My colleague, that has been dating her boyfriend for a few years now, complimented my ring over coffee the other day and it struck up a pretty lengthy conversation about wedding rings. The thing is, this happens to me all the time. I have a black diamond ring and it’s not that common but it’s also very striking. I’m sure a lot of people look at my ring and think it’s ugly because the black opacity of it doesn’t sparkle and on the other hand (pun intended) I also get compliments from strangers about it. But this isn’t to brag, this is to say that wedding rings are adored but they are also such a hot button topic.
This colleague of mine commented that she wants a ring that’s also unique and she finds herself looking at rings these days and being bored with many that she sees. I agreed with her but also said I honestly don’t have anything against a traditional diamond either: if I would have gotten one I would have been over the moon about it too! Let’s be real.
However, I know why I got the black diamond instead. My fiancé and I never really spoke at length about getting engaged. While dating early on, I had moved out of my apartment with Mr. Smith during a short breakup and I told him when we got back together that I’d never move in with him again until we were engaged (I can’t even believe I said this after believing for so long that I didn’t even want to get married). That was about the extent of speaking about marriage.
We didn’t really speak about engagement rings either, but we did speak about diamonds. We were very much on the same page about not wanting to have a blood diamond on our hands (haha, see what I did there!) and neither of us wanted to pay the price for a traditional diamond when we knew that the market value is an inflated hoax – you have to listen to this Freakonomics podcast to understand.
The Ring Size
Because we never spoke about rings, I don’t think he had any idea how to find out what size my ring finger was. I later found out that he asked my best friend what to do and she suggested that he go into my jewelry container and get one of my rings to get sized.
It turns out the ring in my drawer that he picked was my thumb ring! After he went to the jeweler to see the ring that he liked online, the jeweler had to blow up my ring to be big enough to, unknowingly, fit my thumb. Then when Mr. Smith proposed in Italy, we immediately knew something was wrong. I couldn’t even wear the ring after getting engaged because I was afraid it would slip off and I’d lose if before we even got home.
I think that the way he went about buying the ring was actually a clever idea. Mr. Smith basically Googled black diamonds and found a vendor who had an office in NYC with some rings in stock. He went down to look at them in person and bought one at that store in the Diamond District (47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues). I was later told that it was “expensive but affordable”. However, I know he didn’t spend 3 months salary on it. I sometimes wonder if anyone does that anymore anyway?
Now, I’ve had two male friends who have proposed to their girlfriends and when they asked me for advice on where to buy, I told them both to go to the Diamond District in NYC (both friends live in New York anyway). Reason being, the Diamond District is so oversaturated with rings that they are often willing to negotiate on a ring’s price.
Mr. Smith and I later went to a boutique in Williamsburg called Catbird to look for our wedding rings and I would have been embarrassed beyond belief to haggle in that kind of environment – it’s by appointment only and there was only room for us and one other couple in the whole store.
After my own experience with a minor wedding ring fiasco, I wouldn’t have had it any other way because it’s still a great story to tell.
I’m not at all saying to avoid getting your fiancé’s opinion on a ring because it could all go wrong. I’m also not saying to reject all traditional diamonds. But do your research.
Does she have a secret Pinterest board about her favorite jewelry? Has she mentioned a favorite ring designer before: Tiffany & Co., Cartier, David Yurman? Did she save some designs on Etsy? Has she spoken to her mom or a close friend about what she always dreamed her engagement ring would look like?
All those questions might help you get the ring she’d like. But you could also just get the ring that you’d like to propose to her with, or one that fits your budget, because at the end of the day the ring is just a means to an end. The end being the love of your life saying yes and the beginning of so many other plans.
I read in The Magnolia Story (a great read if you’re into Fixer Upper) that Chip wanted to upgrade the ring he’d originally gotten Joanna when he proposed, before he had a lot of money. Turns out, Jo was happy with what she had and didn’t want the expensive, fancy ring after all those years.
That’s what my ring also symbolizes to me: it was a sign of love out of the kindness of Mr. Smith’s heart that he wanted to spend his hard earned money so he could give me something that would hopefully start a new chapter in our lives and mark the beginning of forever. I know it may sound corny, but that’s what it was. Now, I’m more grateful than ever when someone compliments my ring because I know it was entirely his idea and a beautiful one at that.