I am about to replace them with stones instead. I don't want a ring that is a continual money suck.

Micheal

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #34 on: July 27, 2013, 12:41:29 AM »
Does she really want a diamond?  As socially conscious as she is, I am surprised she would want one that might have come from and funded slavery, war, and terror.  I personally would choose either a CZ or a used one based on that.
   One comment on other stones though - I had opals in my wedding ring, managed to crack them while winter camping.  Evidently you can destroy them if they get too cold.  Also, pearls are a little delicate if you are expecting something to stand up to daily use for the next 70 years.  So be aware of durability.  This really is a buy it for life item!  If you go with synthetics, pay for it to be set in gold or  Sterling silver is also fine, but don't get anything plated.  Daily wear with plating may last for 5 years (if you're really lucky.). It will not last 70!

You are correct that pearls and opals are not durable. The girl I met with a pearl figured she might have to replace the pearl. They aren't terribly expensive.  I also agree with getting a solid metal. Even silver is great if you keep it polished.

Don't get pearls. I got pearls in my ring and they became dull and then fell out. I had them replaced and a year and half later it happened again. I am about to replace them with stones instead. I don't want a ring that is a continual money suck.

Semi-Precious stones ar an option and usually are much cheaper, and in my opinion much better looking.

gooki

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2013, 01:38:50 AM »
I haven't read all the replies, but this is what I did.

Consider a fake diamond. I spent $150 on the ring, and $70 on a hand made wooden box.

My wife never had the faintest idea it was a "man made" diamond, until I told her three years later.

PS it was mostly the ring design that drew me to the fake diamond. Anything with real diamonds just seemed ghastly.

As for our debts, I took 20k student loan into the marriage, and paid it back through pay check deductions. But technically since we combined all our income into a single account it was essentially shared. If her interest rates are significantly low do t worry about it. By investing your spare income you are sharing the debt burden.

PhotoBrandon

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2013, 04:32:12 AM »
I'm another one in support of the CZ/Moissanite/Semi-precious stone route if she is onboard with the idea.  I've never been a big fan of diamonds (for many reasons), and very early on in our relationship I made sure to get my wife's opinion on the topic, and was glad she was on board.  After doing months of research I ended up getting her a beautiful ring for less than $700 from http://www.ashadiamonds.com/.  Asha is a brand name for a type of coated CZ, it has held up really well so far and she still gets complements on it all the time.  We got both of our wedding bands on ebay for pretty cheap, and hers came as part of a set which we were able to sell the rest of on craigslist for what we paid for the set.

As far as combining finances, there are lots of ways to do it.  We basically just combined everything but both have our own personal checking accounts which we put a small amount of money into monthly for gifts/dates/etc, mostly as a way to surprise the other.   As far as the loan, once you are married in my opinion debts and assets are both shared at that point, so anything you have leftover after ring(s) and wedding would make sense to go to it then.  Or invest it if she really insists on paying the loan from her share of the finances. 

rubybeth

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #37 on: July 27, 2013, 10:08:39 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.


CeciliaW

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #38 on: July 27, 2013, 12:40:44 PM »
Don't get pearls. I got pearls in my ring and they became dull and then fell out. I had them replaced and a year and half later it happened again. I am about to replace them with stones instead. I don't want a ring that is a continual money suck.

She's right. Pearls do not belong in a ring where they will get banged around and ruined.

Pearls are gorgeous on your ears or around your neck.

pennypincher

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #39 on: July 27, 2013, 01:14:31 PM »
Can I recommend this article from A Practical Wedding? Which is actually a great resource for non-crazymaking wedding planning.

http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/03/i-want-an-expensive-engagement-ring/

(Ignore the title, it is mostly about negotiating gift-giving and expectations about engagement rings).

We can come up with all kinds of "less expensive" ways to have rings, but what works for you can only be figured out in conversation with your partner.

Daleth

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #40 on: July 27, 2013, 04:32:09 PM »
Wow there are a lot of great options here.  I've been trying to look through EBAY and Craigslist, its just really hard to find the type of design that she would want if I were to get an engagement ring.  I really like the idea of just getting wedding bands. If that works out I can use the money saved to throw at a small party for friends and family to celebrate. =)

You could try GreenKarat.com. They will custom-make rings for you or slightly alter, to suit your tastes, whatever rings they have on their site. Also, you can order "X ring with a ruby/white sapphire/moissanite/emerald/whatever instead of a diamond" or "X ring with a smaller diamond" to reduce the list price.

And how does your fiancee feel about lab-created gemstones? That's what's in my absolutely gorgeous engagement ring, which DH got at Green Karat (we designed it together by having them modify a design on their website and switching out the metal and stone for ones I liked more). IMHO a lab-created diamond is like a hydroponic tomato--in other words it's real, it just grew in a different way than ones created in nature. And objectively speaking, that's just the truth; a lab-created sapphire or whatever IS a sapphire, chemically and physically indistinguishable from a sapphire that came out of the ground, except for the fact that it's perfect (nothing in nature is perfect, but lab-created gems are). Oh, it's perfect AND it's a lot cheaper! :)

Daleth

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #41 on: July 27, 2013, 04:37:16 PM »
OP, have you looked at moissanite? http://www.moissanite.com/educate/what-is-moissanite

It's much cheaper and nearly identical or in some cases superior to diamond. And nobody's getting killed in Africa.

I have some moissanites in my engagement ring. They are BEAUTIFUL, and like all moissanites, measurably MORE sparkly than diamonds of the same size: http://www.4facets.com/moissanite.html

The clincher for me was the extreme COOLNESS of where moissanite originally came from: a shooting star! (Or in everyday terms, a meteorite.) Moissanite is not naturally formed on the earth, but in I think the 19th century a French guy called Moisson discovered a meteorite that contained these astonishingly lovely sparkly gems. It got named moissanite, after him, and until someone figured out how to make it in a lab, the only moissanite on earth came on shooting stars. The gems in the shooting stars were not big enough to make good jewelry from, so all moissanite jewelry by definition is lab-created, but HOW COOL that this gemstone isn't even from earth; it's so celestial, so outer space-y... I just think that's really cool.

lysistrata

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #42 on: July 27, 2013, 04:55:54 PM »
When we were discussing getting married, my husband made it clear that one thing he wanted to do was design our wedding rings himself. To him, the wedding rings were the important rings - the engagement ring wasn't so much. His mother game him some of her mother's jewellery and he had it melted down and designed two beautiful - and very unique - rings and had them made. Total cost - around $500.

I agreed with his sentiment entirely, and we went together to a jewellery shop and chose a beautiful ring with an ethically-sourced garnet (I don't like diamonds) for under $200. My engagement ring wasn't a surprise, but he surprised me at the wedding with the wedding rings!

We combined finances before we got married, and I helped him set a budget to pay off $400 he had on a credit card. We then cancelled the card. He also had a $20k student loan, but in NZ student loans are 0% interest and they just deduct 10% (now 12%) of your pay until it's paid off. It's set to be gone in 20 months, so no worries. I remember sitting down together and having a discussion about what money meant to us and what was important in the future, and what we could do together if we committed to saving a significant amount. This really helped us start off on the right track.

MrsPete

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #43 on: July 27, 2013, 09:03:53 PM »
I have a moderate diamond engagement ring, a ten-year anniversary band, and a wedding band.  After 23 years of marriage, I still love my engagement ring and wear it every day.  Before you go Łber-practical and say you're going to skip this unnecessary item be sure your future fiancťe feels the same way.  I would've felt a little "left out" if I hadn't had an engagement ring. 

As for bringing debt into the marriage, this is too broad a question to answer here.  Too many variables.

snellbert

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2013, 08:48:27 AM »
I think my ring was $200. It's a diamond tension set into titanium. I think it looks cool. Even cooler, the guy we talked to when it needed resizing was named Zoltan!

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #45 on: July 28, 2013, 11:17:00 AM »
Yeah, you need to talk to her. Surprises are nice and all, but...
Well, for me, I overspent. We were still in school at the time, and half my summer's wage went into that ring. (~3800$). It is gorgeous, of course-- palladium, as big a diamond as won't look pimp-ish on her finger; I got a great deal from a family jeweller who's a fixture in this town. 50% off because the diamond (certified Canadian-- no blood on her hands) was popped out of a band he couldn't move, and the band was on sale from the manufacturer. (Palladium isn't very popular, I guess.) He knew what I could afford to pay, and while he made sure I spent exactly that... we did get our moneys worth. It was a wonderful surprise for her, and she loves it.
BUT it turns out she would have been happy with something that only cost a couple hundred bucks. Whups. Lesson in communication, there. At 3600$, it's the priciest conversation I never had.

For our wedding bands, they're $0.05 each. Literally. We made them ourselves out of a couple nickels. (Okay, if I must do a full accounting it might be upwards of $0.50, since I'd have to count the wear on the sandpaper, stainless steel, and the bit of polishing compound used, along with the two we broke figuring out the technique.)  Great savings, great memory, and a great story. Though for some reason all her friends just think we're nuts...

MoneyLifeandMore

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #46 on: July 28, 2013, 06:22:00 PM »
OP, have you looked at moissanite? http://www.moissanite.com/educate/what-is-moissanite

It's much cheaper and nearly identical or in some cases superior to diamond. And nobody's getting killed in Africa.

I've not considered it - I think as long as its shiny no one except a trained jeweler will know the difference.  I will def look into it. :)

I've seen moissanite, and while I'm not trained, I can't tell the difference. My finacee couldn't tell the difference either and she compared a diamond, CZ and moissanite. She picked out which was the CZ but couldn't tell the difference between the moissanite and diamond. Of course, some people thing because moissanite is man-made it is cheap and doesn't represent the marriage. Totally depends on the girl.

snshijuptr

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #47 on: July 28, 2013, 07:23:16 PM »
Don't buy retail or pay retail prices! They are a total rip off. My family is in jewelry and pawn shops and won't let any of us look at retail. If you live near a larger city, go to their jewelry mart. In Los Angeles, the jewelry mart has hundreds of little stalls. They can even custom make your ring.

Consider custom designs that use semi-precious or even no stones. Filigree is awesome for either the antique or ornate look and you are paying the artisan, not for the stone. Go for cut not necessarily lack of "flaws". If you really aren't into jewelry, don't bother looking at the stone under magnification.

Ask both sets of parents to see if there are any heirloom rings or stones. My diamond is from a set of earrings my grandmother wore. My sister has the matching one. The stones are actually crap, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. My ornate "antique" setting in platinum cost my husband only a couple hundred from our jewelry mart. It is the exact same one I saw at Robbins Bros.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #48 on: July 28, 2013, 08:05:12 PM »
Can I recommend this article from A Practical Wedding? Which is actually a great resource for non-crazymaking wedding planning.

http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/03/i-want-an-expensive-engagement-ring/


I LOVE this site! I got married the same year that it started up, when the blogger was just starting it, and it was like my anchor in a sea of wedding industrial complex forces.

Unfortunately, I did not have a WIC counter-force during the engagement ring process and my spouse got me a diamond ring, which is very pretty but I now know that I wanted a *diamond* because my family pretty much told me that if he didn't buy me a diamond, we weren't really engaged. Ridiculousness. Anywho ... I love my ring and it was $2k on Blue Nile (www.bluenile.com). As much as we tried to avoid getting ripped off, everything seemed like a ripoff: retail or jewelers or bloodless diamonds or whatever. So although Blue Nile isn't devoid of feeling like the whole diamond thing is shady business, they were the most trustworthy to us. They have a wide range of diamonds and my spouse picked just about exactly what he wanted and they set it in the setting I wanted ;) When we buy jewelry, it's only from them.

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Engagement Rings & Pre-Marital Debts
« Reply #49 on: July 29, 2013, 03:55:30 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.

This was my thought.  My husband and I wear my grandparent's rings.  Before she died, my mother in law gave me her diamond, an aunt's cameo, etc. that were to be passed to grandchildren (or their future spouses) after they reached a certain age.  Hers was an old monied family with a tradition of passing things along instead of buying new.