(Closed) Why must it be a diamond ring?

posted 12 years ago in Rings
Post # 32
144 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

It’s incredible how effective advertising can be.

The history of the diamond engagement ring actually goes back less than 100 years. Back then, de Beers (the company which owns all the diamond mines) was trying to figure out a way to increase the value of diamonds as they were falling in popularity and price. A vast advertising campaign including product placement in all the popular films basically popularised the idea of an engagement ring and invented the notion that diamonds are integral to romantic relationships.

Very interesting article about it here: http://www.gemnation.com/base?processor=getPage&pageName=forever_diamonds_1

So unless you believe the advertising, there’s no reason why you can’t get an engagement ring with another stone.

Post # 33
1354 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I have a sapphire engagement ring. To tell you the truth, I do get odd looks and every once in a while the “that’s so (pause) interesting.” I understand your point of view, so here are my suggestions:

– Have a prepared line that you feel comfortable repeating to people. I wasn’t comfortable launching into my tirade about the diamond industry and false demand and consumerism, etc., so I just say, “I really wanted something different, so I asked for a sapphire.” It’s both true and uncontroversial. I’m not very good at concise political statements, so sticking to my personal preferences works best.

– If you go with something similar looking to a diamond, I would just try to walk the line between blurting out “it’s not a diamond” and passing it off as a diamond. Be open if there is a reason to be, but it doesn’t need to be inserted into every conversation. It will feel forced, and getting into that situation could make you far more defensive over time than you will ever need to be. Tell your female VIPs what it is, and then only bring it up when there is a reason to.

– I would avoid going ostentatious or super-traditional with a non-diamond engagement ring. For example, if you get a moissanite, don’t go 4 carat size. But also avoid the 1 carat solitaire unless that is really your style or you have a colored stone. Going with a non-traditional stone will make a lot more sense to people if 1) it doesn’t look like costume jewelry and 2) it is really interesting and tailored to you.

– Never apologize for the ring, even a little.

– Don’t be too hard on people who react slightly off. Some people have a really hard time computing anything that deviates from the norm. It’s just a type, and we need those people in the universe just like we need the dreamers and the trend setters. I’ve dealt with plenty of them by now, and just rolling with it works in the long run.

Post # 34
1373 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I don’t have a diamond ring, and I love having something nontraditional.  There’s no one reason why or why not and I actually really enjoy the double-takes I get from people when they realize that it’s my engagement ring.  I didn’t even really want a ring in the first place, though, so this is maybe a step closer to being traditional…

I have another friend who has a sapphire center stone which is gorgeous.  Just stunning color.   People either know what it is or don’t.  Or they ask.  I think that as long as you’re very happy with what you have, it doesn’t matter what other people think and in fact often reveals to them their biases and expectations.  (because, yes, as pretty and sparkly as they are, diamonds are really only traditional because of advertising.)  FYI, both me and said friend are in Northern California… I think this is probably fertile ground for nontraditional rings.

Post # 35
313 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

My ring has colored and colorless sapphires in it. It was custom designed (an surprisingly not very expensive) and the stones came from within the U.S. so I felt good about that. People (including relative strangers) tend “oh” and “ah” over it and ask about it because they think it’s an antique.

Engagement rings weren’t always diamonds (and still aren’t) but the prevalence was started by plain old marketing campaigns.

Post # 36
124 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Mine’s a claddagh ring with an emerald.  I love it, and couldn’t imagine anything else for me. I didn’t want a diamond (for the same reasons many people have cited above), but it all boils down to a personal choice.  No one’s ever made any negative comments about mine not being a diamond (at least not to my face Smile)  and if anyone ever did, I’d simply tell them it’s my ring and I love it.  

A bit off topic, but “Diamonds, Gold, and War” by Martin Meredith is a great (but long) book about South Africa and the early years of De Beers.  It is really interesting how marketing and industry monopolies can set trends.  

Anyway, sorry for the rambling, but my main point is that you should get what you want, and if other people think it’s odd, that’s their problem  ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 37
7038 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

My ring is a raw, uncut diamond because it was an amazing, architectural, modern ring that I fell in love with. Not your usual engagement ring. I just wanted something “different” – it is still technically a diamond (which didn’t matter to me), but it looks like something completely different!

Post # 38
25 posts
  • Wedding: July 2010

my e-ring has no stone at all. It is a simple silver band that may Fiance made himself out of sheets of silver (yay for random college jewelry classes!). I have gotten odd remarks, especially from my family. But when it comes down to it, this is what  he could afford, he made it himself which makes is 100% unique and meaningful, and I love the symbolism of it. Yes, some people think I am married but I just tell them when the wedding is. Go with what you want, dont worry about what evryone thinks of it. My e-ring is a band and my wedding band will be a solitaire (we are using a rough diamond…cheaper and a unique) that he is also making. Backwards than most people but I love it!

Post # 39
57 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

My ring has a green sapphire in it because it was really important to me to have a non-diamond engagement ring. Partly because I am practical first and I could not find anyway to justify my fiance spending loads of money on a ring when we are hoping to buy our first house soon. Practical matters aside, I also have never particularly liked diamonds and I always imagined having a unique engagement ring with a colored stone. That said, I don’t pass any judgment on those who do have diamond e-rings; diamonds just aren’t my style and I wanted a ring that suited my personality.  

Post # 40
1106 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010 - Tannery Pond at the Darrow School

You could always go for a vintage or estate ring, that way you still get a diamond but it’s not directly contributing to unethical mining practices, it’s just recycling! ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s actually what I wanted to do but SO was against it…Truthfully, sometimes I do feel a bit guilty that my ring is not from Canada or other ethically mined place…I totally agree with the fact that a diamond is so not in any way necessary, the ring is just a symbol of commitment! 

And I always say this whenever I see it but Octo, your ring is so beautiful!!

Post # 41
37 posts
  • Wedding: June 2010

though i ended up with a diamond i dreamt about a sapphire forever lol but i do love my ring and wouldnt trade it. He did look for one htough but he said they werent awesome enough for me

Post # 42
2297 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

We didn’t have engagement rings at all, and had plain gold bands for our wedding rings.  The marriage is still legal.  ๐Ÿ˜‰

Post # 43
509 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

My sister had a sapphire, it was beautiful!!!  Plus with other stones you can get more interesting ring choices I think.

Post # 44
288 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

i asked for a white sapphire for a few reasons. at first i thought i was going to get my grandmother’s antique tiffany diamond and this ring would be a stand in until my fiance could get that ring from my parents. then i realized i could never wear something so precious, so i nixed the idea, but i still wanted something clear (to match all my clothes and because i couldn’t pick a colored stone i loved them all so much). the other reason was because i couldn’t justify spending the money on a diamond ring. i have larger hands and i wanted something that was 1 ct, because of them. i found the white sapphire and fell in love. someone on here who also has a white sapphire once said that they love their sapphire because it looks like ice. that’s exactly what i think it looks like too, it’s so gorgeous.

for my wedding band i went with brilliant earth, not because i particularly wanted diamonds, but because i wanted their setting and i just didn’t want to deal with trying to find someone else to make something similar for me in the metal my wedding band is in (palladium white gold). i have to admit that the diamonds in my wedding band do sparkle a bit more than my engagement ring and i can see why people like diamonds so much.

Post # 45
1 posts

This is an interesting discussion and it’s understandable that people have fairly strong views – a woman’s engagement ring is unique to her and tells a personal story of ups and downs, joy and disappointment.  Attaching significance to material objects (in this case, jewellery) is an unfortunate but enjoyable aspect of being a human. Throughout history, we have always appreciated beauty and skill. Of course, ideas of beauty vary from culture to culture and from person to person.

I do not agree that natural diamonds have inherently bad connotations – not in today’s society, at least.  Buying a new diamond today is far safer than it was 8 or more years ago… The civil war in Sierra Leone (1996 – 1999) exposed the ‘blood diamond’ industry to the world. Many innocent people, including children, were forced to work in a diamond industry which propped up the violent regime of Dictator Charles Taylor.  Similar illegal activities were occurring in other African nations, such as the Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe, where corrupt leaders sought to fund their oppressive political and military campaigns via the sale of diamonds. The international community was rightly appalled.

However, the story does not end there. The UN took action and sought to regulate the international diamond trade. The Kimberly Process (KP) was set up in 2003 and has been protecting the rights of miners and workers for 8 years.  KP is similar to other ‘Fair Trade’ schemes in that it seeks to regulate the industry and offer a fair deal to workers – however, KP is different in that it is legally binding under international law.  Today in the UK and in all other UN Member countries, it is only possible to buy KP diamonds.  It is against the law to sell any diamond without a KP certificate. YOU MUST ASK TO SEE A CERTIFICATE.

KP diamonds come from KP member countries, which include:

South Africa
Russian Federation
European Commission

In my opinion, buying KP diamonds is a constructive and wholly good purchase. Particularly if buying from Botswana and Namibia, two of Africa’s most successful emerging democratic states. These countries depend on the diamond trade for economic stability. If we refused to buy diamonds because of the atrocities that happened in Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivore and Zimbabwe then smaller, peaceful African nations would suffer.  And economic problems can lead quickly to political unrest.  By boycotting African diamonds we would cut-off a legitimate source of income for those nations operating lawfully and fairly under the Kimberly Process. We would do more harm than good.

The African continent is blessed with rich natural resources which are coveted by the West (and the Far East). Oil, diamonds, gold, uranium… some of the most precious materials known to man. As a result, the weaker African nations are often victims of exploitation and political corruption. Its the reason why Europe scrambled to colonize Africa 1800s, savagely carving it into new countries and planting the seeds for years of turmoil and violence as nations struggled to claim independence.

It’s all very well to ‘tut tut’ about blood diamonds and choose to boycott the industry, but I think that choice is more damaging to Africa in the long term. The Kimberly Process offers a safe way to purchase diamonds from African nations that operate democratically and protect the rights of their workers. This activity ought to be supported and endorsed.

Diamonds are a natural resource created by volcanoes – many diamonds are millions of years old. They are part of the earth and a symbol of the earth. They are one of the strongest, hardest materials known to man. They can only use diamonds to cut diamonds. And when they are cut by master craftsmen, diamonds are undeniably beautiful.

A man-made diamond or a synthetic diamond will never have the ageless truth of a genuine, natural diamond.   Sure, perhaps you can get a bigger man-made stone and impress your friends. But when you own a real diamond, you feel a sense of responsibility to it and it makes you think about where it came from: the miners, the traders and the craftsmen who cut and polished it. There is a complex history behind natural diamonds which imbue them with romance. Support the KP diamond trade and support human rights and economic development!

Post # 46
313 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

@RitaBee: FYI, a man-made white diamond does not actually cost less than a mined diamond of the same size and quality. This is because man-made white diamonds are difficult to produce, and there are not many available right now.

Man-made colored diamonds do cost less than mined colored diamonds (which are extremely expensive), but they may cost more that white diamonds of similar size and quality, depending on the color.

When I think about my man-made blue diamond rings, I think about where they come from, all right: science and technology! For me, that is a huge plus.

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