We were in a similar situation to you – I’m the earning partner and my husband is a medical student. He had just started med school when we got engaged. In my job I spend a significant amount of time in palliative care wards. Never once have I heard a patient or their family express regret about what people thought of their jewellery and fashion choices. I’ve heard people express regret at not telling their partner/spouse they loved them enough, that they spent a lot of time getting bogged down about what other people think instead of enjoying life and their time with their loved ones and regret regarding unresolved family disputes. The regrets of the dying put life into perspective. Never in my entire life (& I didn’t always work in healthcare) has anyone really given a damn about any stone diamond or otherwise that I’ve worn. my advice is get what is within your budget and what is meaningful to you both. It’s absolutely no one else’s business what they think of the personal choices you have made.
None of my husbands colleagues give a flying one about my ring they usually ask about my work (I’m an allied healthcare professional and an academic) – our debates are usually re doctor/non doctor roles lol. Non-medical spouses of these colleagues usually want to whinge about the absence of their med student partners and the woes of being a doctor’s spouse. 😉
@Creiddylad: A diamond and a rabid weasel look nothing like each other. All white rocks look a lot like each other. They’re different enough to tell apart if you know a lot about them, and you may not be happy with how one looks over another, but it’s not to the level of looking nothing alike.
I just found something very interesting… I personally can’t tell the difference between diamond and moissanite, but that may be just because the diamonds I own are very sparkly and warmer. The only diamond I ever owned that was D color was my first engagement ring, and that ended up getting returned because it wasn’t for me. According to this video by 20/20, even jewelers can’t tell.
I’ll admit, I didn’t read through all of these but thought I’d throw an idea out there in hopes that no one else has. Some stores allow a trade up benefit so that what you put in for the cost of the ring now, can be upgraded in the future. This might be worth considering and I also agree that buying a large diamond alternative with the belief that you’ll go full diamond down the road….it’ll be tough going smaller in order to get something real.
With that being said. I hope I’m not being insensitive in assuming your gf has her 9 other fingers still left. You’ve got plenty of other fingers to adorn in the future.
Have you considered a white sapphire? This is a real gemstone, will be more affordable for you, and is very hard for normal people to tell apart from a diamond. My ring is a .5 carat white sapphire set in white gold and as much as I have shopped around for rings, I can only tell the slightest difference.
@coachhw: I have to disagree with this advice – diamonds and white sapphires really look nothing alike. White sapphires have much less fire, they have more of a white sparkle and bluish tint. Not bashing white sapphire, they’re beautiful, but they aren’t really diamondlike!
I have to disagree as well. White sapphire tends to have less firy sparkle and more of a white sparkle, if you know what I mean. Diamond has more of a rainbowy sparkle, while white sapphire has a sparkle like ice almost. I love white sapphire, but I can tell the difference easily.
I haven’t read the whole thread, but if my fiance was in med school living on student loans then I would be content with an extremely modest ring for the next few years and getting an upgrade down the road when your income allows. Finances comes first for me, so if my husband/then fiance drained his savings account for a ring I would kick him out so hard!
ETA: I just read more. You only have $8000 in your emergency fund?! Do NOT spend over $1000 on a ring! Give her a modest engagement ring and an extravagant “thanks for sticking by me through med school” 10-year anniversary band.
I think if we are going to deviate from the diamond, we’d lean towards the amora gem, and not a white sapphire. I feel like once you’ve left the diamond arena, might as well get the most sparkling, fiery, clear alternative, right? But I appreciate the advice – I looked into it!!
@meghN: I know you didn’t mean any offense by the “only $8k” comment, but to be honest, most of my classmates literally have $0 in the bank and live completely off loan dispersement. Financially, it makes no sense to borrow (what will essentially be) an additional $8k that will earn 7% interest for the next 20 years when I could have just used my “emergency funds” to pay for my education. This is me maybe getting on a completely unrelated soapbox here, but med school isn’t cheap. Everyone will probably be in debt at least 150k-200k just from medical school – not including undergrad loans. I have classmates that brought from 50-100k more loans from their undergraduate degree, which will be accruing interest for the next 7 years. After school we enter residency where we work for usually about 50k a year for 3-5 years (typical length, more if doing surgery or specialization). $50k after taxes is barely enough to cover our $2k/month student loan, let alone pay rent and put food on the table.
Sorry for the rant, but I’m actually pretty proud of that $8k. I was able to get through undergrad with scholarships and working to end up with no debt. I graduated a semester early so I could work full time to make as much money as possible before medical school started.
@podfoot: ” Sorry for the rant, but I’m actually pretty proud of that $8k. I was able to get through undergrad with scholarships and working to end up with no debt. I graduated a semester early so I could work full time to make as much money as possible before medical school started.”
It’s great you were able to squirrel away that amount while in school! Do you really want to spend the majority of it on a ring? What if your car dies, you become seriousy sck, you have a fire–you get th idea.
@Imhishesmine: I don’t think she was trying to be offensive by saying you only have 8k I think she meant anyone who had that much to live off of wouldn’t just blow it on a piece of jewelry. It’s really not financially smart although I understand you want to make your gf happy. My dh only spent 1500 on my beautiful ring because we don’t have a ton of money in the bank and I couldn’t be happier with it. Im sure your gf would be happy with a 2k or less ring.
@podfoot: I’m a PhD student and once at dinner, someone asked how we could afford such a beautiful ring. I told them about moissanite, and literally, the entire table of PhDs and PostDocs were abuzz about it for a good 20 minutes. Everyone loved learning about a beautiful lab created stone 🙂 So far 3 women in my department have now gotten moissies 😀 They were really excited to learn about a diamond alternative that is fairly low impact on the environment, created by scientists in a lab (hey! just like us!), and could serve the purpose of a diamond (beautiful, sparkly, white) for a reasonable price.
ETA: You can have a beautiful setting custom made for a fraction of a Verragio setting (I’ve heard some can be a bit uncomfortable). Here’s a link to my thread about custom desiging my moissy e-ring.
@podfoot: And you should be proud of saving that $8000 while in med school! I’m not being insulting. I’m very aware of how expensive med school is, I do work in the medical field (not a physician). What I am saying is that if $8000 is all you have for car breakdowns, medical emergencies (not covered by insurance), surprise expenses, etc., I would not be planning on spending much of that on an engagement ring. As was previously said, it’s just not financially smart to put such a large sum of your emergency fund into a ring.
@podfoot: You make an *excellent* point….and thus the strongest arguement for NOT spending your hard-earned safety net savings! You say your partner loves you and has said she doesn’t care about the ring…..believe her! Trust her! She wouldn’t want you to make the (in my mind) irresponsible decision to splurge most of your savings on a ring that she may very well ultimately want to upgrade anyways?! It’s fine to be brand conscious, but not to the point of financial irresponsibility, especially at the start of your life.
Plus, there is something heartwarming and sentimental about a ring that is a symbol of *where you started*, not where you’re going. By spending less now and getting a modest ring, (eg. if she likes Amora then a 1ct amora gem in a simple, classic “tiffany like” solitare will run you less than $1500), you haven’t spent so much and you won’t consider an “upgrade” down the road, you’d consider an “in addition to” ring in celebration of an anniversary or whatever.
You are obviously really spending time considering the best options for the both of you and that’s very commendable and sweet. But I really don’t think you need to get her the “forever dream” ring right now….right now is the time for the “right now dream ring”. Just like buying your first home, it will always be cherished because it represents how you will build your life.
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