The engagement ring trap
I have to agree that an engagement ring is a pretty thing. But why so expensive?
Ok, so maybe the diamond engagement ring is an anglo-saxon tradition. It certainly is not a Latin tradition. Here is what they do in Brazil: there is no formal proposal. Couples who are dating decide to get married together. The woman does not wait passively for the man to make that decision. It sounds so much more 21st. century to me!
After that, the man buys 2 wedding bands, usually gold. He then presents it to his fiance. Some couples have a small family gathering to celebrate the engagement. They both wear the band on their RIGHT hand. That way both seemed engaged, not only the woman. Here in the US the woman seems taken while engaged while the man still seems free as a bird…
At the wedding the bands are brought by the ring bearer and the couple will wear it on the left hand. Simple. Not expensive.
So when I moved to the U.S. I became aware that men are supposed to spend thousands of dollars in a diamond ring. I also found out that women want a big diamond. The appropriate stone size moved from less than 1 carat or now 2 carats. Let’s call it the carat inflation.
What caused women to “demand” bigger rocks? Hip hop artists? JLo? Bigger cars (SUVs) McMansions and body sizes?
Struggling young men have to hustle to buy the “perfect” ring. It cannot be a low grade stone, it has to the the purest diamond! I feel sorry for these young men in their 20’s trying to impress their GF’s and everyone else around them. They would do better in putting that money towards a home.
Then there are the older guys who just want to impress their friends. He is not doing this for his fiance, but so she can show off her left hand in public and everyone will be impressed by his generosity-and his success!
Anyhow, unless you have money to flush down the toilet, I think it is unwise to spend so much money in a ring. The diamond industry wants you to think diamonds are rarer than they really are. So how about alternatives? How about freeing yourself from the diamond industry power and thinking of alternative stones you can use?
And lastly, what about man made diamonds? There are some really good quality lab made diamonds (with properties very close to the mined ones) out there now. I am proud to say a sport a 2.5 carat moissanite engagement ring (yes, I live here now so I got into the tradition). It is beautiful and sparkly, and I always tell people it is a moissanite instead of a diamond, to their surprise. Can you believe 2 jewelers were not able to tell the difference between my moissanite and a diamond? I had to laugh.
There are even less expensive man made diamonds (moissanites are on the expensive side). I know many websites that carry beautiful moissanite and top quality cubic zirconia rings: www.schubach.com, www.bornfromastar.com, www.joalan.com, www.russianbrilliants.com, www.diamondnexuslabs.com, www.czinventory.com, www.orleansjewels.com, and many others.
So think about that before demanding a big rock from your future husband, unless he is the king of Bahrein.
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