Author Topic: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?  (Read 11729 times)

RUStash

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Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« on: February 12, 2015, 07:32:50 AM »
OK Here is the situation. I am 36 year old happily married father of 2 boys. My wife and I do well and save well. Save an average of 33% of our PRE tax earning.

2 years ago my wife lost her wedding rings. Luckily they were insured and we got the insurance money. $10,000 to be exact. That money has sat in our account earning interest for 2 years and now my wife finally wants another set of rings. She recently purchased what I believe to be very reasonable engagement ring/wedding band from Costco for 4,600.00. I plan on taking the other 5400 left over and putting toward the principle of our mortgage. Win win right? She gets her rings and I get to pay down the mortgage.

Well that's what the PRE MMM me would have said. In the 2 years since she lost the rings I found this blog and started tracking all our spending trying to keep it in check and ensure we were saving enough so we can retire at a reasonable age (we are shooting for mid 50's. I cant fathom retiring prior to my kids being done with college. They are 5 and 2). If we keep saving at our current rate we will be good to go.

But 4600 for a piece of Jewelry that does not change our lives one bit? I am just going crazy thinking about what else we could do with that money. There is no law stating we have to go buy another set of rings.

I mentioned the fake diamond to my wife, cubiz zirconia? I am sure I spelled that wrong.  She did not completely dismiss it. She is very rational and isn't insisting on having a extravagant 3 carrot ring. She works part time as well and contributes a lot to our savings. Any other options?

Or should just for this instance go back to the old me and declare this a win win?

The other part that kills me is the fact that I am going to log into Personal Capital and Mint and see our net worth drop by 4600 bucks!

rubybeth

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2015, 07:44:02 AM »
You're going to get a lot of comments about how jewelry is wasteful and you shouldn't spend anything on it, and then people are going to start a pissing match over who spent the least amount on their engagement/wedding rings, and so on and so forth. So just pretend that's already happened, and realize you have two choices:

1) Let your wife keep the already purchased set from CostCo. She must have liked it or she wouldn't have bought it, and she waited 2 years before replacing, so it probably means she liked having a wedding set and missed having it. You got a great payout from your insurance, and you made some money on the deal. Happy wife = happy life!

2) Suggest she return the set and go shopping for something like moissanite (refraction is different from diamonds, though, so may not satisfy her if she is into actual diamonds like I am), or just look for less expensive diamond set online (James Allen, Brian Gavin Diamonds, and Whiteflash are all reputable non-drop shippers that I would recommend), or even look at antiques (do your research, but some definite bargains to be had with antique jewelry, plus it's beautiful). I would not recommend cubic zirconia for something she's going to wear daily, unless you are ready to replace it when it goes cloudy or breaks.

Feel free to PM me with more specific questions.

Commence pissing match...
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G. Thomas

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2015, 07:46:04 AM »
These links may help your cause or help you end up on the couch.  Interesting read/video concerning diamonds.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3708562

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=N5kWu1ifBGU


And the comment above mine is awesome.

RunHappy

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2015, 07:46:43 AM »
You're going to get a lot of comments about how jewelry is wasteful and you shouldn't spend anything on it, and then people are going to start a pissing match over who spent the least amount on their engagement/wedding rings, and so on and so forth. So just pretend that's already happened, and realize you have two choices:

1) Let your wife keep the already purchased set from CostCo. She must have liked it or she wouldn't have bought it, and she waited 2 years before replacing, so it probably means she liked having a wedding set and missed having it. You got a great payout from your insurance, and you made some money on the deal. Happy wife = happy life!

2) Suggest she return the set and go shopping for something like moissanite (refraction is different from diamonds, though, so may not satisfy her if she is into actual diamonds like I am), or just look for less expensive diamond set online (James Allen, Brian Gavin Diamonds, and Whiteflash are all reputable non-drop shippers that I would recommend), or even look at antiques (do your research, but some definite bargains to be had with antique jewelry, plus it's beautiful). I would not recommend cubic zirconia for something she's going to wear daily, unless you are ready to replace it when it goes cloudy or breaks.

Feel free to PM me with more specific questions.

Commence pissing match...

+1

Gone Fishing

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2015, 07:50:19 AM »
The savings don't stop with the ring.  If she is wearing a CZ ring, there would be no reason to insure it.  My wife's ring is very nice (family heirloom), but when I found out what the insurance would be, I told my wife if she lost it I would replace it with CZ. She was fine with it.  When you consider the forgone gains, that insurance rider would have cost me around $2,000 to date.  One must also consider all the terrible things that go on in the diamond trade.

If she is willing, I say go for it.  But, if your wife pushes back to at all, I would probably let it go!   

yandz

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2015, 07:57:45 AM »
I am with RubyBeth on probably just having her keep her purchase if she is happy with it for all the reasons she mentioned.

BUT, if you are looking for diamond alternatives, I am a HUGE fan of clear or light grey (or darker grey for that matter) Spinel. Comes in loads of colors, very hard, and singly refractive like diamonds.  Worth taking a look.  Had I known about them before my 2k ring was purchased, I would have chosen it. Even so, my metal cost more than my diamond, so I wouldn't have saved much.

rubybeth

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2015, 08:05:35 AM »
So Close, it sounds like you might have had an inflated insurance value (an appraisal that was too high to make you feel good about whatever price you paid to begin with) and were paying too much in insurance. I pay $95/year with Jewelers Mutual for all my diamond jewelry, and even if I paid that amount every year until I die at age 100, that's still going to be a good deal. :) Plus, insurance covered a full repair of my husband's wedding band when it had to be sawed off his finger after an injury, which was worth at least 4 years of premiums.
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rubybeth

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2015, 08:07:08 AM »
I am with RubyBeth on probably just having her keep her purchase if she is happy with it for all the reasons she mentioned.

BUT, if you are looking for diamond alternatives, I am a HUGE fan of clear or light grey (or darker grey for that matter) Spinel. Comes in loads of colors, very hard, and singly refractive like diamonds.  Worth taking a look.  Had I known about them before my 2k ring was purchased, I would have chosen it. Even so, my metal cost more than my diamond, so I wouldn't have saved much.

Ooh, I have a spinel ring! Most people have never heard of it. Mine is purple, and I love it. I have an emerald cut, so not as sparkly as a round or princess cut, but a fun piece nonetheless.
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Retire-Canada

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2015, 08:32:34 AM »
Well that's what the PRE MMM me would have said. In the 2 years since she lost the rings I found this blog and started tracking all our spending trying to keep it in check and ensure we were saving enough so we can retire at a reasonable age (we are shooting for mid 50's. I cant fathom retiring prior to my kids being done with college. They are 5 and 2). If we keep saving at our current rate we will be good to go.


Unless she decides to return the rings on her own without you hassling her I'd let her keep the rings. You are on track to meet your FI goals. You got an extra $5600 to invest. She got her rings back. That sounds like win-win to me.

Let's look at it this way - would you have suggested she sell her original wedding rings to buy stocks?

If the $4600 is making you lose your mind find other places to save that amount and then pat yourself on the back when you do.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2015, 09:28:02 AM »
So Close, it sounds like you might have had an inflated insurance value (an appraisal that was too high to make you feel good about whatever price you paid to begin with) and were paying too much in insurance. I pay $95/year with Jewelers Mutual for all my diamond jewelry, and even if I paid that amount every year until I die at age 100, that's still going to be a good deal. :) Plus, insurance covered a full repair of my husband's wedding band when it had to be sawed off his finger after an injury, which was worth at least 4 years of premiums.

I didn't pay for the ring, but the value was consistent (when factoring in inflation) with an appraisal done several years prior when my great-grandmother passed away.  The premium was around 1% of the value of the ring annually.  Doesn't sound like too bad of a deal, does it?  But then again, when you add up the value of that "annuity" the total is quite remarkable.  Insurance companies don't make money by losing money.     

partgypsy

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2015, 12:58:56 PM »
Well that's what the PRE MMM me would have said. In the 2 years since she lost the rings I found this blog and started tracking all our spending trying to keep it in check and ensure we were saving enough so we can retire at a reasonable age (we are shooting for mid 50's. I cant fathom retiring prior to my kids being done with college. They are 5 and 2). If we keep saving at our current rate we will be good to go.


Unless she decides to return the rings on her own without you hassling her I'd let her keep the rings. You are on track to meet your FI goals. You got an extra $5600 to invest. She got her rings back. That sounds like win-win to me.

Let's look at it this way - would you have suggested she sell her original wedding rings to buy stocks?

If the $4600 is making you lose your mind find other places to save that amount and then pat yourself on the back when you do.

Ditto, I think this is a more fair assesment. After experiencing MMM would you have then started eyeing her wedding set and ask/demand that she hock her rings so you can use that money elsewhere? That's basically the same intent. The insurance settlement is paid to replace a loss (and whether you see it this way or not she did experience a loss).  Rather than immediately spending the whole kaboodle she thought about it for 2 years allowing interest to accrue, and only used half the amount. Unless it is your wife's idea to replace with cz, I'd leave it be.

RUStash

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2015, 01:51:53 PM »
Well that's what the PRE MMM me would have said. In the 2 years since she lost the rings I found this blog and started tracking all our spending trying to keep it in check and ensure we were saving enough so we can retire at a reasonable age (we are shooting for mid 50's. I cant fathom retiring prior to my kids being done with college. They are 5 and 2). If we keep saving at our current rate we will be good to go.


Unless she decides to return the rings on her own without you hassling her I'd let her keep the rings. You are on track to meet your FI goals. You got an extra $5600 to invest. She got her rings back. That sounds like win-win to me.

Let's look at it this way - would you have suggested she sell her original wedding rings to buy stocks?

If the $4600 is making you lose your mind find other places to save that amount and then pat yourself on the back when you do.

Ditto, I think this is a more fair assesment. After experiencing MMM would you have then started eyeing her wedding set and ask/demand that she hock her rings so you can use that money elsewhere? That's basically the same intent. The insurance settlement is paid to replace a loss (and whether you see it this way or not she did experience a loss).  Rather than immediately spending the whole kaboodle she thought about it for 2 years allowing interest to accrue, and only used half the amount. Unless it is your wife's idea to replace with cz, I'd leave it be.

That's what I am going to do. If she decides to return it then great. If not then its still a win because I get to pay down a portion of our mortgage which I love to do.

Chrissy

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2015, 04:42:01 PM »
Can you recreate the Costco ring cheaper?  I could!  I fell in love with a $25,000 ring at a retail shop.  We found it for $17,000 at Costco.  We could create it ourselves at BlueNile for ~$14,000.  We discovered it for $9,000 used on idonowidont.com.  However, I just cannot stomach these prices!

On January 6, we spent $84 on white AAAAA cubic zirconia at http://www.syntheticgems.org/, and they arrived today:  one hundred 2.5mm stones and fifty 7.5mm stones.  They look marvelous!  I'll attach a picture.

Cubic zirconia is measured in millimeters, not carats, so here's a conversion chart.

http://www.diamondnexus.com/product-education-mm-to-catat-weight-conversion.html

Ordered this titanium setting from Aladdin's Cave on Etsy for $50 (no returns!), but it has yet to come.  Fiance is an engineer, so he wants to set the stones himself (boys!).  He ordered a backup setting in case he ruins the first one.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/130529907/on-sale-trellis-lab-diamond-3-stone?ref=shop_home_active_8

So, right now, we're out $184 for a $25,000 ring.  If the setting(s) arrives, and looks terrible, the backup plan is to order it from Blue Nile ($1,170 in platinum), and have a jeweler set the CZ.  We decided it was so cheap to try, that it was REALLY worth the risk.


« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 04:43:36 PM by Chrissy »

BarkyardBQ

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2015, 05:27:39 PM »
Are you handy? My usual response to these threads...

http://www.samabbay.com/photos-platinum-bullion-coin-wedding-rings.html
http://www.gainesvillecoins.com

Do it in Silver, Gold or Platinum. Takes about 10-15 hours to forge 1 ring out of the coin. The second ring can be made from the other half. Do it in your garage, share the experience. Look up difference finishes like Hammered, Satin, Matte, Shiny, Polished. Also, I did not use a blow torch, just good old fashioned force...hammer swinging, sawing and filing. Practice with a Copper Round, it's mildly softer and costs a buck.

Platinum will cost you ~$1300 right now and you'll have fun doing it.

edit: oh look, platinum dropped again, it could be $1206 + Premium for a Minted Coin.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 05:34:10 PM by zdravé »

lizzzi

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2015, 05:58:41 PM »
I vote with everyone who said the OP's wife should keep the ring. She is obviously not a grabby type--she waited two years, and spent less than half the insurance money. But I have a suggestion…since they just got "engaged and married" again…wouldn't it be a nice, romantic gesture to take her out for a nice dinner--or the OP could prepare a romantic meal at home, with food he got at Aldi's--just to mark the "occasion" of the new wedding set? Come on, everybody, Saturday is Valentine's Day!

SaintM

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2015, 07:05:45 PM »
Can you recreate the Costco ring cheaper?  I could!  I fell in love with a $25,000 ring at a retail shop.  We found it for $17,000 at Costco.  We could create it ourselves at BlueNile for ~$14,000.  We discovered it for $9,000 used on idonowidont.com.  However, I just cannot stomach these prices!

...

So, right now, we're out $184 for a $25,000 ring.  If the setting(s) arrives, and looks terrible, the backup plan is to order it from Blue Nile ($1,170 in platinum), and have a jeweler set the CZ.  We decided it was so cheap to try, that it was REALLY worth the risk.


No, you're out $184 for a $184 ring.  Maybe it's a $0 ring when he gets it set perfectly.  Not that this is bad.  I hope it is every bit amazing as what you saw at the shop, at Blue Nile, and at idonowidont.

daymare

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2015, 07:46:41 PM »
I so agree with the first few comments - no need to get into a pissing contest about who spent less on wedding rings (or avoided them all together).  I think it's important to be frugal, not cheap - to spend the money if it's on something you value.  So if your wife really values getting a ring, it's important to respect that.  That said, maybe you can both have a discussion about what is it that she wants?  Does she want a diamond?  Or does she just want something shiny?  Does she want something that stands out?  And why?

When my husband and I got engaged, I picked a solitaire aquamarine ring.  Totally beautiful, but ultimately the wrong ring for me - too big (about the size of a 2 ct diamond) and too much maintenance (needed to be cleaned every week to stay shiny).  I've basically just been wearing a plain wedding band since a bit before we got married.  But I recently bought a $50 CZ ring on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0074PA220/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) and it is very delicate and shiny and I'm enjoying it a lot.  And this shiny, maybe silly, ring brings me a lot of joy.  I look at my hand a lot and think about my marriage, and think about how much I love shiny things.  It's a choice I'm really happy with b/c I truly value my money more than jewelry ... and I feel like I got to have both, have my cake and eat it too.

There are a lot of interesting options out there that are cheaper than diamonds - like CZ or moissanite, or spinel or other gem stones.  There are many amazing artists on Etsy - maybe your wife would enjoy collaborating with one to design a unique ring.  Point is, listen to her. :)

Chrissy

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2015, 07:50:44 PM »

No, you're out $184 for a $184 ring.  Maybe it's a $0 ring when he gets it set perfectly.  Not that this is bad.  I hope it is every bit amazing as what you saw at the shop, at Blue Nile, and at idonowidont.

I'm paying $184 for everyone to think I paid $25,000.  What the ring is actually worth is irrelevant to me.  There are women in my life that are very competitive about wedding rings, so I'm making damn sure the thing on my hand will shut them up... but those are my own circumstances.

The lady with the ring on idonowidont had the original receipt for the ring she was trying to sell:  $33,000!  Is it worth that?  Or, the $9,000 she was trying to get for it?  Or, the $3,000 I was willing to pay?  Who knows?  The value of jewelry is emotional, not monetary, and it seems like OP's wife leans in the same direction.

SaintM

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2015, 08:34:46 PM »
I like how there is an ad for diamond rings at the bottom of this page. Is MMM cashing in on cookies and other forms of targeted advertising?

lifejoy

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2015, 06:50:27 AM »

You're going to get a lot of comments about how jewelry is wasteful and you shouldn't spend anything on it, and then people are going to start a pissing match over who spent the least amount on their engagement/wedding rings, and so on and so forth. So just pretend that's already happened, and realize you have two choices:

1) Let your wife keep the already purchased set from CostCo. She must have liked it or she wouldn't have bought it, and she waited 2 years before replacing, so it probably means she liked having a wedding set and missed having it. You got a great payout from your insurance, and you made some money on the deal. Happy wife = happy life!

2) Suggest she return the set and go shopping for something like moissanite (refraction is different from diamonds, though, so may not satisfy her if she is into actual diamonds like I am), or just look for less expensive diamond set online (James Allen, Brian Gavin Diamonds, and Whiteflash are all reputable non-drop shippers that I would recommend), or even look at antiques (do your research, but some definite bargains to be had with antique jewelry, plus it's beautiful). I would not recommend cubic zirconia for something she's going to wear daily, unless you are ready to replace it when it goes cloudy or breaks.

Feel free to PM me with more specific questions.

Commence pissing match...


+1

ender

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2015, 03:29:49 PM »
We got a moissanite that looks great and was not even 1/10th the cost of an equivalent diamond. Probably less since moissanite are significantly higher quality.

Depends a lot on what your wife wants, does she want a diamond for reasons you will never change? Want something really pretty/sparkly? etc. Figure out not just what she wants but why she wants it and you will be much further along this process.

A coworker just bought a diamond. He knows just how much they are but his girlfriend wants a diamond, period. If your wife is like this you might be hosed.

But hey, even if you spend $4600, it's not often you can go back and facepunch your pre-MMM self and get 54% of your money back :)


edit: also, alternative stones aren't "fake diamonds" - they are alternatives. The "fake" part comes from the diamond industry conditioning that unless you have a diamond you are somehow a failure as a man and that as a woman you aren't valued if you don't get a diamond. This is a particularly insidious side effect of the massive marketing campaign for diamonds... /rant 
« Last Edit: February 14, 2015, 03:32:28 PM by enderland »

frugalmom

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2015, 06:49:28 PM »
Is you marriage worth $4600?

$4600 is way cheaper than divorce


pancakes

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2015, 09:06:28 PM »
I have a spendy-pants engagement ring which I love. I think it was about $4k all up which as a one off purchase isn't going make a huge dent in our financial plans. We spend more on travel every year...

I'll keep it forever and pass it down the family. If you are spending on single items like all the time it is going to cause you problems but an wedding/engagement ring is a one off purchase (at least that is the idea). If you can afford it and you are ok with the impact that not saving that money will have on your future, I think it ok*

*I may or may not be just rationalising my own purchase haha.

ltt

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2015, 09:38:29 PM »
I'm not into jewelry at all, but I would still want to replace my wedding rings if I lost them. 

And remember, do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy????

iris lily

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2015, 09:45:33 PM »
...She is very rational and isn't insisting on having a extravagant 3 carrot ring. ...

Dude, 3 carrot rings really are not all that expensive, someone is yanking your chain.

http://media2.intoday.in/aajtak/images/stories/122014/xmas_gift_ring2_650_122714082746.jpg

:)

« Last Edit: February 14, 2015, 09:50:23 PM by iris lily »

Dimitri

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2015, 10:33:05 PM »
...The lady with the ring on idonowidont had the original receipt for the ring she was trying to sell:  $33,000!  Is it worth that?  Or, the $9,000 she was trying to get for it?  Or, the $3,000 I was willing to pay?  Who knows?  The value of jewelry is emotional, not monetary, and it seems like OP's wife leans in the same direction.

There is a well respected price guide used in the industry that would give us a very good idea as to the monetary value of the diamond(s) in the ring. 

The Rapaport Price List is the international benchmark used by dealers to establish diamond prices in all the major markets.
http://www.diamonds.net/Prices/RapaportPriceLists.aspx

Based on the fact that she paid $33K and was willing to sell for $9K I would guess that the former owner probably didn't have access to the Rapaport Price List when she bought the ring.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 06:58:33 AM by Dimitri »

hybrid

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2015, 05:49:44 AM »
At the end of the day it's a lot of money spent on pretty rocks.

I do realize the power of symbols, and I am not dismissing the notion that these symbols carry quite a bit of meaning for many people. I am only pointing out that it is within our own power to define what symbols carry what meaning.

I have found, as a guy, that wearing a wedding band is imminently practical, however. Wearing a small band that screams "spoken for" allows you to have conversations with the fairer sex that wouldn't have been possible if the other party was thinking "Is he trying to make time with me?"
Life is a game. Play it better.

fasteddie911

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2015, 07:39:20 AM »
I don't have anything specific to add to what everyone has said in regards to your situation, but I just wanted to add to the topic of engagement rings for you or anyone else that may be reading.  My wife has a ring we got from Etsy, it's a pink sapphire with tiny diamonds on a portion of the band and on the portion surrounding the rock.  We got it for about $1k, the sapphire is cheap and the tiny diamonds only add a small cost, but it is unique and she gets compliments on it all the time.  There's still that bling factor with the diamonds, yet it's a reasonable price.  I'm so thankful she chose that ring as she initially wanted a standard diamond ring that would have been 3x-4x as much, but I didn't want to spend that much, so in the end we both get what we wanted.

pachnik

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2015, 10:27:16 AM »
I have found, as a guy, that wearing a wedding band is imminently practical, however. Wearing a small band that screams "spoken for" allows you to have conversations with the fairer sex that wouldn't have been possible if the other party was thinking "Is he trying to make time with me?"
I am a woman and I found myself thinking this same thing yesterday.  I belong to a group that is often more men than women.  Many people in it are single.  However, I wear an engagement ring - not an expensive one for sure - so I feel free to have all kinds of conversations there and have no concerns that someone is making more of it that it is. 

Good to see you back Hybrid.  I figured you were busy adjusting to your new job. 

Okay, sorry about getting off track, back to our regular programming.

cbgg

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2015, 10:15:00 PM »
If you want a diamond alternative, look into moissanite.  It's a clear lab stone that has a similar look to a diamond and is also a "lifetime" stone (aka, it's super durable and will last forever) that costs about 1/10th as much as a diamond.

My story:  I got engaged/married a couple of years ago and my DH and I REALLY did not want to go the diamond route.  Although they are beautiful, we certainly don't value them at anywhere near the cost and the ethical/environmental concerns didn't help make them appealing.

We considered doing no engagement ring, but we felt a lot of pressure to fit in (somewhat ashamed to admit).  We thought about other types of stone (many of our friends went with sapphires, for example).  While researching alternatives to the traditional diamond I learned about moissanite, or "moissy" as it's affectionately called on the wedding boards.  It's clear and insanely sparkly and reasonably priced.    It's a super practical stone that won't chip or cloud or scratch and is suitable for every day wear. 

I'm someone who never really wanted and engagement ring, but as soon as I got it I fell in love with my ring and am very glad to have it.  I've been wearing it daily for a few years now and it makes me ] happy.  It cost less than $1000 which was well within our means and not expensive enough to make me feel stressed about risk of loss or theft.

I happened to buy mine online from this website.  They seem to have good prices: https://www.moissaniteco.com/

A note about Cubic Zerconia - the main issue with this is that it's not a "lifetime" stone.  It can be damaged fairly easily and if not, it'll cloud over the years.  Therefore, if you go with CZ you'll probably want to plan to replace it every so often.  Of course, the price is so low that you could easily do that and come out ahead (not sure about the cost to have a jewler reset).  So it's really up to you and your wife if that suits your needs.

If you want to see an INSANE amount of talk about ring alternatives check out the boards at weddingbee.com.

hybrid

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #30 on: February 17, 2015, 07:28:48 AM »
Good to see you back Hybrid.  I figured you were busy adjusting to your new job. 

Thanks! Still am. Not much free time these days (but I will certainly be positioned to retire sooner working here than at the other gig). I've been thinking in terms of the value of time recently since that is now my scarcest commodity.
Life is a game. Play it better.

pagoconcheques

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #31 on: February 17, 2015, 12:50:08 PM »
A less expensive and much more interesting alternative to a traditional "rock" ring is to have a local jeweler make custom ring(s) to your design specifications.  As long as you stick with just metal (gold, platinum, etc.) it will cost much less than a big ol' rock and you get to design it!

I recommend an established local jeweler who has one location and has their own shop in-house where skilled workers actually make jewelry.  They love getting custom work and will be happy to let you help out with the design process.

GuitarStv

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2015, 12:56:29 PM »
Is you marriage worth $4600?

$4600 is way cheaper than divorce

If spending any amount of money on a piece of jewelery is a requirement to stay married, you're probably better off getting divorced and finding a relationship not based on sticker price.

gradstudent

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #33 on: February 17, 2015, 03:38:50 PM »
1) Go on vacation to Thailand.
2) Go visit a reputable jeweler in Bangkok when you fly in, but before you leave for the beaches / mountains.
3) Have a custom made ring made with a pearl / sapphire / emerald / something other than a diamond. (They can make anything if you have a picture of it)
4) Pay about $1,000 for the ring.
5) Go visit a tailor, choose the fabric, get measured, and order custom clothing (for far less than US off the rack prices, at a higher quality, and a perfect fit that ensures you can't get fat because if you do, they don't fit anymore).
6) Pick the ring and clothes up a week later when you come back, spend a few days in Bangkok before flying home.
7) Once you are home, tell all your friends about the great time you had.

I bought my wife's engagement ring, as well as had a lot of clothes made-shirts, winter jackets, sport coats, suit, pants, etc. We both wear our respective items all the time and love them.

I have a tailor and jeweler recommendation if you want.

Sibley

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Re: Alternatives to diamond wedding/engagement ring?
« Reply #34 on: February 18, 2015, 09:39:35 AM »
As a woman, this is how this breaks down for me:

1. I have the money to purchase an item.
2. I'm culturally expected to have said item (for right or wrong).
3. I'm not adverse to having and using said item.
4. I find said item, and it meets my criteria (appearance, size, price, whatever).
5. I purchase said item for a fair price, using no more than the amount set aside for the purchase.
6. Challenge or question my decision at your peril.
7. If there's excess money, reallocate it to other purposes and be happy.