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Non-diamond engagement(39 posts)

Non-diamond engagementundertrained
Oct 22, 2003 10:20 AM
Planning on proposing to my girlfriend soon. Problem is that I hate diamonds (whole conflict-diamond/debeers monopoly/inflated price thing). My girlfriend probobly won't mind not getting a diamond. Should I still get a ring when I propose or give nothing? Any non-ring ideas?
No ring? Good luck with that, let us know how it goes (nm)TJeanloz
Oct 22, 2003 10:22 AM
Lotsa' luck with that one :O) Just kidding!Live Steam
Oct 22, 2003 10:47 AM
I don't understand the monopoly thing. I would have thought your concerns would be from the child labor that is used to mine them in certain areas of Africa and the M.E. Yes it's illegal, but it still occurs.

I think some token of your affection is required. A ring is the symbol of unity. You could get her a ring with some other precious/semi-precious stone. If you don't get a ring, I hope you didn't overestimate her understanding :O)

Personally I prefer the dowry system, but somewhere along the way it was changed. For the worse in my estimation. We should get something for taking them off their father's hands :O) (It's a joke so don't everyone go jumpin' on me !)
Should have mentioned this beforeLive Steam
Oct 22, 2003 11:23 AM
What ever you do, if you do decide on a diamond ring, don't take her with you to pick it out. No matter what she may say, once women see all of that glitter in the jeweler's case, something comes over them, and the jeweler just throws gas on the fire. I experienced this first hand. My wife didn't want an expensive diamond until the jeweler started in with "this diamond is OK, but this one is a better value" and "this one will appreciate more in coming years", yadda, yadda, yadda! The next thing I know, my wife is trying to sell me on what she thinks is the better "investment". It's not an investment. Don't let the jeweler sell you on that. And let's put it this way, you hope you never need that money for anything in the future.
investment issuesDuane Gran
Oct 22, 2003 1:26 PM
Good points. If the salesperson starts talking about the diamond as an investment, ask him why people sell off diamonds to pawn shops instead of jewelry stores. If they really are an investment you wouldn't get pennies on the dollar when you wanted to sell.
Did the same thingLO McDuff
Oct 22, 2003 10:48 AM
When I proposed I did not give her a ring. I was in grad school things were really really tight. I had a small amount saved and bought real estate instead. One of the smartest things I ever did. The property value has increased three orders of magnitude (I later bought her a ring using the equity).

If you don't like the DeBeers thing, why not a Russian diamond? There are also diamonds for sale from Colorado.
How bout a small diamond?ColnagoFE
Oct 22, 2003 11:02 AM
I got my wife a ring when I was making $7/hr selling suits part time in college. I did the whole layaway thing to have it paid for by the new year when I planned to propose. Think I got majorly ripped off but it came to around $1000. Pretty small, but all I could afford at the time. Fortunately my wife isn't into big jewelry and liked it just the same. I bought her another diamond band for our 10th anniversary. Personally I think spending big amounts of $ on a ring is crazy but some women really seem to get off on the "how big is your diamond" thing.
D'oooooohhhhhhhhLO McDuff
Oct 22, 2003 11:27 AM
Meant to say increased one order of magnitude. Accuracy counts.
Big gwady diamondsfiltersweep
Oct 22, 2003 10:54 AM
I obviously don't know what sort of relationship you have, but I'm guessing that "proposing" is generally far less romantic than one would ever think from watching movies. The people I know who have the proposals while in a horse and carriage while riding across a famous bridge are probably quite rare- and they seem to be more popular with the crowd that is into constantly working the word "fiancee" into each and every conversation, or even worse, referring to an "ex-fiancee"- etc...

Why not discuss marriage and what both your needs are surrounding it? Are you able to read her mind? Who cares if it isn't the most "romantic" way to do it?
Does she share your diamond aversion?128
Oct 22, 2003 11:09 AM
If not you could be in for some stormy seas.

There are jewelers who attempt to avoid the issues you mention. Ask around.

Get a ring. (Saphire in platinum maybe)
"I hate diamonds" <=== all about you. (nm)PseuZQ
Oct 22, 2003 11:15 AM
re: Non-diamond engagementafrican
Oct 22, 2003 11:17 AM
I have the anti diamond thing myself. Even though I am from the land of De Beers. Even spent some time in the Army at a place called Kimberly where there is a huge hole where some of the largest diamonds came from. "Star of Africa" anyone?

Here is the deal, I think you have to get something. So hows this, get a plastic $1.00 ring and give her that. Once the shock wears off and if she has said yes then give her the real deal, a nice small unique diamond.

Better yet, go on vacation to South Africa and buy a diamond there, in De Beers' back yard so to speak, must be cheaper there than in the US with exchange rates and so on.

Oh, and this is from me, still single.
re: Non-diamond engagementcmgauch
Oct 22, 2003 11:19 AM
Not knowing anything about your situation...

Get a diamond ring. Make sure you can return it for a refund. Let her make the call if she wants to return it for something else, AFTER you give it to her.

It sounds like you have some doubt when you write: "My girlfriend probobly won't mind not getting a diamond." As an old married man, my .02 is you'd be better off parting with a sizeable wad of dough now than running the risk of hearing about this for the rest of your life.

My wife is not one to focus on material possessions, but there are basic societal expectations that some people feel must be adhered to. It's hard for us guys to understand, maybe watching "The Quiet Man' w/John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara could help put it in perspective.
Say that's where I learned about a dowry :O)Live Steam
Oct 22, 2003 11:27 AM
One of my favorite movies! A true classic and a real hoot. Love that minister.
Say that's where I learned about a dowry :O)cmgauch
Oct 22, 2003 12:10 PM
I like when, on the "walk" back to Innisfree, an old woman gives John Wayne a stick, "to beat the lady with".

A true classic is right, but it does illustrate the differences between what men & women find important. Even the Duke knuckled under in the end.
Totally agreeAlex-in-Evanston
Oct 22, 2003 11:23 AM
I think the diamond racket is dirty and offensive. However, you put your girlfriend in a difficult position by not giving her a ring. Imagine her telling her Aunt Gertie that she's getting married, and Aunt Gertie reflexively asking to see the ring. She'll get sick of defending her cheapskate fiance real fast.

I went to a very nice jewelery designer and had her design something special. It's beautiful, personal, and actually more bling bling than I would have been able to afford if I went purely for diamond size. She gets compliments on it from even the old fashioned types.

Spending the life savings on an unlovely chip of dictator-supporting carbon was averted and we both love the results.

Yes, still get a ringKristin
Oct 22, 2003 11:24 AM
After learning about the diamond issue here and then doing a little bit more research on my own, I've decided I don't want a diamond myself, so I totally understand where you're coming from. Only you know your girlfriend, so you'll have to decide what ring is appropriate. Unless she loses things easily, I'd spend the same amount on a ring that doesn't have a diamond as you would have on one that does. You have a good reason for not buying a diamond and you're not trying to cheap out of it. She should be able to understand that, and will probably respect you for the decision. If she gets upset, play the "starving miners" card and get a little misty.

Get her something truly unique and rare. Is she into bikes?? Personally, I've dreamed of getting a ring that was personally designed and carved by a well known lug designer like Richard Moon. A gold ring that is hand carved and perhaps has some other precious stone in it. Just some ideas. Good luck and congrats!!

Heres another idea for you. I have a million proposal ideas. I should open up a marraige proposal consulting company. ;-) Anyway. If you buy a less expensive ring and want to blow some more money, contact Waterford Crystal (or find a local glass blower), and ask them to hand blow 3 fine crystal champaign flutes. Now I've never checked to see if this is possible, but ask them if they can actually get the ring onto the stem of a seamless, hand-blown flute. Serve her that flute and see how long it takes her to notice the ring. She'll have to drink the contents and break the flute to get it onto her finger. (Which is why you have 3 flutes made.) Then use the remaining two flutes in your wedding.
So you're a romantic too? :O) nmLive Steam
Oct 22, 2003 11:30 AM
Do the double diamond? Give her a bike! nmBrooks
Oct 22, 2003 1:20 PM
Man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.Cory
Oct 22, 2003 11:34 AM
I agree about the whole diamond thing--it's a huge case of exploitation, virtual slave labor in addition to the market manipulation, and I don't want any part of it. I lucked out and married a woman who feels the same way.
If this becomes an issue--if she HAS to have a diamond regardless of your objections--I can't urge too strongly that you rethink this whole deal. I'd be worried about a woman who put a bauble on her finger ahead of both your feelings and the reality of the diamond industry. A couple of my friends have fallen into similar traps with their 20-years-younger trophy wives ("serves 'em right," my wife says). It was an early harbinger of trouble....
How about a "sporting event" proposal?Lon Norder
Oct 22, 2003 11:53 AM
Take her to a football game and hire one of those planes to fly around a banner saying something like "Trixie, will you marry me?" She'll be so thrilled she won't care about the no diamond thing.
lol. sweet. nm128
Oct 22, 2003 12:04 PM
Football game...moneyman
Oct 22, 2003 1:12 PM
Univ of Wyoming vs. Kansas - at a break in the game, a voice comes over the loudspeaker and then live action on the jumbotron of a guy walking down the stairs in the stands and talking - "Suzie is my best friend. Now I want to be her wife." Was the guy nervous or what? He gave he a ring and she said yes. Funny stuff what people will do in front of thousands.

Can you imagine the opposite senario?Kristin
Oct 22, 2003 12:02 PM
Some poor guy scrapes together the 3 months salary and buys his girl a huge diamond ring. He proposes and she accepts with tears in her eyes. Then he pulls out the rock and she's horrified that you would exploit those starving children in Africa who are digging their fingers raw to harvest diamonds. She calls the whole thing off and marry's an environmentalist 2 years later.
That's more like it ! Dark comedy :O) nmLive Steam
Oct 22, 2003 12:04 PM
Try a pawn shopfunknuggets
Oct 22, 2003 12:13 PM
might get a steal of a deal there... get it... STEAL of a deal...

hahahah... ?

sheeshe, just an idea.
re: Non-diamond engagementloki_1
Oct 22, 2003 12:15 PM
I was fortunate to have a family heirloom ring that was passed to me to give to my wife. It is not a large diamond but it was worn by my grandmother for 49 years and holds much more meaning to my wife than a flashy ring. It is very intricately carved and gets many compliments. We recently had it rebuilt. The jewler was able to do amazing work on it, replacing parts that had worn down and recreating the intricate design. I was surprised by how reasonable the cost was for this.

My suggestion
Find a jewler who does custom work and get a ballpark figure for what you have in mind (or ask him/her what they can do in your price range). If you have a design in mind that you know your girlfriend will love, have it built and give it to her. If not, take her with you and let her be part of the design process. A custom built ring with or without a diamond will be much more meaningful to her (and possibly future generations) than a mass produced product.
What about a Neil Diamond engagement?mohair_chair
Oct 22, 2003 12:33 PM
Dude, the lady expects a ring. It doesn't matter what you want or what kind of rocks you like. Get her a diamond ring.

She needs a ring for many reasons, a lot of which are traditional, but she also needs a ring to flash around to her friends. If it ain't a diamond, every single person is going to ask her why not. Eventually, she's going to get sick of the embarrassment, sick of answering, then she's going to get sick of you.

It's cute for a spontaneous engagement if you use whatever is at hand, such as a pull tab from a Coke can, or a fender washer, or a carbon spacer. But you're still going to need a ring, with diamonds.

If you get upset about diamonds in rings, wait until you find out all the industrial uses of diamonds!!! You might consider dropping that whole conflict-diamond/debeers monopoly/inflated price thing. Whatever that is.
Here's what we did...Brooks
Oct 22, 2003 1:33 PM
After deciding to get married (actual knees on floor proposal came later), we went to an custom jeweler and looked at rings. My wife wasn't into the big diamond thing and it was way to expensive (easy when deBeers has the monopoly). She ended up with a big Sapphire, which is her favorite stone, with small diamonds in the band. More color, more interesting and unique, lots cheaper. Wedding band and 10th anniversary band blend into either side and have small diamonds and rubies (red, white and blue). My wedding band also has a Sapphire inset into the gold band. Both my wife and I still get comments about our rings.

Here's a great story from our jeweler. His shop is in Annapolis. A buddy of his had two engagement rings made, one with a diamond, the other with a cubic zirconia. He proposes on the docks and "accidently" drops the ring into the water. It was, of course, the cz ring. She doesn't know this and dives into the murky waters of the Chesapeake before he could stop her. Still got married but I imagine they had some "issues" to work out. He's probably still paying for that practical joke.
That was a TV commercial :O) nmLive Steam
Oct 22, 2003 1:46 PM
Thanks for the ideasundertrained
Oct 22, 2003 3:46 PM
We're going back to work in Switzerland next spring(outdoor education camp). Last year, after we worked for the spring, we hiked the alps from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn. We're thinking of maybe hiking in the same area or doing some bike touring in Switzerland and Austria. I'm planning on asking during our travels in the mountains. Thats why I've got to get my act together before May. I'm still in university at the moment so I don't have lots of money.

I'm thinking I might get a ring without a diamond or maybe with a different precious stone. Going to have to start checking out jewellers for ideas.

It would look bad if I gave her nothing after buying a $3000 bike for myself this year;)
Sweet location. 90% of your work is done.128
Oct 23, 2003 6:42 AM
Birthstones can be used for engagement rings too. But the stone really needs to be durable and well set. Hey bear in mind, the ring is just a token (of economics) and used to be simple gold or iron bands. I wanted my (1st)wedding band cut from the block of a discarded Schumacher engine block! Didn't happen. :( Her engagement ring was from a small jeweler who cariied only hancrafted rings so the history and artist of the ring were well known. I would recomend that over department stores.

Imo, small and medium (ideal cut) stones with character and quality far surpass larger less perfect gems and will be understated and beautiful, not gaudy and imperfect. Medium/Light blue Saphire is a knockout (saphires come in many colors btw)

Go shopping together and see what she likes- important she likes it, whatever it is. It's ok to do this (many disagree. But why chance it?). Get sized, inscribed and delivered to you before the trip and just see how much attention you get in anticipation of the L'Alpe d'Engagement.

Insure it.

Bon Voyage!
Another idea - select your own in Switzerland or AustriaKristin
Oct 23, 2003 12:04 PM
They don't produce many gemstones, but they mine some. Check into visiting a mine while your out there and selecting your own rough stone. Propose, and then suggest you pick out a stone this way. See if she likes the idea. If so, then you can purchase the rough stone and pay a custom jewler to desing the ring. I think it would be cool to have a stone that was selected by hand overseas. Something you can pass on to your grandkids.
O.K., I've gotta ask--what's she giving you?The Walrus
Oct 22, 2003 4:29 PM
A Rolex? A new 'nago? A year's worth of your favorite beer? I don't see any reason why a man should feel compelled to spend that kind of money, nor why a woman should feel entitled to it, as a "condition" of engagement. The idea of marriage is to form a (hopefully equal) union between two people, in which both parties bring something more important than crystalized carbon to the table. This whole engagement ring/anniversary ring/diamond this, diamond that/deBeers shuck smacks of bribery or extortion or something equally unsavory.

...and no, my wife and I didn't do the diamond thing--we exchanged plain gold bands.
Ask her, not us.Continental
Oct 22, 2003 5:06 PM
My wife quit wearing her diamond engagement ring a few years ago because of the sleazy diamond business. I bought her a mother's ring with a ruby, a saphire, and an emerald (a stone for each kid) that she wears now. I don't think that the world is any better off because I'm sure that those stones come from sleazy business, too. And the diamond stays in the jewel box.

My advice--ask her, not us. If you two can't work this out, forget it.
re: Non-diamond engagementStarliner
Oct 22, 2003 9:29 PM
i Problem is that I hate diamonds (whole conflict-diamond/debeers monopoly/inflated price thing). My girlfriend probobly won't mind not getting a diamond. Should I still get a ring when I propose or give nothing?

How important is tradition to you two? It sounds as if she is pretty much someone not bound to tradition from what you say. Nowadays with women and men on equal footing as you enter the workplace, traditions like this, in which a man is expected to fork up some serious cash for a trinket just so he can prove his love to his mate, are more and more appearing rather quaint and, well, sexist. So, there's lots of reasons now not to do the ring thing, and if you're not into carrying on with tradition, don't feel terrible. Just be sure about your decision, one way or the other. The last thing you want to do is to look back with regret at what you did (or didn't) do.

i Any non-ring ideas?

A golden key - to your heart. And mean it when you give it.

A fine piece of art. That you both would cherish.
diamonds are meaningless - nmMJ
Oct 23, 2003 12:24 AM
She's going to want a ring.Turtleherder
Oct 23, 2003 11:05 AM
Have you thought of giving her a ring but with something other than a diamond? I personally hate the DeBeers monopoly and won't buy diamonds because of their business pratices, luckily my wife is content with other things, like vacations. But you might want to look at a custom jeweler to scope out your options on gem stones. My favorite would be tanzanite. It has a deep blue/purple color that sparkles like a diamond. Its draw back is that it's not very hard and will break if wacked on something. Lots of other things besides diamonds out there and it might show her that you really put some thought into it instead of just going with a cliche.
Find a titanium carbon composite ring.bnlkid
Oct 23, 2003 1:01 PM
Or someone that will make one for you. You will still be spending a lot of money on the ring and have it tied to enjoying the bike.