(Closed) Ring and Culture

posted 8 years ago in Rings
Post # 17
484 posts
Helper bee

I know where everyone’s coming from here! I’m Dutch and my fiance is Canadian. He bought we a wonderful ring, 3-stone with 0.5c total and it suits my finger really well. However, in canada my ring seen as pretty small while my family doesn’t even comment on it other than murmurs of ‘that’s so American’. This is a really annoying trend that has carried on in the engagement and the upcoming wedding as well where I’m treated as a Canadian bride by my in-laws (i.e. lots of family involvement, willing to make a wedding a big thing, parties to celebrate engagement, bridal showers etc) while my Dutch family has been tutting about the size of our wedding party (2 bridesmaids and a best man), the ostentatiousness of Canadian weddings and the excessive involvement of my mother-in-law. Basically, it’s not Dutch enough. And don’t get me started on their reaction to the possibility of a rehearsal dinner… My inlaws don’t understand how the Dutch side can be so uninvolved and feels my family is cold-hearted which is not particularly encouraging family relations (the air is getting more and more chilly between Fiance and my mom). My Dutch family demands secrecy (i.e. the dress which I’m not allowed to show to anyone other than my mother, flowers, menu etc) while my Canadian family wants to know everything. At this point, I can’t win, neither side will ever be completely happy. So I’ve been given the advice that Fiance and I  just do our own thing, but that means an engagement period and wedding planning basically on my own. Which sucks too.

Ugh, wish I’d never gotten engaged. Too late to elope?

Sorry, just had to vent.

Post # 18
1812 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

I am from VERY rural Wales, and if I had a massive rock there I would laughed straight out of my local, as well as being made to feel guilty on such a frivilous thing.  In Greece, the ladies here are quite competitive and I’ve had a few women react smugly to my ring that it’s very “dainty” and it’s a shame Darling Husband couldn’t get me a diamond (DH wanted to get me a diamond but I wanted a coloured stone.)  DH’s Mum was horrified with the ring. I brush those remarks off.  Whereas in Wales, my friends compared my ring to a greek island in size! lol


Post # 19
148 posts
Blushing bee

I wish the culture was the same in the U.S., honestly. It’s getting more insane by the year, w/the celebrity obsession. The reason I think it’s especially ridiculous is b/c I’ve known of couples w/a $100k+ income that got a very dainty e-ring & couples who make half that & spent $6k on the ring. I never assume a woman must be wealthy (or even more absurd, more loved) just b/c she has a huge rock, so if that’s what she’s going for… she’s not fooling everyone.

It’s all about the attitude, though. I’d rather talk to a gracious 2 carat gal than a defensive “ANYONE WHO SPENDS MORE THAN $100 ON THEIR ENGAGEMENT RING IS AN OVER-INDULGENT SNOOT” chick. What’s important is the love & the meaning behind the ring. If he can afford a fancy one w/out going into debt, great, but don’t make it a requirement, you know? And definitely don’t judge ladies who have different financial priorities! 🙂

Post # 20
5158 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2010

There was a very interesting thread on this issue on PriceScope recently.

I think the norm varies even within the same country, province/state, and city/town. I think the internet sites like this or Pricescope can be misleading as the average in the US is still sething like 0.5ct, and I imagine Canada is similar. 

My mother and maternal family are English & Welsh. They moved to Canada in the late 60s and I was born here as the first Canadian-born member of that family in the late 70s. Coloured stones, especially blue sapphires, were the norm in my family and not a lot of jewelery was worn. Though my mother by now wears a lot of jewelery as my stepfather loves buying her rings and pendants and earrings, from diamonds to coloured stones.

My original rings were sapphire. They stood out just as coloured stones are not as common here for wedding rings though not unheard of either! I now have an 8mm moissanite. Though I love to tell people it is moissanite it does stand out for its size where I live right now. My current city is in the middle of an agricultural area and has heavy religiously conservative influences. Many here marry very young in comparison to other places I have lived or been (I stand out a bit for being more on the left, marrying at 30, and being childfree, but I am not from here!) with smaller stones. The average seems to be closer to a .25-.33ct. I rarely see big stones here, even with high incomes and upgrading is not too common at all (I am a weirdo for changing mine, even if due mostly to allergies and comfort issues!) Even my setting is very unusual here though. This is still seemingly the land of the princess cut white gold solitaire, though I am seeing more halos, micropave in the stores.

But…in my hometown my ring would not be as unusual. The stone size would still be above average but not as alone up there. Even though it is a more humble city, and you will not see huge displays of wealth generally, it is a much larger city with segments with wealth and also more of a laidback attitude to what others choose. People marry later and there is a less traditional attitude overall so women may also be more likely to pay part of the ring. My setting’s artsiness would probably be more appreciated. But it is still hard to generalize when you go from very poor to quite wealthy in the same city limits!

If I drive two hours North to Calgary, my stone size amongst my peers would be pretty average and not attract a lot of attention. It is just a much larger city, with lots of white collar work, oil & gas wealth and a larger focus on displaying of “wealth” in cars, houses, toys and baubles, even if it is financed! Again though, you still have those in lower income brackets. 

But I hang out in the Las Vegas airport, my stone seems to shrink! I’d love to see it during a PriceScope get together!

Post # 21
192 posts
Blushing bee

@WoodenShoes:  I’d say about 80% get rings? I would say 20% None of my Dutch friends had an engagement ring. I know in the 70-ies couples used their future wedding bands as engagement rings but the whole engagement thing is far out of fashion in the Netherlands.

Post # 22
72 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I totally get the UK/US comparison. My Fiance is English, I’m American and originally from Chicago, and reactions to my e-ring have been all over the place (mine is 3tcw). Most of FI’s friends have been very positive about it, though I have received the “Whoa that’s huge!” comments from about everyone. I think maybe with our generation and where we all live (London) it’s become more natural to desire larger diamonds, though none of his friends have over 1ct. My American friends also think it’s huge, but I do think that in Chicago my ring is fairly standard size. Also agreed about diamonds being more expensive here – we actually got mine in Chicago and saved so much money!

FI’s family, on the other hand, has been a bit odd to us. He has three sisters, and only one could say something nice about it (“Oh, very pretty!”), while one of the other ones just gawked and asked about carat size and the other completely ignored it altogether. To be fair, I have never went and shoved my ring at anyone – only if they ask – as I don’t want to put anyone out or seem showy. I think the most awkward response I’ve had came from FI’s mother (who is very protective and tries to be very involved with her ‘little boy’). She asks to see it, scoffs, and can only come up with “Hmph! I guess rings in America are much different!”  So….awk… I just nodded and changed the subject.

I really think that whatever size a ring is, we should be careful not to openly judge. Personally, I find all ‘sparklies’ beautiful and and am happy for everyone that gets engaged. My Fiance got me a ring that he knew he could afford and would make me happy, and that’s what should really matter. I think regardless of culture, one shouldn’t ask to see a ring if they can’t say anything civil about it.

Post # 23
192 posts
Blushing bee

@KatNYC2011:  It seems that diamonds are much more expensive in the UK than they are in the US. Diamonds in the UK and the rest of Europa have beter quality most of the times. In the US I’ve seen big diamonds with enormous inclusions or even clouded diamonds.  

Post # 24
304 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Interesting thread

OP: My father is from Yorkshire and moved to Australia where he met my mum. He always told me that anything over 1ct was over the top and ostentatious.

My Fiance bought me a 1ct, (1.2ct total weight) and my dad loves it. HOWEVER, he is pretty put off that I want diamonds on my wedding band. To him, a wedding band should be plain so you never need to take it off.

Cultural differences I guess, although it could be a generational thing too Smile

Post # 25
292 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@legallyblonde:  maybe that’s just around where I live (het Gooi, your Dutch friends can tell you where it is.) I know personally 5 women who have been married pretty recently. 3 were proposed to with a ring, one got an engagement ring after the proposal, and one got a bracelet. My Future Mother-In-Law also has an engagement ring. All of these rings are very modest in comparison to the average engagement ring in America. I’m obviously not a statistician, but I was just trying to make the point that women here don’t really expect rings, let alone have a minimum carat requirement. I would say that the higher proportion of engagement ring giving is directly a product of American global influence.

Post # 26
484 posts
Helper bee

@WoodenShoes:  Having grown up in Blaricum I would say that the area isn’t typical of the rest of the Netherlands… I’m with you though, I think engagements are starting to be a much bigger deal in the Netherlands even though the older generations are slow to catch up. I’ve had interesting conversations with my parents and had to resort to ‘well, times change, weddings are now different, get with the program’ (in a slightly more friendly way than that but their ‘Dutch-sober’ attitude to weddings drives me up the wall every now and then.

Post # 28
903 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I think this is really interesting! I live in the NYC area, and walking around this city I feel like my ring is average to small size (1.5 ct emerald cut). But I’m pretty young (24) and the first of my friends to get married, so when I’m around them they’re all like, “Wow, that’s huge!” I also was in grad school when I got engaged and most of my classmates were from other countries like the Netherlands and Russia. Some of them were mystified by my engagement ring, like, “Wait, so you get a second ring when you get married??” It was pretty funnny.

Post # 29
513 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Oh great thread OP…  I am myself from Yorkshire and still have family that live there amongst other locations in England/Scotland but I myself now live in the USA.  My Fiance is american and when I told him I did NOT want a diamond he was disappointed!! He said that others would think that he was buying me a Cheap ring!!! I actually laughed at him and said that the cost of the ring was not important… I think he rushed out at that point to buy the ring as he had never met anyone with that attitude before!!!  LOL 

However, he decided on having a custom ring that he himself designed and he decided to use a 3ct Natural Emerald as the center stone flanked by sapphires.. as it is a marquise cut it looks HUGE!!! (to me anyways) and has taken me quite some time to get use to seeing it on my finger… as yes being from Yorkshire we would see this as being very flamboyant!!  My mother thinks it is ‘gordy’ beacuse she says it is too BIG!!! LOL

I was asked by a co-worker if it was a ‘cocktail’ ring when she saw it!!! and then after I said it was my Engagement ring she followed it up with “well perhaps he can upgrade when he can afford a diamond”!!!!  The really funny part is that because it is a natural Emerald of high quality it is and was more expensive than a Diamond!!!!  I guess some people should learn about stones and their values!!!  LOL   but the truth is I DON’T Care because ‘my’ culture or family brought me up to beleive that it is not the size or stone or metal that the ring is about but the symbolic meaning of it… The size of the stone or the price tag of the ring does NOT to me equate the love of the giver… only his actions towards me will ultimatly tell me that. 

Post # 30
1359 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

In the US, culture regarding wealth and material goods changes a LOT from place to place.

Where I grew up in North Carolina, all of my friends and their families were very much not into displaying wealth. We all had varying degrees of money, but no one had big flashy jewelry or huge TVs or SUV’s or anything. It would have been considered very crass. Our culture there valued environmentalism, equality, social activism, the arts, etc. Our clothes refelcted this as well – I dressed much more creatively, people valued good thrift store finds, etc. This is the culture I feel most comfortable in. And engagement rings that are artistic, hand-made, or had colored stones, etc would have been valued and accepted.

Next I lived in Kansas City. I wouldn’t call that culture particularly materialistic, but I feel like there, people valued being normal, fitting in, and had a somewhat less… intellectual feel? I feel like everyone there expected you to have a good, solid car (not necessarily expensive tho), a nice house in the suburbs, a standard job, etc. And everyone wore very “safe” clothes. Again, there, to have an engagement ring that was colored or different would be considered off, but the size of it wouldn’t be judged much in most circles as long as it was a diamond.

Now I live in Atlanta, GA, and it is a very materialistic culture. People are very concerned with who is “from money,” what brands you are wearing/where you shop, what car you drive, etc. There is a lot of class awareness. The people I interact with all have big, flashy diamond rings, usually multiple, not to mention their other jewelry. They get their hair done, go to spas regularly, etc. It is odd to not have a mani/pedi. People definitely notice and question that my engagement ring is non-diamond, and I have gotten very rude remarks about the nontraditional, frugal wedding/honeymoon I am planning so I never bring it up.  I really don’t like the culture here and feel very uncomfortable, which is a shame because the city does have some cool things to offer. I will probably be moving soon due to this.

Sorry to write so much but I find the subject really interesting. One of my favorite things about moving to new places is getting a feel for their own culture. Of course, I am talking in generals here, each place obviously has a range of people but there is still a vibe you can pick up on.

Post # 31
1331 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

I’ve recently started hanging out with a bunch of German girls in my neighborhood. They’re all married, and moved to America in the last year or two with their husbands. 

I haven’t seen any of them wearing a ring *at all.* Well, one of them has a silver band she wears. The others, if they have rings (engagement or wedding), don’t ever wear them. Next to them, I feel flashy with my .36ct diamond.

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