One Ring to All Them Rules

Everyone has heard that quintessential rule of engagement: the ring should cost around two months' salary. I believe this was cleverly started by the diamond industry, because even though Americans seem to insist on three months, a lot of historical folklore has been rooted in the one-month-salary "rule". I'm sure the diamond industry did a fair amount of research before settling on two months as the "right price" that increases their overall revenue without getting too much resistance from the none-so-willing proposers. Even then, there's no mention of whether this is gross salary, salary after taxes, or even net disposable income.

But that's neither here nor there; we can't change societal expectations with this one post. What's more interesting are the new rules of engagement that people have set for themselves about said pricing. I recall a rather entertaining conversation with one of my ex-roommates (as most all conversations with her are).

Her rule: $10,000. Hard minimum. USD. No reliance on the poor guy's salary. If he didn't love her enough to get her a nice ring, there was no point in marrying him.

My reaction: that's rather materialistic and smells vaguely of gold-digger aroma. What happened to sizing up a person by the measure of their character, rather than the thickness of their wallet? What happened to falling in love and not mattering what the ring was like, as long as there was love?

Her progress: she since adjusted her measure of acceptance requirements to "3 months". Except, this was only to be then thrown out of whack again by The Bachelor and whatever crazy company-sponsored ring it was that they had.

I suppose this was a rather long-winded way to ask ... what is/was/would be your personal limits (upper and/or lower) on an engagement ring?

[ No, this is not any kind of hint on my personal life. It's just a topic for discussion. ]


S said...

From my 3 years of moderating a wedding planning community, I've seen many different types of engagement and wedding rings outside of the diamond solitaire style; different stones (sapphire, amethyst and other semi-precious stones), different styles (channel anniversary bands) and settings; family heirloom rings that have no stones at all; man-made "diamonds" that are better than flawless, costing 1/10th of the price of mined, natural diamonds.

Not everyone likes diamonds from a humanitarian point of view. Google for +"blood diamonds" and read all about it. Their value is artificially inflated from their business practices. It's a very recent "tradition" that really doesn't have a meaningful history. It's an industry perpetuated solely by greed.

One girl got a pearl ring for her engagement. She wrote the most beautiful post about why and I can't find it now, but the jist of it was essentially that pearls are much more delicate, you can't wear them all the time and they need special care. It served as a reminder that their marriage always required attention and care. Maybe I'm just more of a pearl girl too, but I was in tears by the end of her post. =}

I didn't have a chance to talk to W about it before he went and bought my ring without telling me. I'm really happy with what he got me. I get random strangers complimenting me on it all the time. But it would have been nice to be able to take some of the pressure off him to spend 3 months' salary... poor guy. =P

He had planned to spend more(!!), but I'm glad the sales rep told him that if my hands were small (size 4), it will make a bigger stone look fake because of the disproportionate sizes.

James said...

Just get a 24k gold ring with a big fat cubic zirconia and be done with it. She'll never know. :)

Van said...

I think that both 10K and 1 month salary are both too much. I'd hate to have all that on a finger when it could've been spent on several vacations or on a down payment for a house. If you really need a huge rock to feel secure about your relationship or to show off to friends then you should be spending that money on a good therapist to adjust help your personality.

Malek said...

I really don't like the idea behind the engagement ring so I think when the time comes, I'll ask my fiancee not to get one.

I'll spare you the long-winded discussion behind my reasoning, but I just think that if she loves you and you love her, buy each other really nice gifts to celebrate your love and the promise of a future together! That should be enough for two people who love each other.

head dump said...

While waiting for Pizza my boy friend wanted to buy me a $0.25 toy ring from a dispenser just for the fun of it. I was in love, and told him if that flower ring falls out, he can use it to propose to me and I would say "yes". See how love can blind you? He's an X now, but dang, he could've saved himself some money!!

Anonymous said...

An onion ring would work well. If she gets hungry, she could eat it too!