Avoiding engagement ring envy, or: How I learned to love the symbolism

December 22 | Guest post by Sarah Eliza
Something Blue!
Thanks to KT Wilson for uploading this to our Flickr Pool.

Engagement ring envy — the stuff of legend and myth? Or a nasty side effect of being engaged and the wedding industrial complex?

Recently I met up with an acquaintance of mine after not seeing her for many, many years, and we were discussing her recent engagement (cue the typical "oohs" and "ahhs" from me). She then proceeded to wink at me and say her new fiancé was taking her to Tiffany on Bond Street in London. I am sorry to say that almost automatically that ugly little Wedding Industrial Complex demon was ranting in my ear…

Demon: You know… you LOVE Tiffany…
Me: I am well aware of that.
Demon: You know… you always DREAMED of having a Tiffany engagement ring.
Me: Your point?
Demon: Well… she has just got engaged, what if she will have the engagement ring that YOU always wanted?
Me: Fuck…

As you can see, it's a sneaky little demon that feeds on your wishes and fantasies. Or, in this case, the wishes and fantasies of twelve-year-old Sarah. The Sarah who was determined to marry a dark eyed, handsome man who had plenty of money in the bank and would ask her to marry him on top of the Eiffel Tower.

I have spent a few hours now considering my rather extreme reaction to her happy news and I have come to a conclusion: screw you, little demon.

  • Am I getting married? Hell yes, I am.
  • Am I having my dream wedding? Not exactly… but this wedding is more than I could ever dream of.
  • Am I marrying a dark eyed, handsome man with plenty of money in the bank? Well, he is dark eyed, incredibly handsome and, alright, he doesn't have a lot of money, but he has a heart of gold and, last time I checked, the gold prices were rising. He is incredibly valuable to me.

So I started to think, why the hell am I so jealous?

It was then that I realized: the entire culture of engagement rings almost asks for it. Many women have reported that other women have almost demanded to see their engagement ring. Some have even had to endure murmurs of, "oh, it is not a diamond" if they chose to step outside the norm.

An engagement ring is not about how much money it is worth, it is about locking in a moment in time. When I am old and in my dotage, I can look at my engagement ring, reflect on the lifetime of love it symbolises and also remember what position we were in our lives when it was bought. I can remember the days where our love held us together, despite money woes and how he made sure that, despite these woes, he bought me a ring anyway. I will be able to look into the eyes of my children and grandchildren and tell them that mum and dad/grandma and grandpa were meant to be together because they rode the ups and downs that life gives and how you know you have found the perfect person the day you hold their hand and step forward to beat down all that life throws at you.

  1. My engagement ring is a large manmade dark pink sapphire, I picked out myself from Kay Jewelers and was just lucky enough to find a wedding band later on at Littmans that fit against it perfectly. Oh and it costs us less than $200!

    My thoughts were, if we are ever poor enough that we need to start selling our things, my ring wont be worth enough to someone else and I wont have to part with it!

    It is stunning and I LOVE IT!

    45 agree
  2. My engagement ring came from etsy. It's a beautiful pearl cocktail ring from the 1950s. I think it cost about $45; I love it, it's totally my style, and my husband chose it for me. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    19 agree
  3. nice job

    on a side note as far as jealousies & tiffany …

    so when i knew i was about to get engaged, i had also found a box of jewels my grandmother had left me that i just didn't know about. it have a big honking ring in it. i'm not much of a jewelry girl, other than the occasional costume stuff. so, i wasn't really sure how used to a big ring i'd ever be, but it was a REALLY pretty stone so i wore it around a few weeks thinking maybe i'd reset it into a my eventual ring by someone on etsy into a nice, modern, more minimal me sort of ring. … well, let me tell you, women screamed over the thing. my diamond freak friend swore it must be real & it was bigger than her $3,000 one. & all the time, i was thinking, i really hate how i have to twist this thing around just to get dressed! TOO BIG! after all the ooos & ahhs, i priced out getting it reset. WAYYYYYY over my budget. in the end, i gave it up b/c it just wasn't me. i went with a silver band w/ a teeny spec of a diamond from tiffany for less than $180 & my engagement was the same thing w/o the stone. something so simple and small, it'd be fit for a child, barely there. & i LOVE it. it's so minimal & me.

    & that ring all those women flipped for? turns out it was fake, but it got more attention than my real tiffany. lol people are nuts

    44 agree
    • "all the time, i was thinking, i really hate how i have to twist this thing around just to get dressed"

      Yes, THIS! I'm not engaged, but I often wear a beautiful birthstone ring my grandfather gave me. I love it, but sometimes notice it getting in the way. Like when my hands are cold so I'll put them under my legs, and then the stone cuts into my finger or thigh. I went to a football game a few weeks ago and the woman in front of us had her finger encrusted in stones; I couldn't help thinking how uncomfortable those huge rings must be!

      4 agree
        • Or if you're a nurse or any kind of person who has to pull on gloves regularly… gotta twist it in or it pops through the glove and then you have ALL kinds of grossness going on.

          11 agree
          • Truth! I'm a burn trauma nurse, you can imagine the nasty I touch each shift. He gave me a flat black onyx with a love knot style band, super easy to clean, very much us….Then he installed an in-ground pool for us. I laugh when people look sniffy about my ring and watch their faces fall when I mention the 40k backyard of my dreams that he also gave me <3

            8 agree
  4. I actually do no have engagement ring envy, even though my ring is less than 1/4 of a karat. What I have is freaking engagement envy. Mine, while sweet, was so dull.

    12 agree
    • Oh my GOSH I KNOW! I am waiting to be engaged to my lovely SO, and its so painful. Especially when at least 3-4 of my friends are engaged and planning their weddings. I have one of them who posts the EXACT FREAKING DAYS! Its so irritating. And I'm just waiting on everything.

      15 agree
    • I had engagement envy too! The first time my fiance proposed was on the couch… the second time was on top of the CN tower because I let him have a do- over. I wanted a story to make people cry! I had waited long enough (7 years!) for a proposal and the plans fell through without a backup. For me the proposal was the most important part!

      4 agree
  5. Even though my longtime boyfriend and I know one day we will eventually get married (as it stands we know we are going with April 1st ####) but for now we are happily content with where we are. For me, I don't buy into what the Wedding Industry Complex wants me to believe is THE standard in engagement rings. Part of me just wants to buck the whole idea. But truly, for me, the engagement ring and wedding band are going to be my most valued pieces ever. No matter the style, price, etc. they are going to make it feel "official" official to me. Sure, the marriage license will be there and it is something I will gaze upon knowing legally we are married but the ring will be an extension of that. Something simple that makes me feel giddy.

    10 agree
  6. Admittedly, my first question upon seeing my ring was "are you serious?" simply because my ring has a center aquamarine and I wasn't sure if he wanted to marry me or just give me a sparkly and I didn't want to be all "OMG yessss!" if he wasn't proposing and make things weird. I can't say I've ever felt ring envy though, mostly cause mine is beautiful and I've never seen anyone outside of a tabloid cover that has a bigger ring. Not that we're rich, all the diamonds are family stones and only the aquamarine is new, but I certainly don't feel out of place with it walking past the Louis Vuitton store. No clue how much it would cost, but it's 11 stones making up 5.5 carats and I'd assume that's a few grand.

    1 agrees
  7. No envy here! I got exactly what I wanted. Red amber, garnets, and honey colored amber. It suits me perfectly and it shows just how well he knows me in designing it and having it made!

    I did get the demand to see it and lots of people commenting on its uniqueness but all of them then said, 'It is so your style and fits you guys exactly.'

    9 agree
    • I'm another one who got exactly what she wanted. My ring is a claddagh with 3 tiny emeralds set into the heart. The wonderful part is this: if he'd asked me to send him a picture of what I wanted – it would be exactly what he got for me.

      I don't have ring envy at all. I've got my perfect ring.

      7 agree
    • No envy for me either! I had always wanted a specific brand of ring and when my fiance and I started actually shopping around I fell in love with my ring elsewhere. It was the first ring out of hundreds that we had looked at over the years that he remembered and that means more to me than the name on it! People always tell me how unique it is and that it suits me perfectly! Couldn't be happier

      1 agrees
  8. My Ring was made by someone on Etsy.. I found it one day randomly and fell in love with it! It's totally fake (i.e Cubic zurconia) and as a result it was 24$!!! (after shipping!)

    My FH was always worried about "the rock" cause he grew up thinking that he'd have to spend 3 months work of money just to get me a ring that was good enough.. and as a result has been delaying in proposing. So when I saw this ring and I got teary eyed (I'm NOT a jewlery person.. this has never happened.. so I know I was onto something GOOD) I frantically sent him the link and told him that if he was serious about wanting to marry me this was the ring I just Had to Have.. he looked at the price and was like "Really?… are you sure it's good enough" To which I verbally spanked his bottom (I was at work, he was off that day) and told him that it was the first and only ring I have ever felt any sort of anything to and that if he spent a whole bunch of money we didn't have on a ring I wasn't going to like just because it was what other people told him he should do I'd keep spanking him until he changed his mind lol.

    As a result the ring was ordered, re-sized and sent off to me.. It's now hiding somewhere in my house as FH has said since I basically picked out and ordered the ring, he wants to do a "proper proposal" when I least expect it LOL. Fingers crossed for Christmas!

    16 agree
  9. A cousin of mine has the big Tiffany solitaire rock. It's lovely, no doubt. I would estimate the stone at at least a carat, set in platinum. I have my grandmother's re-set three-stone ring and matching wedding band. It has a center stone of about half a carat, with smaller flanking stones. The matching wedding band has four small stones across. It's super vintagey looking in a midcentury Mad Men era way, but most importantly it was my grandmother's. So it's sentimental, plus we didn't give a load of money to the diamond industry in the process of getting engaged.

    I'm also pretty sure it would make me nervous to walk around with a giant diamond on my finger. My mom has a huge anniversary ring, and I just don't understand how she wears it around without feeling awkward and nervous that it might be damaged or lost.

    This just seemed to be the right practical and sentimental choice for us. We spent a modest amount on refurbishing/repairing the rings, and I get a family heirloom to wear as a bonus.

    I'm not going to lie, though, a tiny part of me twinged when I saw that giant Tiffany sparkler. But then I remembered that while that might be perfect for her and her now-husband, it wouldn't reflect me or my relationship accurately at all.

    12 agree
  10. It's hard not to get jealous sometimes when I see women with expensive beautiful things of any kind, not just rings. But I remind myself that that there are always people with more, just as there are always people with less. Some friends would be jealous I think of any ring or wedding, because they haven't found that relationship yet. I'm lucky enough to have been proposed to, even though it was with a ring that cost $10. We got married with wedding bands that cost less than $50 each. That's who we are and the life we live. To have something else, I would have to be someone else.

    So I let myself get a little jealous sometimes, because that's human nature. Then I take a moment to be grateful for and appreciate what I have, which is a lot.

    56 agree
    • "So I let myself get a little jealous sometimes, because that's human nature. Then I take a moment to be grateful for and appreciate what I have, which is a lot."

      So beautifully put! Brought a tear to my eye. Bless you :)

      19 agree
    • "So I let myself get a little jealous sometimes, because that's human nature. Then I take a moment to be grateful for and appreciate what I have, which is a lot."

      Yes, yes, yes, thank you for this. I berate myself when I feel these twinges of jealousy, like I should be above it. We're all human. It's okay and normal. I just need to let myself feel it for a moment, breathe, and remember what I have is what I love.

      3 agree
  11. As those who've read my book know, I didn't have an engagement ring at all. There was no proposal, and no ring. I didn't realize it was a thing until people kept wanting to look at my hands and realized there was nothing on them. HA!

    17 agree
    • My parents didn't have engagement rings either. When I got old enough to notice that other people did have them, and asked her about it, she said, "Oh, he didn't ever propose… it just became clear that we should either get married or break up, so we got married."
      I love that, because it makes it so clear that it was an obvious mutual decision.

      17 agree
      • I wanted to do without(we were incredibly tight with money at the time), but my better half insisted I had to have a ring. In the end it was nice, granted. But so long as I got him I really wasn't that concerned. And he likes to see me wear it.

        0 agree
      • My mom wore two rings, but the "engagement" ring was actually her 1st anniversary present. They have a very cute story in which her sister proposed to them – hence, no ring.

        1 agrees
      • My mother also didn't have an engagement ring. She and my dad were not very well off when they started out – in fact he was just a private in the military and 33 years ago, he wasn't even paid enough to put gas in his car every week! So her engagement ring was her 10th wedding anniversary gift from my father. And it was a beautiful memory for the family – he bought it for her, re-proposed and they renewed their vows with my sister and I present as witnesses.

        As for my husband and myself – he proposed to me in the hospital while we were waiting to see the oncologist just as he was being diagnosed with cancer. I had a small diamond solitaire that I had bought for myself a couple of years prior, and he suggested I move it from my right hand to my left. I told him I would only if that meant we were getting married and he basically said "well, obviously" and that was it. My actual engagement ring is a white gold band with a dark blue sapphire in the middle flanked by 2 round diamonds on either side stacked vertically and then three other rectangular diamonds stacked on top of each other on the outsides of the round diamonds. We found it on kijiji for $200. It originally had a tanzanite in the center, but I am super hard on things and had worn down all the shoulders, so he decided to have the stone replaced. Anyway, I love my ring. I love that it isn't something every other girl will have, and I regularly get complimented on how pretty it is. I did once get a "well it's pretty, I guess, but not very traditional" to which I replied "actually, it is very traditional – you should do some research on the history of wedding and engagement rings". ;)

        7 agree
  12. My fiance and I designed my ring with a jeweler who'd worked with my mother on some pieces, and it has a purple sapphire- it is totally wonderful and perfectly us. I actually don't get the "where's the diamond" comments, more "wow, that is so cool that you guys did that." And, I have a co-worker who got her ring off Etsy and it has no stone, and is so so pretty. Though sometimes I look at the bling-y diamond rings some women have and think they are gorgeous, I wouldn't trade my ring for the world.

    2 agree
  13. I'm not so sure if ring envy is a WIC thing as much as it is a human thing. Some people get it, some don't. We all get jealous at one point or another. I never really got ring envy, but I've felt a little bit of dress envy here and there. It happens and we just have to work through it and let our rational side triumph in the end. Now the WIC and obnoxious ring expectations are another thing… (like hell my fiance and I would spend 3 months of his salary on a damn ring!)

    8 agree
  14. I have a lab created solitaire sapphire and I love it so very much! (I teach art and I can't even wear it most days with paint and clay around!) My mother tried to convince me I wanted a diamond! She even told me to get to side diamonds around the sapphire, or a diamond wedding band. She didn't see the practicality of it, clay does not easily come out of small spaces! And it's very minimalist and very me. Now that I'm married I wear my plain band to school.

    Now on the other hand she just got engaged and her ring is so gaudy to me! It's a huge diamond surrounded by small diamonds (twice) then diamonds go down the band too! D:

    4 agree
    • I also have a (pink) lab created sapphire solitaire, set in white gold that I picked from Amazon and it was less than £50. My mum said to me that although it's pretty, she thought "other people might think it isn't real". It's real to me, and I love it, and that's all that matters.

      2 agree
  15. Designing a custom ring together rocks, too. A good jeweler can help you put together something amazing that won't break the budget.

    I love my custom ring. It completely killed ring envy for me.

    7 agree
  16. PERFECT timing. I was just having a mini stressful moment on this exact subject. Like, should we have just splurged on my ring? Should I have gotten the largest version (my ring style comes in 3 carat weights, I got the middle one)? Should I have gotten one with one, large, center stone? (I have 4 small in the center that create "one", with a halo around those and then diamonds in the band…half eternity for my wedding band)

    Does it really matter? Nope. I love my rings! They are sparkly *ooooh aaahhh* and they look good on my hand without looking too small or obnoxiously large. Just right for me!

    I hate this culture that has been created about getting a ring with "good finger coverage" and the "highest quality diamonds" as if, past a certain point, anyone other than a jeweler can really tell.

    3 agree
  17. I can't say I have ring envy at all. To me, the custom art deco ring with pink tourmeline and black diamonds my fiance had made for me is the prettiest, best ring ever. I'm not a diamond girl. And the fact that he took the time to have a ring made from scratch (which wasn't cheap) and find the most perfect hot pink stone to go in it… Well, my heart sings every time I look at it. Because it was chosen with love, just for me.

    6 agree
  18. I married sans engagement ring. We had been talking marriage for some time and when I asked why he hadn't popped the question and he answered "because I can't afford a ring yet". I told him, screw the ring! If we love each other we should just do it, we didn't need a freakin' ring to prove our love.
    When I did tell people I was engaged everyone automatically looked at my hand. Some even gave a sympathetic smile and head tilt when I told them there wasn't a ring. Despite them feeling sorry for me, I felt sorry for them that they put such a value on a rock and not the sentiment behind marriage.

    30 agree
  19. I don't have a ring and it was my decision. I went through a short phase of wanting a "sparkly" as I thought of it but I remembered all the reasons why I'm not having one and I'm still happy with my decision. We will both wear wedding bands when the time comes though.

    1 agrees
  20. Oh ring envy. I was guilty of it. SIGH. But when all your newly engaged best friends are happily throwing their two carat diamonds in your face it's hard not to feel a bit sad. Luckily I came to the realization that the ring I was hounding after was ridiculous. Then I started to look at antique rings, and I found a place that sold them for amazing prices. That's where I found my ring from the 1940's with the .98 carat very flawed diamond. I LOVE IT! But wow does the WIC affect my friends, do you know how many times I heard that my ring is "cute"?! Or, the fact that it was better that I picked it since my fh knows nothing?! Or why would I want something old?! Or that all that matters is the size?! Wow, I am so glad my logic kicked my envy monster in the arse!

    8 agree
    • Where did you find the antique ring? We have been looking for one, but don't want to spend too much money. :)

      0 agree
      • Try looking in your local phone book for "estate sale" or "vintage" jewelry places. Or try googling "vintage jewelry" +your town, but the phone book will turn you on to more little local places without website, that probably have lower prices.
        You can find a vintage piece and shop local. Win win. :)

        1 agrees
    • "Cute" kills me. It feels like such an insult regarding all things-wedding, at least for me… like I'm a little girl who isn't grown up enough for things like weddings. I've gotten "cute" with both my dress and my ring, which ordinarilly I LOVE, but once I started hearing "cute," I started to doubt myself and my choices.

      4 agree
  21. I had a weird experience at work lately. Myself and one co-worker I don't see very often both got engaged in the fall. At the office Christmas lunch it got mentioned that there would be two staff weddings next year so afterwards she came over and said "hey, i haven't even seen your ring!" – so i showed her my lovely tanzanite and diamond ring (which i helped pick out.) she was perfectly lovely and oohed and i looked at her's. Which was beautiful and a more traditional all diamond type. I made a comment about it being a big rock (it was!) and she said "are you kidding? the first thing I said when he proposed was 'is that the ring? really?' I wanted something bigger."

    I kind of didn't know what to say to that. You know?

    12 agree
  22. I was at a friend's wedding this summer. During the message, the officiating pastor held up his late mother's wedding ring. It was just a narrow, simple gold band, and it was worn to a wire. And he said that made it so much valuable to him than anything else could– that she'd worn the ring so hard and so long that she wore it out.

    My dad passed away this summer, and my mum's been wearing his ring on a chain around her neck ever since; he worked with his hands a lot, so the band is a bit nicked and scarred, and that's always what I think of when I see its wear.

    20 agree
  23. Currently I'm not sporting an engagement ring because we haven't had a 'proper' proposal as yet, and in any event I'm trying to talk him into getting matching tattoos instead (he can't wear rings in his job, too dangerous, and I don't want to be the only one wearing a ring).

    But when I had an engagement ring, for my first wedding, it was a star sapphire in a silver band, and cost less than my dress – both of them being secondhand and under $50 each. For some reason, people adored it even though it wasn't a diamond. Thing is, I can't say I've ever had engagement ring envy because I've never been a fan of diamonds (which is what everyone else seems to be wearing). I like pretty rings, but I've never been faced with a situation where I'd be envious of what someone else is wearing. Also, my tastes are very different to what anyone else I know wears. Now, rings on the Internet, that's a whole different story …

    1 agrees
  24. I never really got ring envy, though the person above who mentioned dress envy drove it home for me – my dress came from Goodwill, and I liked it, but when a dear friend got married a few months later in a dress that probably cost my entire wedding budget… let's just say I was sad. But my wife and I knew that we just wanted simple rings; we each just wanted one, and didn't want to spend much money on them. In fact, when she proposed, I didn't think she was proposing at all, because I knew she didn't have a ring for me, and she knew I wanted one. Of course, miss tricks-up-her-sleeve ended up proposing with her True Love Waits ring (oh the irony!), which I wore until we married (except when we went to visit her parents, as her mother would have keeled over). Our wedding rings are small – mine is a sapphire from a jeweler, hers is four small diamonds from Graigslist. She was worried about bad relationship vibes with a Craigslist ring, but the seller said "It was the right ring, just from the wrong person," and we've given it a great home.

    5 agree
  25. My engagement ring is a teal-colored tourmaline in white gold. I have no idea how much it cost, and I don't really care.

    I DO care that my fiance shopped for, I shit you not, three months before he found something he thought I'd like. I'm incredibly picky about jewelry, and he NAILED it. To me, that's priceless. I know it's just a thing, and if I didn't love my engagement ring it would be just fine, but the fact that he took that much care and put that much thought into it means the world to me.

    6 agree
  26. I have not had envy either. I got the perfect ring for me (Green sapphire stone with small diamonds in an antique looking setting). I may look at other women's engagement rings and the big diamonds, but it wouldn't have meant as much to me if my fiance bought me something like that. He put a lot of thought into what I would like and found the perfect thing for me.

    0 agree
  27. Etsy is still my go-to place for ring-shopping. I don't want, or expect, a big, expensive ring. Literally, the only piece of 'bling' I own is a Han Solo blaster pendant. I just want something blue, with a bird. That's it, that's all. Thanks for this reminder that it's not about the cash, it's about the commitment.

    4 agree
  28. I agree with a comment above about this post's perfect timing! I LOVE my ring. He had it designed with me and our lifestyle in mind. But, out of nowhere, a couple of weeks ago I found myself with ring envy! I see a lot of big flashy rings… and I think the majority of the reason for it was that my yoga teacher's huge rock is always in my face in class, and it is very sparkly and pretty. Mine is lovely, and when people see it they immediately say it is very me. I am clutsy and active, and I wanted something I could wear every day no matter what, because I am very sentimental with ring symbolism. I like a comment above about how it's just human nature to compare certain things with others, be it a ring, or a dress, or anything else for that matter. I was mortified by my jealousy. I think it is mostly because it's not that he got what he could afford… he did. But, I know that when he said he was going to start shopping he'd just gotten his bonus and had plenty of money, that we kind of just spent on random things. Finally he realized he was out of money and still wanted to get my ring. I was suddenly upset recently when I thought that he should have planned more for something I am going to wear for the rest of my life. But you know what? It's perfect. It's us. And, we do squander our money on food and bike stuff and experiences. We never clothes shop and our car is in dreadful condition, but we love food and that's honestly where most of our money goes! We are two people who prefer to spend our money doing things together, rather than on stuff. And, I'm pretty damned proud of that. Sometimes our monkey brains take over for a minute, and it just takes a bit for the rational brains to fight back. My ring is a perfect gift from the wonderful man who knows me better than I know myself. Which is obvious, because he knows I could never deal with the giant ring my yoga teacher wears — I'd poke my eye out!

    3 agree
    • "I was suddenly upset recently when I thought that he should have planned more for something I am going to wear for the rest of my life."

      I totally see that you got over it, but I'm not sure where this sentiment comes from that the engagement ring is permanent. I know a woman who's gotten a new engagement ring every year of her marriage for the last 6 years- she almost has one for every day now!

      Who says we're tied to these pieces of metal and stone forever? Get a new one together on an anniversary, or just for fun. And switch it up now and then!! Why not? We're offbeat brides!

      15 agree
      • I guess personaly I understand the sentiment of never wanting to swap tge ring we started our lives together with.

        1 agrees
  29. My husband and I were married on April 1st and when my Uncle who was presiding asked for the rings, my maid of honor produced one of those big plastic ones in the picture (but in pink). My Uncle has a fantastic sense of humor so I thought he'd laugh with the rest of us, but I think his expression of sheer horror made the prank even funnier. :D

    As for my actual ring, the center diamond is an heirloom from his family. It belonged to his great grandmother. I will never part with it, because no matter what monetary value it is, it will always be worth more to me because it is from my husband – and his entire family, for that matter – and he is the most amazing man I have ever known.

    2 agree
  30. I will completely admit I have ring envy but really its for any ring. He asked and I said yes so we are engaged (planning has started) but he didn't have enough money to get me the ring HE wanted. Personally I would be fine with a ring from a Cracker Jack Box. But he wants a "proper" ring and a "proper" proposel! I don't even feel like I NEED a ring but the non-rude ppl look at my left hand and the rude ppl say "where's the ring?" or (really rude ppl) "well you're not engaged if you don't have a ring." (kid you not 2 ppl have said this.) Sigh…

    5 agree
  31. This is my second wedding, and the proposal was not a surprise. Before it happened I discussed the ring. I let my fiance know that I did not want an engagement ring. I am not a fan of diamonds, and refuse to buy into the after-effects of a successful marketing campaign by DeBeers in the 20s.

    In January my fiance and I are going to a "wedding band workshop" where we will craft our bands for each other. We will be bending, soldering, shaping and polishing our bands for each other. For me this has a lot of meaning about what our marriage means.

    13 agree
    • Oooooh, I have a friend that did just this and it was the COOLEST and SWEETEST thing I ever did see.

      0 agree
  32. my engagement ring was a vintage set we found at the pawn shop for 150. the rings lock together with a tiny swing arm and that was the big seller for me. not the size of the diamond lol. for our anniversary he got me a stuuupiidd sparklie blue topaz with simulated diamonds from a collection at sears called Zeghani. they make crazy pretty stuff but its not too expensive!! mine was 130! sales rock :)

    2 agree
  33. OMG! I love your 'heart of gold and gold prices are on the rise' part!

    My engagement ring belonged to my deceased grandmother. It is all I have left of her. Its gaudy and large and I hated wearing it. When we got money, we decided on just bands since I was miserable with that ring (it cut my face if I slept on my hand). So we decided to give up all non-ethically mined or man-made diamonds. Not being able to afford them, we went with an engraved pattern that had special meaning to us and I can say my ring cost no one their life.

    Best decision ever, but when I see sparkly, I still get 'weak kneed' and jealous! Sigh!

    1 agrees
  34. I agree, it is the thought that counts, not how expensive it was, or how many carats it has.
    I have an engagement ring, but I hardly ever wear it. (I had it resized twice, but now that I wear my (plain, 3mm white gold) wedding band it sits too far up on my hand and has to get resized, again…)
    We did want something to mark the occasion, but I did not want anything new (also because of the whole blood/conflict diamond thing. I would just feel uncomfortable). So we found a (cheap) secondhand (vintage) band with 7 tiny (diamond) stones. One for every day of the week!
    We picked it out together, but I haven't worn it much. I just don't have a strong emotional band with it.
    However… I do wear my "promise" ring. This was a ring we bought when we bought a house together, and we had to sign all sorts of legal documents (This is something you can do in the Netherlands, for when you buy a house together without being married, for if one of you dies, or if you would break up, you know, all that fun stuff :p!). This was before we were even engaged but this did mark the moment we made our first really serious commitment together.
    What I love about that ring is that we used a stone I already had (when I was 21 I wanted a beautiful ring, but did not had a man to give me one, so I bought one myself). And we bought a setting on ebay, offered as scrap gold (it was missing it's center stone). I loved that the ring used to be worn by the sellers grandmother. Who wore it all her live. (he was so happy to hear the ring would not be melted down, but restored and loved once again!) I love it because we set the alarm at 3.50 AM to make the final bid on the ring. And I love it because we did all of that, together. On a very tight budget. But that makes it all just the more meaningful.
    Yes, sometimes I do get ring-envy. Just as dress-envy and big-wedding-envy… But I guess that's normal. We did not have a lot of money to spend, and even if we did, we probably would have spend it on our home… Yes, it stings (and makes me angry and sad sometimes) when people think (and say) we did not have a "real"wedding, just because it's not what they would have done.
    My man and I are married, and we love each other. And he doesn't need a ring to let me know he loves me, he lets me know that himself, every single day.

    5 agree
  35. I love my engagement ring, it's a wee conflict-free diamond in a beautiful birds nest setting on a brushed silver band, suits me to a tee. Around the same time that we got engaged, two of my colleagues did too, they're sporting massive rocks. I get some weird reactions from people, they're a little taken aback by it's size- are always polite but their pitch changes to an anticlimatic "oh… It's so… You". I couldnt imaging lugging a hefty sparkly thing around and don't think expecting my future husband to sacrifice three months salary on a rock that was mined by people who have horrific work conditions could possibly be good karma for a token of our lives coming together. Plus my fingers are much too stumpy- it would look ridiculous! I'm yet to meet someone envious of my ring, but would assume millions have fiancé envy cos my fella's the bomb.

    8 agree
  36. Pre-engagement, I used to rage whenever I'd hear commercials for diamond engagement rings on the radio, worded in such a way to imply that diamond engagement rings are a requirement and that the bigger, the better. I had told my then-non-fiance that if he ever wanted to marry me I never, ever wanted a diamond because it would just remind me of the commercialization of weddings in general. In the end, I got a claddagh engagement ring with a alexandrite for the heart and *gasp* DIAMOND in the crown. Turns out, his mother sent the diamond from her engagement ring, so its both sentimental and it doesn't support the diamond jewelers I have grown to loathe.

    Strangely enough, very few people even both to ask to see the ring so I don't have any issues related to that.

    0 agree
  37. The whole engagement ring debate has always been kind of hilarious to me. I'm not a hardcore jewelry girl, and I never wear rings normally, so the idea of an enormous ring that's going to get caught on stuff seems weird.

    Recently I was chatting with a friend (who, admittedly, is a bit of a "princess" type) about rings. I said that my boyfriend knows that I like small/medium colored gems and that I want it to be unique, and that otherwise I trust him to find something I will love. She looked at me like I had two heads, then told me about how she's told her boyfriend she insists on a very specific 2kt diamond solitaire ring she found somewhere. It was pretty funny to hear such a totally opposite perspective from mine!

    1 agrees
  38. My Viking and I have an ongoing joke about how the TV tells me he has to buy me diamonds or he doesn't love me. I've also repeatedly told him that if he tries to give me a diamond ring I will spray him with a water bottle and say "No! Bad boyfriend!"

    I don't think I've ever coveted anyone else's ring. I mean, they're pretty, and often the rings are very "them" but they're not "me".

    2 agree
  39. What's funny to me is that I thought I was avoiding the whole issue by not having a ring. But even though I didn't want one so many people around me acted like it was some kind of terrible crime that had to be put right asap.

    No matter how many times I said I didn't care they insisted on being "sympathic" and acting as if I was jealous of everyone else's rings, even ones I hadn't actually noticed.

    0 agree
  40. i think all rings are pretty in their own way but there was always something saying hmmmm. not me. and i never figured it out. i always looked at mens wedding bands thinking wow they have cool stuff why cant we have cool stuff…my man stumbled across a ring that SCREAMED my name. center diamond with 10 diamonds on each side but that just the accent in this case i wasnt focused on the diamonds… i was focused on the fact that it was a BLACK rhodium ring! o…m…g how i love it. no white gold rose gold any gold nothin. black rodium…shiney smooth beautiful black and it makes the diamonds POP with the colour contrast. i get judgement all the time…."a BLACK ring? really? BLACK?" , "OH he didnt go with anything traditional…" , "well i guess its nice..u know kinda weird but well i guess its nice" .pff what do they know right? if it means the world to you and your significant other had thought about what YOU want and not what OTHERS expect then it means a million times more. and i love it ladies! uniqueness at its finest (just like me!)

    4 agree
    • WHERE did he find a womans ring in black? we've been looking at dude's rings in black, he hasn't picked uet, but pretty sure that's the route we're going. i have my grandma's ruby (it's about the size of a fingernail) that i have always wantedd to have set for my engagement ring. i was thinking of black diamonds to go with it, but how awesome would the deep red ruby look set in black?!?!?! must. know. details.

      0 agree
      • haha he didnt wanna tell me but i dragged it out of him (i dont think he wanted me to see the price) and i think if you go in to the store they can adjust things like stones etc… he finally caved.. haha heres the link. now dont everyone get it now LoL. and if you look under mens wedding bands they have a selection of black rings. mine plans on getting a black ring to go with my band. Also i am in Canada im not sure where your at but you can order online from this store (i think! i hope!)
        https://www.benmoss.com/rings/engagement/multi-diamond/25778-085-carat-tw-14k-white-gold-and-black-rhodium

        0 agree
  41. i get ring envy sometimes. i think it is mainly because my fiance picked out something that i wouldn't have picked for myself. i do think it's beautiful, it's just higher & larger than i would've picked (i LOVE dainty, delicate jewelry that also doesn't get in the way). so my ring envy is for people who either picked out or received exactly what they wanted– smaller, larger, whatever!

    3 agree
  42. I agree with everyone above who said that envy is a natural response. I could never deny that I have had fleeting moments of ring envy. I don't have the ring yet (it's still waiting to be made due to finances – he has it designed and will not settle for less than his perfect idea) I do however have an amazing memory of the day he proposed and a brass chain that hangs on his picture on my desk at work. For you see, he held my hand on "our bridge" and wrapped that chain around our joined hands while he said " Just as this humble bridge spans the gap between the banks, let this simple brass chain link our separate pasts to our shared future. I ask if you will do me the honor of consenting to walk by my side and explore eternity with me." So every time someone says we aren't really engaged since I don't have a rock on my finger or I get a twinge of the diamond eyed monster. I just ask them how their man proposed – oh with your ring in a glass of champagne – how boring.

    4 agree
  43. Without fail, the non-diamond ring posts always have the most comments!!

    I think the thing that makes people want to comment so much is that we have STORIES about our rings (both diamond and non-diamond rings), and many people who just buy something because they "should" don't get that story to treasure and share.

    2 agree
  44. I love that most people here have said they haven't had any ring envy and I'm the same.

    When my husband was looking for rings he borrowed several rings from an antique shop run by a family friend and wandered around his house all week wearing the various rings.
    He kept going back to an art deco diamond ring with three concentric circles of small diamonds, but his mother tried to convince him that it wasn't really an engagement ring as it didn't have the one big sparkler in the middle.

    Luckily my thoughtful man knew how my brain works and went with the unique deco ring. I have no idea how much it cost or what carat it is and I wouldn't swap it for the Burton-Taylor diamond if it were offered.

    When I was looking for wedding bands to fit around the circular ring a sales assistant in a very expensive jewellers said 'oh but of course you won't be wearing that ring every day, it's a cocktail ring'. Excuse me? Some people have such limited ideas of what constitutes an engagement ring, and I salute all you girls (and guys) bucking tradition.

    4 agree
  45. I've never really been into the whole big rock thing — the competition over it does strike me as being basically dick-swinging for ladies. My partner proposed with an amber bracelet and I actually told him not to get me a ring because I've never been a ring person, and I find the competition over rocks so off-putting. He did push, though — gently, but it was a part of getting engaged that mattered to him — so we went ring-shopping together and ended up getting a 1920s ring with tiny diamonds from an antique jewellery shop.

    I kind of wonder whether I should have stood my ground sometimes, but I do like my ring, and it still touches me that he wanted to get it for me.

    0 agree
  46. Yes! My fiance' bought my engagement ring from a medieval store at his home in the Netherlands. It's a little gold ring (not real gold, of course) with an awesome design imprinted on the front. I've worn it for 2 years with pride, and I can't believe how many people have given me the 'look' when I show it to them. At the worst they've said, "THAT'S not an engagement ring!" and sometimes the more polite, "Well, that's different!" … but I love it, and I'll treasure it forever!

    0 agree
  47. I'm engaged, but I don't have my engagement ring yet. I proposed to my partner, as we agreed on quite some time ago. We went to get mine the next day, but I wanted a black diamond. The making of my ring is going to take 5-7 weeks.

    It's frustrating to wait, but even more frustrating when people get upset that I don't have "bling" to show them.

    He has an engagement ring, so I always just grab his hand and show them his!

    1 agrees
  48. When my parents got engaged they didn't have a farthing to their name (much less a penny), so they got lovely, simple rings they could afford. Fast-forward 30 years, and for their anniversary my dad got her the diamond ring that she always quietly coveted. It was a meaningful and exciting gesture tracking how their relationship and lives have developed and changed together over the years.

    …and I have to admit, she really, REALLY loves that ring!

    1 agrees
  49. Yeah….the dress envy is my thing. I went with a secondhand, simple ivory dress, because it was what we could afford. Whereas…if I could have had what I wanted, it would be custom-made and purple silk. It's funny when you realize you've internalized all the "your wedding dress should make you feel like a princess" language…and yet, it still makes me sad that my dress was just "okay" and that I will likely never have another opportunity to wear a truly fabulous dress (we're not fancy people, and hey, we're poor!)

    1 agrees
  50. This has bitten me several times. I didn't get an engagement ring because I have both of my grandmothers' rings…which are sets from the 1940s and 50s. I love them. I love what they symbolize (one set of grandparents were absolutely devoted to each other and couldn't stand to be away from each other, even 54 years after they married; the others went through really, really rough times that most folks would have walked away from but they choose to stay and work through it).

    Everyone wanted to see the ring, though, and when I said I didn't have one, I could feel them judging my fiance. Even after I told them why I don't have a ring, I could feel the judgement and disappointment.

    After we got engaged, several of our friends have gotten engaged, each one outdoing each other with the rings. I keep reminding myself that it's not about the ring. It's about the relationship.

    3 agree
  51. I find I have ring disintrest. I have a small amethyst ring, maybe one karat, with a art deco metal decoration that cost me all of $100 or so. I love what it stands for, and how happy it makes the husband elect to see. I also wouldn't have paid a cent more for a ring I only wear for a short time.
    I get that everyone has their own reasoning but I don't get the "amount of money=amount of affection" thing alot of women have going. It should be the relationship one treasures, more then the rock.

    2 agree
  52. I actually picked out my own engagement ring. It's got two rows of multicoloured channel set sapphires arranged in such a way that it looks like it changes colour as you move it. Nobody has actually asked me why I didn't get a diamond. Yet. Well, except my snot of a 9 year old cousin and she doesn't even count as a full person yet. I've yet to see a diamond ring I like has much as my funky one. I don't like rings with stones that stick out. Not on me, and they don't even appear to me on other people. So no ring envy for me :)

    Although I will be getting a diamond set wedding band. The way I see it, the symbolism of 'diamonds are forever' thing is more valuable to me for my wedding than just my engagement.

    1 agrees
  53. I'm not afraid to admit that I have ring envy from time to time, but it's not about the money or the stone. It's about the time, thought, and care that went into picking out the ring that I'm envious of.

    I love my fiance, and I know what he's like, so I know he just wasn't thinking about it, but it would have meant a lot to me if he'd just put a little bit of thought into my engagement ring. My ring is lovely, but it's not anything I would normally wear, and after the wedding I won't be wearing it again.
    I'm just kind of jealous of the brides whose fiance(é)s put a lot of energy into their rings, or who got to design their own.

    4 agree
  54. My fiancé proposed yesterday, and I had no idea what to expect from the ring. We had gone ring shopping a dozen times and each time I obsessed over which ring or custom combo would be "perfect". It was way too much pressure, and I was getting more and more upset… S finally I just told him to pick something that he thought I would like, and I would love it because it came from him… Even a paper clip with a pony bead! When I finally did get the ring, it was absolutely the most beautiful thing I had ever seen… Its way better than anything I could have designed myself, and I honestly can't picture a more perfect ring! So no envy here, even though I was sure finding the "best" ring would be immensely difficult… I just had to let go of my ideals, I guess, and learn to be pleasantly surprised.

    0 agree
  55. My ring is a fair-trade silver one with a round amethyst and pretty spirals that I picked out the day after he proposed – it's just my style, I love it, and it was only £20! If I had some expensive sparkly thing I'd be terrified of losing or damaging it, or having it stolen. Sure, my friends' sparkly expensive rings are pretty, too, but they're not my style at all. And besides, I'd rather take the money and go on an interesting vacation with it!

    0 agree
  56. I think the "culture" point is so true! I love my unique ring because it's something that a lot of thought and personalization went into, but I do kind of wish I didn't get the "but where's your ring? Oh, that doesn't LOOK like an engagement ring" remarks…because I wish people would look at it and see that I'm taken! I thought people would get it from the finger it's on, but apparently not, and I envy the recognition a little.

    We just have to make different rings more common so people get it ;)

    1 agrees
  57. Oh. I know about ring envy. We were living in different countries at the moment of proposal, so there wasn't a point in getting a ring, since next time we'd see each other we'd be a month from getting married, we just decided to get funky wedding bands. I love mine, but have to wear it around my neck since I lost weight, and being a kinekt gear ring made out of stainless steel, it can't be resized. sometimes I'd like to have a simple band to wear all the time, that can get soaped up and dirtied up and get no worse from the wear, but then I see my ring and know that my jewelry averse husband has one that looks exactly like mine and wears it all the time, and the evil envy beast subsides.

    1 agrees
  58. My fiancee and I are recently graduated and broke, and I just wasn't into the idea of a "real" ring. The thing is, I wasn't attached to the idea of it as a status symbol or an investment or as insurance, so I more or less just wanted something pretty. Also, I'm a klutz and very forgetful so it is a very real possibility that some day, I would lose the ring and how do you recover from losing a $2000 ring? Eek! For the budget we were working with, I wasn't going to get a ring that I adored, so I convinced my fiancee– after much fear of being called a terrible person on his part– to buy me a "fake." My ring is a CZ set in sterling silver, so it ran about 60 bucks, but it's vintage-inspired and I think it's super pretty, which was the most important part for me personally (the ring honestly didn't change the commitment for us majorly). My friends and a number of strangers have made comments about it being "a rock" and have fawned over it plenty. I was really afraid in a way of what people would say, but it genuinely appears that if you're after impressing people, you don't have to spend a ton of money. And there IS a certain pressure to have a ring that will impress people, which is a little icky on its own and I think we should all mind our business.

    Also, I haven't made a point of telling anyone details unless I'm asked directly. If someone wants to be nosy and ask if it's a real diamond or how much it cost, I'll be honest, but I'm not sure it's worth it to go out of my way to tell them it's a cheap CZ. I guess I feel like bringing attention to it would be adding fuel to the "it's gotta be expensive and real!" fire. On the other hand, it could help some of my friends realize it's okay if they don't want to spend a lot of money. So I don't know, just thinking out loud here.

    3 agree
  59. The very idea of something super expensive and easily loseable makes me break out in hives.

    So my engagement ring is a silver ring with the work 'reserved' stamped into it.

    Everyone loves it, they all comment on its uniqueness but often someone looks a little deflated by the fact that it's not a massive gem encrusted edifice of budget carnage.

    2 agree
  60. Brb, making a Time of the Month Tiger that says "READ OFFBEAT BRIDE, DISSOLVE INTO TEARS OVER NOTHING".

    1 agrees
  61. Does anyone else have SMALLER ring envy? My fiance is amazing. He brought all my rings to the store without my knowledge, custom designed a vintage-y ring, avoided diamonds and had the ring made from lab-created moissanite, which is nerdily only naturally found in asteroids. Love it! He consulted my best friend via email for her opinion. And the completely surprise proposal was amazing and beautiful.

    The whole process is the sweetest thing I've ever heard. I'm so amazed at his creativity! The ring has a huge green moissanite (green is my fav color) in a cool setting and its surrounded by rows of little white ones.

    It's beautiful. People squee over it. But it's not what I would have chosen for myself. It was expensive (stalked his email- he said it was important to him to have it be a bigger purhase so it felt more significant for him), It's large (gets caught on things, impossible to wear in yoga, scratches me in my sleep). And the white stones look like diamonds, so I have to go out of my way to tell people they're moissanite as well. I would have chosen something much more simple, and when I read these descriptions of plain, easy to wear rings, I have ring envy!! I love the process and amount of love behind mine, but that means when I want a smaller more simple ring to wear every day, his creativity might be disappointed.

    I'm getting more used to it, but I'm still concerned ill lose or break it. It's insured, but that doesn't make me feel a whole lot better. Anyone else with small ring envy??

    1 agrees
  62. I picked my engagement ring and wedding band from a chain store of all places. it is kind of large and super sparkly- but that isn't why I picked it. I originally wanted not a diamond as well but my fiance was having none of it for whatever reason. I ended up having to be ok with making sure the diamonds were lab made. We eventually got the one that felt the most like me.
    My fiance wanted a ring too but at the time we just couldn't find one that suited him so I bought him an xbox hahahaha.
    We got a lot of harassmess because I helped to pick it and pay for it, but frankly I think it is ridiculous that weddings and engagements seem so one sided- the whole point is to come together right?!

    ps: i absolutely hate the demands to show my hand- makes me feel like i am on display at a zoo or soemthing!

    2 agree
    • Yes to the harassment on helping choose the ring – for my first wedding, my ex and I woke up one morning, decided we were going to get married, walked into a jewellery store (which happened to be one of the more offbeat around) and chose the ring together. I got the stone I wanted and a ring that fit my finger and my lifestyle.

      I imagine that, if we ever bother with an actual engagement, the same will hold true for MadCat and I – I can't see him buying something on the off-chance that I might like it. But that's us, and it's what works for us, and I wish people would remember that (currently our nasty comments are more along the lines of the occasional dig about how far away 2015 is, with raised eyebrows and slight sneer, as though we won't make it. Fortunately such remarks are few and far between).

      Anyway, my rambling point is, why shouldn't we share in what's supposed to be a big decision? Why should he be burdened with it all by himself? Why shouldn't I have a say in what I'm going to be wearing, after all?

      2 agree
  63. I'm another recently engaged woman with no ring and no plan to wear one, but with a bit of a twist. My fiance and I are both attorneys who have a lot of divorcing clients. The entire idea of an engagement ring just reads differently when a big part of your job is explaining to people what counts as marital property vs. separate property when they are planning how to divide their stuff. Being figuratively up to your elbows in the messy financial innards of marriages that are ending casts the material trappings attached to the beginning of a married relationship in a whole new light. I often come home from a day at work with a lot of client calls swearing that a) nobody should ever get married to anyone else, ever, and b) if you absolutely insist on such a foolhardy thing, a courthouse wedding with lunch at the hotdog cart across the street after is the only thing that makes any goddamned sense.

    The legal history of the engagement ring is weird, too. Until the mid 20th century, it was considered a gift in consideration of marriage in many states – that is, it was part of an actual contract to marry. The woman brought her one valuable thing to the exchange – her promise to marry. The man brought the other – material wealth. After the marriage took place, the ring was hers alone rather than the property of the married couple because the contract was complete. The ring itself was something of an insurance policy if he abandoned or stopped supporting her financially.

    We're planning on wearing matching wedding bands after we do get married. I'd say that my fiance is more bothered about me not having a ring than I am – he's somewhat afraid people will judge him, our relationship, and our commitment to each other because I don't have a ring. I think that's ridiculous since we must really, really love each other to have the jobs we do and still think it's a good idea to marry anyone.

    1 agrees
  64. Thank you so much for posting this. I've never left a reply on a blog before but felt compelled because you hit the nail right on the head. I recently got engaged (3 days ago in fact) and while it's all sinking in I've also been noticing all my friends rings and comparing. Mine was starting to look pretty tiny. But I completely agree with the fact that it's not about the size or amount of diamonds, it's about what it symbolizes. And many years from now when I see it I will be able to remember where we came from and the foundation we have built. Thank you for keeping it all in prospective!

    0 agree
  65. When I was in University in Ontario in the 90's, my Chem Prof told us once about when he was a Grad Student at John Hopkins, and his wife was nursing at a Baltimore Hospital. The diamond in her engagement ring was what we all concerned a fairly typical size up here in Canada, but down in Baltimore at the time it was concerned unduly small. Apparently the other nurses would tease her by asking when he would buy her a real ring.

    Since then, I've noticed diamond size creeping up.

    0 agree
  66. I have to admit I do have some ring envy from time to time. I've been daydreaming about my engagement ring since I was a little girl. So when it finally made its appearance in a little box in my fiance's hand last week, I felt a little twinge of disappointment. It's smaller than I would have chosen, but simple and classic. Then I remind myself that years from now when I look at it I will remember where we came from. It is a foundation to build on. And it came from the heart, from a man who has been off work due to an injury for a year and a half, from a man who just helped me buy our first house, and from a man who, despite all that, found a way to buy me a ring anyway because he knew it was important to me. That is what matters most.

    1 agrees
  67. I found my engagement ring at a local antique shop. I instantly fell in love with it! Originally I wanted a white gold band, but my ring is yellow gold with a blue-tint stone. The ladies at the shop did not have it tested to see what stone it is, all we know is that it's not a cubic or diamond. I would visit that ring every time I was in the area… yes, I became one of those women– until one day it was gone. I was convinced that my SO did not have the money to buy it, we were so tight with money at that point. MONTHS later he proposes, and wouldn't you know, that sneaky man had MY ring– I wouldn't trade it for the world :)

    0 agree
  68. Sure, Tiffany would have been nice, but then I'd have been terrified of wearing it and as I discovered I didn't really like diamonds after all.

    My ring is mine (costs way more than I wanted it to, which I try to forget)but we designed it and it symbolizes us and our partnership. It's a Marquise (oval/petal) shape and a ceylon sapphire, very me.

    If it's yours and you love it, so what.

    0 agree
  69. My future husband actually had some ring envy after I got mine. I told him I would get him a ring and re-propose to him when I had the money. So for Christmas, I found a badass black tungsten band with Celtic knotwork on Etsy for him. I had it engraved with a quote from His Dark Materials, one of our favorite book series ("Every atom of you"). And, well, the ring is still caught in shipping limbo and hasn't arrived yet. BUT. I can't wait to get down on one knee and tell my partner-in-crime how freaking awesome he is with ring in hand.

    0 agree
  70. My original wedding ring came from Andrews Jewelers, it was the prefect starter ring for me, a white gold band with a quarter carat diamond. It beautiful for a girl who was 18 & thought that it was stupid to spend money on a rock!!! ((but I secretly loved that it came from a real jewelry store)) Over the course of about 4 years it had to be repeatedly repaired & the last time the store I took it to closed & transferred it to one across town. If you didn't pick it up within 90 days they send it back to the company to be melted down (because I don't have a job that made it hard to drive across town, especially when there was another location way closer they could have sent it to) I lost my simple beautiful engagement ring. For a long time I was heart broken, & it was hard to hear my fiance' talk about the whole thing. It was getting closer & closer to my wedding & we still hadn't replaced it. Finally we went to a pawn shop that my dad used to get all my mom's jewelry at. We told them what we were looking for (I was looking for a replica of the original) and our price we wanted to say in. They pulled several & one wild card. My now Husband picked the wild card, a vintage styled set that included the wedding band. Something he thought was more my style & fit my personality better than the original. We put it in layaway & when we paid it off one of the employee's stopped me before I got it sized, made me try on the lil' rings they use for sizing them, he could tell that it was going to come back to big if we hadn't. I wouldn't trade my rescued pawnshop vintage set for anything in the world (rescued because we saved it from being an unwanted ring in a pawnshop forever, the thought of it still being there unloved makes me sad). It's not a modern, overpriced from a recognizable retailer, but it sweet & I will remember going to the pawn shop with him always. I made no comments until after everything was put in layaway because I've always believed that the engagement present should be what he's chosen for you to have for the rest of your lives, but if I had wanted to pick it for myself, I would have picked the exact same one.

    1 agrees
  71. I love costume jewelry, but have the Peter Pan complex about anything considered "real" – real jewelry is for "grown ups" like my mother and grandmother, despite 30 being just a couple birthdays away. I also have an issue with wearing two rings on just one finger, so we've decided that instead of an engagement ring (which I assured him was far less important than paying rent and keeping the water on at the time) AND a wedding band, we're going to find a wider band with a good amount of sparkle to serve as both. He'd been so stressed to get something big and impressive, but I honestly couldn't care less about any part of it being real so long as it's fun and got some sparkle and color. He's insisting on picking it out on his own and I can't wait to see it because I know it'll be absolutely perfect.

    1 agrees
  72. The future hubs got me an emerald. I am not really a diamondy person. My sister in law has a beautiful ruby with diamonds on either side, my other sister in law has a whole diamond mine on hers, as does my step sister.
    I love my pear cut emerald, we are talking about getting puzzle rings around it for my wedding band.
    He planned this ring for two years with our friends and family so I didn't get many no diamond comments, but he was told by a woman in a store I didn't know what I wanted, all women love diamonds and clearly he didn't love me enough. He told her to get a new job.
    Ultimately he got me an emerald because he was proposing in Ireland. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

    3 agree
  73. My engagement ring is so freaking perfect, and he picked it out without my help. (Shortly after the proposal, I opened my etsy favorites to show him something else, and there was my engagement ring! Haha!)

    I had a very strong idea that my engagement was coming, and had been talking to my friend about it all weekend. When I got it, I took a picture and sent it to her with, "OMG IT'S SO PRETTY!" and she responded, "What does this ring symbolize?" I wanted to throttle her.

    When his grandmother saw it for the first time, she said, "It's not a diamond? Well I don't understand that…"

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  74. I always thought fancy engagement rings were kind of silly, my "engagement" ring was the sweet little claddagh ring FH had given me a few years ago that I wore on my left hand anyway. He'd taken it "to be cleaned" and used it to propose to me a while later.
    Now friends ask to see the ring and I show them the same little silver ring I've always worn… just a bit cleaner. ;)

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  75. My engagement ring didn't cost anything nor is it worth more than a few dollars. My fiance took a silver quarter and hammered it down to make a ring. I think that is worth more than all the jewelry in the world. Maybe that's why I have never suffered engagement ring envy even when a friend shows me her stunning diamond and sapphire platinum ring. It's gorgeous, but I love mine a whole lot more.

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  76. No envy here. I got exactly what I wanted. I told him from the word go I wasn't into diamonds, I didn't believe they were ethical. I wanted Cubic Zirconia, and I wanted it to be simple, elegant, and lovely. My ring is a white gold setting, large stone in the middle, and four very tiny ones to either side. It's sparkly, but not over the top, and no one even questions whether it's real.

    I love it. I love how it symbolizes not only the promise we have made to each other, but the idea that he understands and honours and shares my values, my wishes, and my desires. It's really quite beautiful.

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  77. One thing I heard a lot was a dismissive"Oh its cute". Way to sound unimpressed! It is a symbol and not a true measure of how much I am worth because I am priceless to him. I enjoy having a ring that doesn't rip my curls out or snag on gloves when I am caring for patients (yes I work in healthcare). I am a practical person and I got the perfect ring to match my personality. I was never envious of the giant rocks of my friends because they seemed to mean the opposite of the intended. What is more important true love or a giant rock?

    1 agrees
    • im in healthcare too! i dont need a ring that stands 4 feet of my hand and catches on my gloves! as if! the last thing i want is to be cleaning blood out from between my stones!

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  78. My partner and I decided not to have an engagement ring – partly for monetary reasons, partly because in his home country they don't have engagement rings so he never thought to buy me one. I was torn up at first – how important was this to me? I decided that I didn't need one – the marriage was more important than the engagement or the wedding.

    I never expected the backlash from the (mostly female)people in my life. When I tell people about the engagement the first thing they want to see is the ring. When I say we decided not to have one, there is always an awkward pause followed by them telling me it's okay that I don't have one (Thanks, I really need your approval).

    The worst, though, is my mother. She won't accept that I don't have an engagement ring. She keeps pressuring me to pressure my fiance into buying me a 'proper engagement ring' and has even offered to lend us money for a ring. Who would have thought something as simple as an engagement ring would cause so much trouble?

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  79. It was nuts that we met. It was nuts that we dated. It was nuts that we fell in love. Apparently we love nuts. He asked me to be completely nuts with him for the rest of our lives as he handed me a stainless steel ring with a hex nut soldered onto it. Yes; a hex nut, like nuts and bolts, like from the hardware store. It's perfection and I smile every time I look down. Outside of explaining to my dad and grandma that, no, we're not going to add a stone to it… even a fancy one you can screw in and change out by the seasons. When we wed in September, it will be my deceased mother's wedding set that I will put in that place; however, I know that there will be days, I'll prefer to wear my nut.

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  80. I have not had a case of ring envy. My fiancée and I shopped together for my engagement ring and finally decided on the ring that I had wanted since I was 15. My sister in law did though. She and her fh got engaged and the first thing she said after she told us was that her ring was not as big as mine and she wanted a bigger one. It made the whole situation awkward

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  81. I had engagement ring envy. My original ring was a flawless .80 diamond, and I thought it was what I wanted. But after three settings, it still wasn't me. Other gals were SO happy with their rings, but I wasn't.

    Honestly, all I wanted was him to ASK me to be with me forever and to love me forever. I really didn't care about the ring. After several years I realized that I didn't like my engagement ring because I felt guilty about the COST. It was money that could have been spent in more practical ways!

    My husband and I kept the ring for a rainy day, but he still wanted me to have something sentimental and he didn't fail… He bought a whopping 19 carat teal blue tourmaline (my favorite color) and he had it set by the same jewelers that my grandpa used to work for (my grandpa passed away in 2001 and I miss him everyday). Ring envy is gone and I feel guilt-free!!!

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  82. rings are a funny thing, I always thought I wanted a big sparkler, and I did get one my fiancé got me a beautiful great quality .80 carat solitaire diamond ring….
    but to be honest after I got my wedding band I really surprised myself and now feel a bit guilty.

    I like the wedding band much more then the actually engagement ring. I've already decided I'm not going to get them melted together and have even been playing with the idea of just mainly wearing the wedding band alone.
    It makes me feel like a big jerk though since I always made a huge fuss about big engagement rings. I would feel super guilty about this though as I know it was quite expensive.

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  83. I remember before I got engaged a lot of girls were talking about how they had to pick their ring themselves because they didn't trust their fiance to do it, but I had nothing to with it. I think he chose a ring that was perfect for me. I might not have chosen it because tend to get a little glassy-eyed in jewelry stores and don't even know what I want anymore, but I like it that he tells me he went into the jewelry store and told the jeweler he wanted something "simple and elegant" because that was the most "me." Very sweet.

    My rings have a ton of tiny diamonds and one big one, totaling about 1k. The worst part for me when I got engaged was that one of my friends, who has more than 3k on her finger, grabbed my hand and said "let's compare!" She had to know she was going to be the only person she knows with that much diamond on her finger, so it was a little rude, in my opinion. But I am happy with my ring so that's all that matters :)

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  84. It's amazing what marketing can do to change an entire culture's perception of something so intrinsically worthless. And, once you are married, no one cares about your ring.

    Symbolism is important, though. Within the last couple days, a coworker of mine broke of her engagement. A little backstory: about a week before she was telling me and the receptionist that people were criticizing the ring, because it wasn't a diamond. "It's a real sapphire, surrounded by diamonds, and I love it! I don't care what people think; it's not about the diamond." I had thought to myself that it didn't look like any sapphire I'd seen, but I know they come in lots of colors now, and the setting looked extremely cheap. All while I was thinking these unkind thoughts, I recognized it's not about the worth of the ring, it's about the worth of the commitment and the promise.

    But, on Wednesday, said coworker found out everything fiance had told her was a lie. Like one of those dudes you see on 48 hours from time to time, he had told her a bunch of heroic stories about himself, his job, his earnings and finances and relationship history that was not true. He has nothing, no job, no license, no military history, no degree or anything. All lies. The final nail: he had told her he spent thousands of dollars on the ring, so she took it to a jeweler who told her it was a topaz (which is what I thought), set in palladium with czs, and probably was less than $50. So, another lie.

    If he had given her a gumball ring and had been honest, she would have been happy. But he gave her a gumball ring and told her it was the Crown Jewels. Much like everything else he gave her.

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  85. We didn't have a proposal… we had been together over 5 years, and living together more than two. He had started a new, higher paying job, and when I looked at the tax tables I said to him "I think we need to get married this year" and he said "ok" (I know, you are all getting emotional right about now lol). We always knew we would get married at some point, but we were living as a married couple already and for us it really was just a formality. So we started planning a wedding. This was my second marriage and I had some cheesy wedding/engagement ring set I never really liked the first time, but it was in our budget and it satisfied me at the time.

    This time around I had something MUCH more special. My mother passed away in 2009, and being her only daughter I always knew all of her jewelry would go to me (save three bracelets: One for each granddaughter), but I always figured it would be many many years down the line and my daughter would more likely be the one getting engaged with her grandmother's ring. But when we did decide to make things official, and my mother not being there to be a part of it, I knew right away that I wanted to wear her ring, so that she would be a part of things, in some way.

    Of course, it didn't hurt, that it was MUCH more ring than we ever could have afforded on our own lol, but that really isn't only a small part of its value.

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  86. My original engagement ring was a hand made wire wrap ring set with faceted moonstone from etsy…I absolutely adored it, even though it never fit properly and couldn't be sized. Unfortunately, the house ate it one day whilst I was making meatloaf…I'm still convinced that it's behind the stove somewhere. My set that I have now (with wedding band waiting patiently in my jewelry box until October) was purchased on a deep discount site for about a fifth of it's $150 MSRP. It's sterling, glitters like crazy, and I get MAJOR compliments on it. It has the look that I wanted, and was SUPER easy on the budget.

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  87. I don't have an engagement ring. I don't see why I should since I did the proposing – last leap day! Now we've got a wedding to pay for, I'd much rather he didn't go out and spend money that could go towards the wedding, on a ring. It seems to bother certain other people more than it bothers me that I don't have a ring, and I just don't get why? Of course a ring would be nice – who wouldn't want a sparkly gift from our most special person? (I wouldn't turn it down if he turns up with one tomorrow) – we have a vague idea about doing it as an anniversary thing on the next leap day… but I'm just as happy without one.

    There are three girls on my degree who've got engaged in the past year. There is a lot of oo-hing and ahh-ing over rings, not least by the single/unengaged girls who then go on to websites and demand that this or that ring is the one they're going to have..it gets tiresome. I've joined in with wedding chatter when they wanted to share their news with me, but I've not felt envy about their rings. They may have had a lot of money spent on them, and they do – on the whole – suit the person wearing them, but none of them are my kinda thing. Some of the rings described in these comments sound beautiful. I'd hope that if M did get me a ring, he'd think about what I like and my style and choose me something I'd want to wear every day/long term…I figure if we're engaged/married, he oughta know me that much at least…

    It pleases me no end that my mister wears the pocket watch I proposed with every day :)

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  88. I told the hubs that he didn't have to get me a ring. But he did, and spent a lot of time and thought on the thing too. It wasn't the antique monstrosity of my secret dreams, but it was second-hand, sweet, and suited me.

    I love it so much (and am that nerdy) that I named it.

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  89. My engagement ring is a 100 year old antique. It is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen so if anyone doesn't like they can just eff right off. I picked a very simple, thin rose gold band for my wedding ring. I wear one or the other. This way I have a ring to wear when I'm at the gym or doing chores without worrying I'll damage or lose it. Also, I just like simple sometimes! I have been absolutely baffled at the rude comments I've received about my wedding ring. Though I do have to say, it's a good way to find out if someone is a shallow jerk that I don't want in my life :)

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  90. It's funny, ever since before my engagement I always knew that it'd be impossible for me to envy someone else's engagement ring. First of all I hate diamonds. I was aware of the blood diamond issue, and hated how it's marketed. But even without all that, I hate how it looks like first and foremost. I looked at them in store fronts numerous time and I couldn't like them. So I knew that didn't want any diamond and I knew if I ever heard someone say "oh, it's not a diamond" in front of me I'd be laughing really hard.

    I have a very specific taste, and I'm a very picky person. I really love pearl but at the time I couldn't find a pearl engagement ring that I like so I told my then boyfriend that I wanted a very petite-looking ring with a very small sapphire for my engagement ring. My boyfriend abode and got me the ring I asked him to get. I later regretted asking for that ring because it was so small, it's hardly noticeable. I think one of the main purpose of an engagement ring was to make people aware that the bearer is engaged. So I looked for another design. I found the perfect one, with crown-like design featuring an emerald central stone surrounded by pearls. My fiance bought me my 2nd engagement ring but it was the wrong size and it was 9k gold (I realized that it's not the best material after the ring was bought, I didn't do my research). I decided that I should just take matters into my own hand. I brought the engagement ring to a jeweler and I requested them to re-make the ring using the same design & stones but with 18k gold.

    So now I have the most perfect emerald and pearls engagement ring. It has the most beautiful pearl design I've ever seen. I don't think it's possible for me to envy someone else's engagement ring, especially if theirs have a diamond as the centerpiece. If anyone doesn't like my ring or think it's inferior to diamond rings, well they should mind their own business since it's MY engagement ring and not theirs anyway.

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  91. When my boyfriend and I went to the natural history museum, we went through the mineral exhibit, and he said that- when he does propose- I'll get the prettiest ring. Not necessarily the most expensive, because of all the minerals in the collection the diamonds seemed the most boring, but a ring that suits me and fits us. But I admit that, when I see my friends' rings, I feel a tinge jealous of their big shiny rocks. This is a great article to keep in mind.

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  92. Thank you SOOOOO much for this website and your comments. I recently got engaged and my boyfriend proposed with a .25 carat 14 karat white gold princess cut solitaire. I was very happy with the ring and thought it looked beautiful, but I have to admit, I began thinking about all the HUGE diamonds I see on TV or at work and got a little jealous. But now that I have read this, I agree, I would rather spend my money on other things. I will probably get an additional band with small diamonds for a little additional bling, but I am so happy that my fiance chose to get me this ring instead of one from K-Mart of the pawn shop. It truly shows his committment. He couldn't wait until he had more money. I am truly blessed to build a life with this man who worships the ground I walk on. Things could always be worse!

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  93. My engagement ring does not have a diamond. It cost less than $75 and it means the world to me.

    I have gotten plenty of snarky comments like, "Well, that's cute." And then I feel obliged to let them know exactly why I will not support the diamond industry, why I told my FH long ago to never spend an exorbitant amount of money on a piece of jewelry for me that will lose half its value the moment you leave the store with it, and what this "cheap" ring symbolizes for me and the amazing memories that came with it.

    I feel the WIC and this long-running De Beer's campaign are just working to keep women distracted from real issues and I won't be a part of that! :P

    All that being said, though, occasionally I will see someone with a "shinier" ring than me and get a tiny twinge of jealousy. We've all been conditioned in our society to compete with each other in every aspect, so I guess no one is entirely immune from the WIC, huh?

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  94. I saw the receipts for my engagement ring. My fiancé was a little peeved… Yeah. It was less than €100,and he got a discount on it as he knows the jeweller and even does their IT support.

    I know it's silver because (before it was taken down three sizes) it was clearly hallmarked and even said "Silver". Big deal. I friggin' love silver. I know the stone is cubic zirconia. And damn right I'm happy with it! Besides, me with a diamond? Asking for trouble! I dread to think about how many times this one fell off, snuck into a corner of a pocket, or was left on the edge of the basin at work. It's covered in scratches and dings since the week after our official engagement (Long story: I asked him about four days before our second anniversary as Bf/GF. He asked me if he could think about it. On our anniversary he actually dressed up nicely for dinner in a somewhat upmarket restaurant run by the owners of our local pub, and got down on one knee just before they brought out dessert. Which was good, because I physically couldn't eat for an hour after…).
    My fiancé kept saying that it's just a placeholder until I found one I like. I saw two antique rings that were maybes (one ruby, one sapphire), and a lot of modern ones similar to the "temp". None of which I wanted. Because HE didn't pick them.

    And you know what? It gets more compliments than some would say it deserves when certain people find out what it is. My friends who got engaged after all have very similar rings – plain silver/white gold band, single small stone. Hey, lil' old week-dirty-jeans-and-12-year-old-shirt is a trendsetter!

    Who cares how expensive a ring is? Who cares where it came from?
    What's important is the message behind it. He/She picked you, and they picked that ring for you. Or they let you pick that ring, like they let you pick them.

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  95. I always had this idea in my head that I would get engaged with a ring that had a huge diamond on it but the reality is, diamonds are expensive and the engagement/wedding ring game is not cheap. My fiancé proposed to me with a ring that belonged to his maternal grandmother. The fact that his mother thought so highly of me as to trust he and I with her mother's engagement and wedding ring and that he wanted to marry me at all just sent me over the moon. Unfortunately, the ring is much too small for my finger, but we're using the stone from it <3

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  96. My ring is a very simple princess-cut solitaire, perhaps 1/3 carat. It is EXACTLY what I wanted. I look at it every day and am overwhelmed at how beautiful it is, and how special it is. It makes me sad when people look at it and say, "Oh, well you can always upgrade!" No, thank you. It's not the size of the stone that is important (not to mention that any bigger on my tiny hands would be too big). It's the relationship.

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  97. I've only had engagement ring envy in theory– the fact is that my ring doesn't look much like an engagement ring (or at least, not the extremely simple princess cut CZ on a silver band that I'd always imagined). On the contrary, my ring is nothing that I ever would have imagined for myself– it is ornate and elegant, two things that I never expected to have mixed with my personality until my fiance was explaining why he chose it for me (for roughly $90 on Etsy which, I have to say, is probably the perfect price for an engagement ring).

    Sometimes, if anything, I get self-conscious about it. I get that feeling of "this is too nice of a ring for me." It is "too pretty," and that makes me feel so weird. I also feel a little uncomfortable sometimes because while it is cubic zirconia (which was VASTLY preferred as I am very uncomfortable with the diamond trade and have personally never been able to see the difference), it is often met with something along the lines of "that stone is huuuuuuge!" which makes me feel like… a liar? Maybe.

    So sometimes it makes me feel uncomfortable and I yearn for my simple dream of a basic band-with-a-stone-on-it. But then I think about how many days he spent researching my ring taste, making observations I never had, and searching for this ring that breaks all of my rules but is somehow still the most perfect choice for me.

    Most days the only envy that I get is that other people's rings aren't too gosh darn big! :P

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  98. I have the opposite problem. I really got lucky with my engagement ring, its a 1930s platinum band with a 2 carat diamond. I love it, but I feel weird when other brides try to compare theirs or ask how much mine was. I consider those questions to be rude. I even had one bride who held my ring up to her own, and it thought it made her look really insecure. I love my ring, but I truly believe that every bride's engagement ring is special.

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  99. My boyfriend and I had gotten engaged, and admittedly, the engagement envy was actually his! His best friend since junior high had gotten engaged & married, and while my boyfriend and I knew we wanted to get married, I think he felt this oncoming sense of dread and "oh god I'm getting old" (he's only 28 now, and this was a couple of years ago, but he's petrified of turning 30, so…)

    The ring I wanted and the ring we got were two separate things altogether, and the proposal he wanted to do compared to the proposal that actually happened were separate in his mind as well. We went based off of what everyone else told us to do, and in the end, that plus family and friend drama led us to call off the wedding and sell the ring.

    Now, after doing serious research into who we are as people & what we want out of a wedding, we have a new ring on layaway that is much more my personality, and we're planning a wedding that is much more our style, and I'm sure he's planning a proposal that actually makes him feel confidant.

    So it's not just the checks who get engagement envy, and I didn't so much have engagement ring envy as opposed to "none of this fits."

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  100. Totally get this post! I'm the last of all my friends to get engaged, and I was lucky enough to have it be a total surprise. My OH had mentioned it a few times but always said 'but I cant afford a ring, so I cant ask you yet', which made me really sad – not because I wouldn't get a ring but because he thought I wouldn't say yes without one!

    Long story short (and a long secret conversation between OH and my Mum one NYE after watching a drunken proposal), and OH decided to propose. When he told his Mum, she offered a ring that was his Great-Aunt Lily's, which I'm pleased to say is now my engagement ring! Its beautiful, a flower shape with 7 diamonds and 4 rubies. Its also NOTHING like ANYTHING I would have ever chosen, but is a million times more special because of the history behind it. OH has even asked me if I want to have it re-designed, but I cant see why anyone would dream of destroying such a family heirloom.

    Turns out my Mum also offered her engagement ring (my Dad passed away several years ago), and just the thought of this made me cry! I've learned that although the little girl in my always had an 'idea' of what life would be like, the meaning, history, and sentiment behind my ring is what makes it special.

    I've had mixed comments, from 'WOW that's such a lovely story' to 'that doesn't look like an engagement ring'. But do you know what, its special to me (and my OH), and for all I care could be made out of string! (But I do appreciate how lucky I am!)

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