I am about to tell you how much my ring cost and commit a major societal faux pax. My mother disapproves *gasps* so good thing she doesn’t know I’m telling the whole internet.
But first, some context.
Engagement rings are a BFD (big f****** deal). Mined-diamonds are a $80B industry with engagement rings carrying the team. Americans spend $6,351 on average on an engagement ring and California leads the pack with $10,241 on average.
Big engagement rings are kind of the female equivalent of big trucks.
It’s no secret that the origin of large diamond engagement rings is a marketing campaign. Surprise! A diamond company wanted to make more money, so they ingrained the idea that “a diamond is forever” into generations of Americans. So now, everyone and their moms will know how much your fiance loves you and judge accordingly. Learn more about this sneaky (and disgustingly pervasive) campaign here.
For these reasons, I’ve known for a while that I didn’t want a diamond. First, I thought about alternatives, like lab-created diamonds, moissanite and even cubic zirconia. The naked eye can’t tell the difference so what’s the point? Lab-created diamonds are slightly cheaper and come with the added bonus of no bloodshed. Moissanite is even cheaper and almost as hard as a diamond. Cubic zirconia is the most economical, at the cost of .4% of a mined diamond! If your friends can’t tell the difference, why put down $5,000 per carat?
I’ll tell you why. Because according to DeBeers, your fiancé doesn’t love you unless he spends at least TWO MONTHS of his paycheck on a rock that isn’t even that rare. And depreciates the second you buy it. Avocado toast isn’t the reason why millennials can’t afford homes, it’s DeBeers.
With this intense animosity towards diamonds, I realized that even if I rocked a giant $25 cubic zirconia on my finger, I’d still be perpetuating the ad.
I thought about forgoing an engagement ring altogether and just get a wedding band to prevent getting hit on at the bar. (I’m kidding, that doesn’t happen. Engagement rings really exist only to make single women jealous).
But even though I think of myself as a rebel against the mainstream, I’m still a little bit of a basic bitch. Shiny things [heart eyes emoji]
So, inspired by Princess Diana and Kate Middleton, I decided on a sapphire. Sapphire also happens to be FM’s birthstone so he was on board. He sent over some rings from online stores and I picked a few. The one he ended up proposing with was one of the ones I picked out. And being the incredibly nosy person that I am, I looked up the ring and found that the sapphire was mined from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the band was 18k white gold, and cost $5,600.
$5,600!! That’s almost the average amount Americans spend! Sapphire or not, I was not going to play into the statistics.
And actually to his credit (because he knows how strongly I feel about this subject), he didn’t spend $5,600 on it. He got it on sale. Mother’s Day special. $4,100.
So slightly better, but still. I wanted my ring to fall within my values. And that money to go towards rent. Especially since his money will soon be my (whoops, I mean our) money. So we returned it.
And like a good fellow crafter, I went on Etsy and found a ring that was similar from a jewelry designer in Thailand. Even with great reviews, making this large of a purchase sight unseen from a developing country seemed dubious. But I asked my jewelry designer friend who gave a few pointers: 1) Thailand is known for great quality work and 2) This guy has a good return policy. She also had me ask the jeweler questions that I would never know to ask. “Is the band nickel-free?”
So I ended up choosing a lab-created sapphire ring, also with white gold but only 14k, and also a micro pave (pronounced pah-vay and means a ring) of teeny diamonds around the gemstone and the band. The cost? $750.
Honestly, I think $750 is still too much to spend on something that serves no real purpose and can slip off my finger at any time. But it’s a good compromise between societal expectations and my inner conscious. Plus, I like looking at it. It’s so sparkly!
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Am I nuts? Tell me about your ring!