Post # 1
I see a lot of rings on the bee that are gorgeous but (to me) unusually massive. I don’t mean that disparagingly, if someone loves a ring that size I feel only happiness for them 🙂
It just got me thinking on how different styles and expectations are in different places.
I’ve never had anyone ask me the size of my stone (it’s 1ct) but I’ve had a whole bunch of people comment “flipping heck that’s a big rock!”
In the UK rings seem to be smaller. I’m sure there are some people with bigger rings but I live in Yorkshire which could be described as “rural”, “common”, “working class” but also “picturesque” and “friendly”. My GP has a 1ct ring too, I told her it was beautiful and she mentioned that in front of most patients, ecspecially older ones she felt like playing it down. People here value humility and massive rings are seen as ostentaious or frivolous displays of wealth. Most people won’t be rude to or actually judge a persons large ring but they won’t be impressed by it either. Being too enamoured of money is seen as very American and people have the attitude that while there’s nothing awful about it (talking about money is very much a social faux pas and that includes talking about someone who has done just that XD ) just not “done” here. A bit like talking to someone on your commute about anything other than the weather.
My sister saw a ring she liked in a high street jeweler, it was a multistone twisty shape with three larger stones in the middle. Gorgeous and quite unusual. The total ct weight was 1ct. She tried it on but found it far too flashy so her fiance had it copied with a tcw of 1/3ct. I thought it was 1ct and the original was 3 to be fair because the style and cuts make it look bigger.
One of my friends ended up with the original as her Ering and everyone says how it suits her because she’s a very extroverted and blingy person.
Coloured gemstone Erings are common here, theres not the same expectation for diamonds, except perhaps in the wealthier South.
I know my experience won’t be the same as even other people in the UK! Everyone is different afterall. What is the culture where you are? Is your ring of the typical style?
Post # 3
@Anardana: i think the emphases should be on the engagement PERIOD. who cares how big the stone is? i don’t. every couple and every person has their own personal taste. why make it more complicated than that?
Post # 4
I’m in Australia. Here, I think it depends on whether you’re city or rural. I think it’s far more usual for city dwellers to adopt the big-is-better style. In rural areas, I think it’s more common to see smaller rings, although I think that may be a combination of lower wages, practicality with jobs, and a humble attitude.
I’m not engaged yet, so… no ring. My style is typically understated, so I’ll be going for somewhere in the middle ground.
Post # 5
@Sweetie Pie 21: Engagement ring traditions and cultures are a facet of social anthropology. Life is at the end of the day about living but we create traditions, rules, religions and laws to create meaning and the study of those things tells us a lot about ourselves as a species through time and space. I believe in never passing up an opportunity to ask questions and learn as much as a possibly can in the widest possible context outside my sphere of knowledge.
Post # 6
@grace_k: Thanks for your response! It makes sense that the large/small divide predominantly falls down the same line as richer/poorer and city/rural and those seem to be similar across nations. What i’m particularly interested in are the attitudes that have developed over the years to explain the difference for example Yorkshire is one of the poorer counties in the UK but with Leeds as a financial hub aiming for a similar class as Birmingham and London there is a lot of “new money” here. The part that I find fascinating is that even though those people HAVE plenty of money, sometimes even going back two or three generations, they tend to have the same attitude as the poorer people.
In summary its as though the idea “we can’t afford big rings” was turned into “visible displays of wealth are crass” and internalised to the point that the wealthy *also* hold this ideal. The ‘excuse’ if you will, has become the reason and a point of pride. Like lottery winners not changing their lifestyle at all out of a quaint stubborn pride.
Post # 7
When I visit DH’s family, they think my ring is huge. When I go to nearby DC, or visit friends in NYC or SF, they wonder why my ring is so small. It’s not necessarily about being flashy, it’s about what fits with where you live.
And… for us, I just wanted a ring that cost more than our TV. 😛
Post # 8
I heard from a girl in the UK (I’m American) that she was surprised by the expectations that American girls have. @grace_k: I agree that it is likely a factor of city/rural. The states are so so big so you can expect to find extrememly different cultures in different parts of the country. It’s just too big of a country to generalize about but if I were to do so, I’d agree that showing wealth is more common. Though I would be extremely self conscious if I had a ring that made people wonder if we could afford it!!
Post # 9
I recently moved from the US to the UK after getting married.
In the US I was living in NYC and working in finance. My ring was probably on the average to small size for my location and industry.
Here in the UK it is much larger than anything I usually see people wearing. The only place I’ve seen one larger was when I was out at a fancy hotel bar on a woman who looked like her entire body had undergone plastic surgery.
I have a 1.5c stone and I love it, but depending on the area & industry I’m in it can run any where from small to really large.
It seems that diamonds are much more expensive in the UK than they are in the US, probably because of VAT so that may have something to do with it as well.
Post # 10
@ellabee: XD your last note made me smile! Thankyou for your response. Having families with different ideas must be interesting! All my family are very “northern” my Fiance is from the midlands or as my grandmother calls it “still the south”! Lol. They somtimes mention how “posh” he speaks. He doesnt have family of his own, my family is huge and they have welcomed him as one of their own though they sometimes rib him about being “not a proper northern lad” and how he must be glad to marry a “northern lass so he can have proper yorkshire puddings”.
To thread: I didn’t mean to give the impression I thought big rings were flashy in a bad way 🙂 I don’t think theres much jewelry I don’t think is gorgeous, I love shinies of all kinds ^_^ I do apologise if anyone felt like I think theres anything wrong with their preference either way. All that matters is the opinion of the two people involved in the marriage of course.
I’m looking for knowledge on what peoples assumptions are in your area and if possible, why and where those came from. 🙂 If you know if the culture you live in affected your choice either way and want to tell me for my interests that’s fantastic and I appreciate you sharing! If you’d rather not say or if you just went with what you felt like and never thought about why you chose what you did I’m not going to judge you for not questioning everything in a social anthropological context just because I do! That would be daft of me lol <3
Post # 11
@nushka: Thankyou for your input! I appreciate it!
The UK generally seems to associate the US with money, While we have a love/hate relationship with wealth here. Lol. “the american dream” after all (as I understand it, sorry if I get it wrong) is that anyone can have the chance to work hard and become wealthy regardless of birth station or class.
Some journalists have claimed class doesn’t exist in the UK anymore but I think they mean it shouldn’t. I often get asked where I’m from because I have a neutral accent and once had a taxi driver in another county refuse to believe me because I wasn’t “common or scruffy”! Bonkers!
Post # 12
I live in the UK but I come from Slovakia. The idea of engagement rings is quite foreign there. If you get an engagement ring, I think according to tradition it can be any ring or any ring with a white/colourless stone in it and it doesn’t matter whether the stone is natural or not. It is very unusual to see big diamonds, mostly because we don’t have that tradition. And you never see married women wearing their engagement ring (if they have one) and their wedding band together, they would only wear the wedding band.
But then again, engagement traditions are quite different in Slovakia anyway. Traditionally, when a couple decides to get married, the man needs to ask the future bride’s parents for approval or their blessing if you like, and it all can be done in quite a ceremonial way with a party afterwards .
Post # 13
@KatNYC2011: Good points there. I had a quick look on an american jewelry store online, zales? I don’t know what the equivalent “class” of shop would be here but I looked in H.Samuel (a popular high street jeweler) and Ernest Jones (a higher end but still highstreet jeweler) and noticed the US prices were much more reasonable! VAT is at 20% again now and a big newspaper ran a story about how the “standard” UK spend for an ERing of £1500 had remained the same but with the recession and inflation and VAT increases the rings themselves were almost certainly a bit smaller now to reflect that.
Post # 14
I’m an American transplanted in the Netherlands, and here having an engagement ring at all is not really expected (I’d say about 80% get rings). People here generally hate to borrow money for anything, with the obvious exceptions like education and a home. They pay for cars in full and grocery stores generally don’t accept credit cards.
When ring talk came up for us, I started at my (American) regional standard expectations, minimum 1 ct. When I said this to some of our Dutch friends, they nearly spit their drinks out because they couldn’t imagine anyone spending so much money (or even borrowing that much money) to pay for a ring. Slowly my expectations became a bit more realistic, and I said I’d be happy with something around .2 ct. In the end, we were able to reset my grandmother’s diamond into a new ring for me. It is right around .5 ct and it set as a simple solitaire. I love it! my fingers are pretty narrow, so I feel like anything bigger would have looked pretty strange anyway.
The most interesting part for me is the reactions. Americans say that my ring is cute, and generally focus more on the excitement of the engagement (which I agree is the whole point anyway!). The Dutch people that see it say “OMG IT IS SO HUUUUGE!! Doesn’t it get stuck on everything?” or some variation of that.
Also worth noting, if I go into Amsterdam, I generally leave my ring at home or turn the stone so it is in my hand. I get a little nervous that such a “big” diamond might call attention to me as a good target for crime.
Post # 15
@Zanna301: Wow that’s really interesting! Thankyou for your perspective!
The part of the UK I live in has a lot of immigrants from all over so I consider myself lucky to have the chance to meet exciting new people! I teach primary school and a handful of kids from my old class were from Slovakia. Wonderful children. Their parents didn’t speak much English and I couldn’t pick up Slovak fast enough to get chance to speak all that much in the short time I knew them but it was delightful all the same.
A lot of people here are south asian and I have friends from many cultures and faiths of that origin. I LOVE hearing about their wedding traditions. Many of the older south asian women I know don’t wear rings at all, some use scarves or bangles to indicate their married status. Some of the younger women had “western” engagement rings.
Post # 16
@WoodenShoes: What a wonderful insight! 0.5ct sounds like a brilliant midpoint between your cultures I’m sure it’s stunning. It’s so strange that something can seem huge to some and teeny to others when really its our interpretations that vary!
I always feel diamonds aren’t as strongly associated with engagement in europe (despite the jewelry stores best efforts to change that). The crown jewels of european royalty (I dont know about outside of the EU) have lots of coloured gemstones and pearls.