Diamond Engagement Rings: The High Price of Vanity

Discussion in 'Women's Issues' started by Bbucko, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. Bbucko

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    I found this short (but rather provocative) article today about diamonds, asking why, in light of all we know about the exploitative nature of their mining and delivery to the market, women still feel the need for a rock to showcase their commitment to society at large.

    My own opinion is that, while the article raises some obvious points, it's not so nearly as one-sided as the author maintains: men don't just buy diamonds because their fiancees would never settle for anything less. They also do it (especially as the stone gets progressively larger and more garish) to show that they have the money to lavish on such things. as with so many other aspects of the masculine psyche, competition would seem to play as least an important role in selecting a diamond as something less exploitative but also less prestigious.

    Much the same can be said about over-the-top weddings where ostentatious display has little to do with the nature of the couple's love and much to do with attempts to impress those whom the party paying wishes to impress.

    As weddings and their trappings have never really been on my radar screen as a gay male (except tangentially through extended family and business associations), I've really never been sympathetic to such conspicuous consumption and display.

    To what degree would you, as women, tolerate the substitution of a less exploitative stone than a diamond in an engagement ring? FWIW, my great-grandmother accepted a ring of opals and rubies back in 1912 and treasured it until the day she died (though the marriage ended quickly and with the abandonment of her and my infant grandmother. Everyone else in the family considered the ring to be bad luck.
     
  2. petite

    petite New Member

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    We've debated about this! The only other stone hard enough for everyday wear are sapphires.

    We've also debated the fairness of only one person getting an engagement ring.

    These are things we're considering.
     
  3. HiddenLacey

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    Nah, if I ever got married I think I would like it to be outside without out all the pomp just hopefully blue skies and maybe some flowers. And rings to me are more of a symbol of commitment and love not something that any rock could really capture. Who cares about how big it is or how much money it costs? I would be terrified of losing some great big ring. I'm more of a simple filigree girl something like this
    RG-2567ad

    And I'm sure if I do get married I would give him a ring in return with something engraved inside of it, just because I'm sappy.
     
  4. nudeyorker

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    My partner and I each have a tension set diamond ring. They were made from a pair of my late mother's earrings. I like to think that they are conflict free since the stones are about 40 years old.
    I always forget to put it on unless I'm getting dressed up to go out someplace fancy.
     
  5. petite

    petite New Member

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    Aw! That's really sweet! I love that!

    I love those tension set rings!
     
  6. petite

    petite New Member

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    Aw, that's really sweet! I like the engraving idea.
     
  7. HiddenLacey

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    Well just think of something really special you say to TheBF and have it engraved in his ring and don't tell him about it:smile: Yeah I'm all sweetness:tongue:
     
  8. HiddenLacey

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    Tension rings are nice, I have a birthstone ring like that. It's really sweet you two made them from your Mom's earrings:biggrin1: It makes them even more special.
     
  9. Incocknito

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    And I bet your 'sap' tastes like the sweetest honey :wink:.

    I don't see the point in marriage so I see even less point in the rings that go with it.

    Although maybe an engraved ring is the best sign of "love"? I don't know how else it could be expressed/displayed in jewelry.

    A toe ring?
     
  10. hud01

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    I got the ex a nice ring, not over the top, definitely not the three month salary ring. Researched for 6 months and went to the diamond district in NYC. The same ring in my town was almost twice as much. I have no need to prove who I am or how deeply in debt I went to buy a ring.

    Our wedding cost less than 10k, no limo, one photographer for 2 hours.

    Edit: I went for a much smaller, but much higher quality diamond that only someone with a loop could tell that it was better.
     
    #10 hud01, Jun 10, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  11. Chantal_Kyrie

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    I've actually never been the hugest fan of diamonds. Just a note, beside sapphires, rubies, emeralds, tourmaline, topaz, and different quartzes would all be suitable for everyday wear, especially if they are set right. Personally, if a ring were involved, I would want it to be a cool stone...tourmaline would be nice, and it comes in every color possible. What I really want, though, is an engagement piano. A concert grand, at least 6 feet, preferably black.
     
  12. Embrace69

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    I would LOVE one of those. *drools*:smile:
     
  13. HiddenLacey

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    I just have a little spinet, but it's more than enough for me to be happy with. I bought it used but it was worth it!
     
  14. thetramp

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    boy that engagement piano would be hard to hide in a drink or schlepp to a romantic place in the hills
     
  15. petite

    petite New Member

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    All of those stones would be beautiful. The concern with choosing a stone for everyday wear is with scratches, cracking, chipping, and breaking. I've seen what happens to an emerald ring that has been worn every day, and it's not pretty. They don't last well at all, getting scratched and chipped and ugly very easily. They just aren't hard enough. A friend of mine chose Tanzanite because she thought it was beautiful, and only 3 years after she got married it broke. Depending on how romantic you are and how sentimental you are about things like that, it might bother you to have your wedding ring's stone require replacing or be recut in order to look beautiful 5 years after the wedding. Those stones are fairly cheap, though, so as long as you're aware that it may need replacing in the future and you don't mind that, then you could go with a softer stone.

    I've been reading some threads on a gemstone and jewelry board because we've discussed not getting a diamond. There are some examples of some terrible looking gemstones from daily wear and tear. It isn't recommended to go too far down the MOHS scale when seeking a ring for everyday wear, which is the reason that sapphires and rubies are the stones usually recommended for engagement rings, unless you're willing to not wear your engagement ring every day or you don't mind replacing the stone. I suggest doing your research first to see how easily a particular stone will break, chip, scratch, or bruise before you make a decision.

    Particular setting can help protect a soft stone, such as bezel settings like this one that encases the gem and helps protect it:
    PLATINUM BEZEL SET DUAL WIRE EURO-SHANK DIAMOND ENGAGEMENT RING

    My friend's stone might not have broken if she had chosen a setting appropriate for the hardness of the stone for daily wear, but she chose an open setting like this (hers was more beautiful, but you get the idea) and it only lasted 3 years. She was the first one to warn me about getting a harder stone.
     
    #15 petite, Jun 10, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  16. sbat

    sbat New Member

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    My mother is pretty tastelessly hinting to my dad that she wants (deserves) a new diamond ring for their 25th anniversary this year. She is African, and could care less about conflict diamonds.
     
  17. alwaysguessing

    alwaysguessing New Member

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    The horrors of mining should be enough to discourage everyone, but for me alone the cost is prohibitive. A woman that would rather have an expensive rock on her finger instead of paying off debt, is useless to me. Interestingly, my friends that bought cheap or no rings have happy marriages, and my friends that splurged on expensive rings for their materialistic women are now miserable.
     
  18. rob_just_rob

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    FYI - if you are worried about the so-called "blood diamonds", you don't have to buy a diamond from Africa. Canadian diamonds, for example, are etched with a microscopic figure (polar bear or Canada goose, IIRC, viewable only under magnification) on the girdle, thereby identifying them as such.
     
  19. petite

    petite New Member

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    I thought I would share what I've found on alternative engagement ring stones.

    [​IMG]

    Well, I thought a bezel setting might protect a softer stone, but some people aren't so lucky. Here's a photo of an emerald engagement ring in a bezel setting that has chipped. While emeralds are hard, MOH 7.8 I think, they still chip easily as a result of their crystalline structure. Topaz is also problematic due to how it crumbles.

    So far it looks like the recommendations for non-diamond engagement rings for daily wear are sapphires, rubies, other colored corundums, chrysoberyl, or spinel. All other have issues with hardness, cleavage, crumbling, bruising, chipping, or scratching.
     
  20. B_Mademoiselle Rouge

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    I have three different rings. I will have to take pictures of them to describe them. My first ring is my flashiest, fanciest ring. It was what i picked out before we got married. My husband has a matching ring that is pretty ritzy looking for a guys ring. He has had a million compliments on it because it is a guys ring that looks so fancy. He sports it well with his large hands. I think we did the 2 month salary thing. We were 18 and 19 and didn't have a lot of money, but i love that ringset. I need to get that ring resized so i can wear it.

    Our 10 year anniversary i got my more simple ring, its something i can wear every day that doesn't get damaged like my fancier ring. The higher topstone in my first ring has prongs that get a little moved out of place and i fear losing the larger diamond on top. So i don't wear it if im going to be working.

    My 3rd ring has 2 heart shaped pink sapphires on top with a little embellishment on the sides. I love pink and i got it for my birthday in April. I probably wear that one more than anything else because it is the most comfortable.
     
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