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Engagement Blings

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DrFrylock, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. DrFrylock

    DrFrylock
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    So I am abusing my mod power to create a thread for personal benefit, but it's also a reasonable discussion topic. That's how I'm rationalizing it, anyway.

    I am in the market for an engagement ring, for the first and (hopefully) only time. I am kind of befuddled. I am trying to solve this problem by setting constraints that will reduce the problem space down to something reasonable:

    • It has to come from a particular jewelry design company. This company isn't super well-known, but they make nice stuff and, more importantly, they hired my father when he was recovering from cancer and well into middle age, when they could have hired anybody. He worked for them until the day he died of said cancer. In my opinion, this is an act of ultimate and unnecessary good, and getting a ring from anybody else wouldn't make any sense.
    • My girlfriend neither wears nor owns any jewelry, with the exception of a neat little necklace my mom got her. She'll wear this from time to time, so I know she'll wear a little if it's meaningful. I have tried to wander by jewelry stores with her and bring this sort of thing up as subtly as possible, but there is zero interest. She won't even talk about it. So, a ring has to be as un-ostentatious-looking as possible. This doesn't mean it has to be cheap (although she wouldn't mind), but it has to look simple.
    • One reason my girlfriend doesn't wear jewelry is that she has a job where she's working with her hands and doesn't want a ring getting caught on stuff all the time. So it has to be low-profile: no giant Tiffany settings that look like a smaller version of a ring pop.

    I went out early Saturday looking for the first time. There are only two jewelers who sell this particular designer's stuff within 50 miles of me. The first is "closed for vacation" for three weeks. Fuck. I head to #2.

    I get there and it's two women running a small shop which is totally empty except for me. I explain my constraints, thinking that this is a perfect opportunity for them. I'm an easy customer. They sell the line but don't carry much of it in the store. Fine. However, the line is huge. When my Dad worked for them, he actually carried a copy of the entire line from store to store - I used to help him organize it, and so I am spoiled by having been able to handle and see all 2000+ pieces personally.

    I explain my constraints to the saleslady, hoping she will pull out the catalog and go through it with me and tell me what kinds of things I'm looking for and help narrow it down to a few choices and talk about price ranges and the four Cs of diamond buying and all that stuff.

    She whips out one ring, which is a non-two-tone, all-white-gold version of this:



    And says "here you go." It's a very pretty ring, yes. It's not an engagement ring, specifically. The central diamond isn't a loose one set in there, it's about a third-carat, which seems pretty small to me. I want it to look non-ostentatious, but I'm not a total cheap-ass. I have a real job and real money to spend. I prompt her further:

    Me: This is really nice, but really I'm hesitant to buy the first thing I'm looking at. I know the line is huge - hundreds of rings. Could you order something from them if I found a different style I liked? I'm not in a big hurry.
    Her: I dunno. Possibly.
    Me: I'm looking for something maybe slightly more traditional as an engagement ring - is this really an engagement ring? (I had looked online and hadn't seen this among the 'engagement ring' section).
    Her: Oh sure. It could be.
    Me: Is there anything you have that's like this, but a little different, just for comparison?
    Her: No.

    My jaw dropped. What the fuck? How do these people stay in business? Sadly the nearest jeweler that 1) sells this line and 2) is not on vacation and 3) is hopefully not retarded like these ladies is nearly 100 miles away.

    Here are the ones I saw online that I like:



    Opinions appreciated, especially from the TiBettes. I am actually fond of the one on the upper-left. It's sort of weird and understated all in one.

    I am also under-educated about this whole process. Searching for "average price of an engagement ring" it looks like between $3000 and $7000, which is a big goddamn error bar. I know the "two months' salary" rule, but that's ridiculous to me. Also, is that before or after taxes?

    I also am trying to figure out how big a diamond should be. Some forums say that the average size of a diamond in an engagement ring is between 0.5ct and 1ct, which seems reasonable. Others say it's 1.5ct - 2ct. On BlueNile.com, which I gather from searching is like the Newegg of shiny shit, a loose 1.5ct diamond that's not a total piece of ass is about $15K for the stone. A 2ct diamond is $20,000. Just for the goddamn stone. Who can afford that? Even a 1ct stone is $5500, and I suppose a retail jeweler will charge me even more than that.

    FOCUS: Help me navigate the maze of getting engaged without breaking the bank and not having my girlfriend hate what I pick out.

    ALT FOCUS: Engagement ring stories: yours. Your friends'. Pics of your engagement bling.
     

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  2. dixiebandit69

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    Isn't marriage supposed to be about the people, not the jewelry? Really, if you proposed to her with a ring out of a gum-ball machine, would it make any difference? Would she love you less? Who are you trying to please?

    Note: I think extravagant rings are pretentious.
     
  3. Queen-Bee

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    I'm a little hammered but I love bling. I have a lot of it from before I became poor-ish. A month ago I was given the honour of helping my girlfriend choose her ring. I nailed it in 20 minutes. Budget was 5K to 10K. I brought it home with taxes at 6K. (mmm, not my home, duh)

    But, not for your girl. I helped my brother 7 years ago with a similar story of yours. No previous jewelry and job that restricts it. A simple band with a few diamonds. I wish I had a picture, but I'm on my phone. It ran about $1200.
     
  4. Queen-Bee

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    Double post: Rings are so individual. I don't believe it's possible for you to pick out what she would like unless you've browsed. Propose with a silly prop then go with her. A lifetime is a long time to wear something you're not crazy about.
     
  5. TX.

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    If she doesn't want to look at rings, could you get the opinion of her best friend? You probably have a great sense of her style by now and you're drawn to certain ones because they remind you of hers. Maybe you could pick out a handful and then get the opinion of a girl who would definitely know if your girl would love it.

    If she works with her hands a lot would she even wear it to work? I know several people (nurses, physicians, etc) who just wear their bands and wear everything else outside of work.

    I'm sure she'll be stoked no matter which one you pick, so try to not stress too much!

    Alt-Focus: I don't have any engagement stories of my own, but a former co-worker had a really high maintenance girlfriend who shot down every "engagement" idea he had. She gave him really strict parameters for the ring. It had to be over 2 carats and from a certain designer. She told him she wanted the proposal to be super special, so he started throwing out ideas like going to Hawaii or Vegas for it. She told him all his ideas were either too cliche or tacky. They are now engaged. He proposed after they finished an Ironman together in another state. I think he went through the training and everything just to propose. Everyone at work told him these were huge warning signs. Why care so much and be so demanding over a proposal and ring. I bet this girl's gonna be a ton of fun planning a wedding.
     
  6. Popped Cherries

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    As a wedding photographer I see the whole range of rings from retarded bling that is beyond gaudy to very simple, very small. I laugh at the people who buy these 2ct+ monstrous diamonds and under 1:1 magnification you see they are littered with imperfections. Anything that size, if you want it to look good under any sort of close inspection, you are going to need to spend 15k+ without question. Some of the nicest rings I've seen are smaller sized, but higher quality. .5ct-.8ct usually round cut.
    If you are set in stone of going bigger, I'd suggest going with a Moissanite stone. Just about as close to a diamond as you can get without having to pay the huge price tags. You can probably find a nice 2ct+ loose stone for about 2-3k and a nice setting to put it in.

    As stated above, if she is hardly going to wear it for her job, you'd be better off going smaller on the actual engagement ring, but going nicer on the wedding band.
    Anything with exposed prongs is at risk of coming loose, you're better of going with something like this.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Noland

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    Try a sapphire or some other stone. I realize diamonds are the traditional stone to use, but sapphires are generally less expensive. I think they are better looking stones, as well.
     
  8. hooker

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    Most women aren't going to want "other stones" if it's their first engagement. If I had to do it over again, I'd be very clear that it doesn't have to be a diamond. At the time, all I wanted was a diamond.

    You need to decide on a setting first.

    Pave set:

    [​IMG]

    Channel set:

    [​IMG]

    Prong set (this is what mine is):

    [​IMG]

    Then you need to decide on metal - yellow gold, rose gold, white gold (this is what mine is), palladium, or platinum. It seems like titanium rings for women, are making a big splash right now too.

    Then you need to figure out what kind of diamond cut she wants - marquise, pear, heart, round, princess, cushion, asscher, or emerald. Mine is an imperfect princess cut, which significantly decreased the cost. You can't tell at first, but if you really stare at it, you notice it.

    Honestly, the best piece of advice I can offer is not to stress about it. Don't spend an arm and a leg on it and don't freak out too much about all the different choices. When it's the right ring, you'll know it's the right ring. Chances are she's going to absolutely love it. Don't sweat it.
     
  9. mya

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    If she isn't a jewelry gal, I think you are on the right track in your thinking nothing too big or flashy, something lowset and classy. When I was picking one out, I had a few requirements. It couldn't sit up to high, like the traditional "tiffany" setting because I put gloves on and off all day and it just seemed cumbersome to me. And I have small hands so I wanted the center stone to be 1 carat, nothing more. That seems to be a nice size that falls right between ostentatious and cheap ass. I only wanted one ring, not the separate engagement/wedding bands. Maybe something like that would work for her as well. As far as the setting goes, I would stick with something classic, there you can't go wrong. Maybe the three stone ring? As far as the metal, can't go wrong with platinum.

    Regarding the comment that you will know the ring when you see it, I don't know about that. From what I can tell, men are pretty clueless about such things and don't even know where to begin. I would try to get some advice from the gal's friends or family. Also make sure that the jeweler that you go to will accept trade-ins in case she has other things in mind. But Hooker is right about not sweating it. Be glad that you don't have a girl who is on the other side of the spectrum. Good luck!

    And I'll show mine off for a minute because it suits me very well. It is almost antique looking. Similar to this but the center stone is just a 1 carat princess cut without the diamonds surrounding the center stone. What you can't see in the pic is some lovely etching work all around the band. I dig it. The manufacturer (Beaudry) has also been very nice to work with. I lost one of the little diamonds on the side and sent it back to be replaced for free, and they re-etched the band at the same time.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. shimmered

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    Keep browsing.
    For something like that...you know her...so when you find it, you'll know it. It'll just be there. I like the Pave settings, they're pretty, feminine, and they don't stand up.


    Or...
    as was mentioned propose with the intention of having her pick out her ring...but that may not go well...because ideally you know her well enough to pick out a ring she'll love.
     
  11. Aetius

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    [​IMG]

    ...and in the darkness bind them.
     
  12. mya

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    I don't understand the gals saying that he'll "know" it when he sees it, just sounds a bit....idealistic. Especially if he has never seen her wear a ring in the past (and let's face it, the ring that a girl will want for an engagement ring is going to be different than the fashion rings that she will wear). I just tend to think that what my husband would have picked out would have been complete different than what I would've picked out. If I had to venture a guess, he would have been talked into whatever style the salesperson preferred. Chime in here guys, do you agree?
     
  13. Blue Dog

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    I got really lucky when it came time to buy The Wife's ring for two reasons:

    1) From talking to her sister and best friend, I found that she was a fan of a more simple, classic design (which fits in line with exactly what I like)
    2) I have an aunt who is a jewelry dealer, so I was able to get everything at wholesale cost (about 1/3-1/4 the cost of retail)

    In the end, I went with a 1ct solitary round cut with a simple white gold ring & matching wedding band(spoilered for the terrible picture quality):

    [​IMG]

    For color/clarity, I don't remember what exactly I went with... Somewhere middle of the road (I wanna say I/H, SI1), but you would never know, as it looks just as good as the premium cuts to the naked eye.

    For the actual asking (spoilered for anyone who cares):

    Everything happened after we found out we were having a baby, so I guess she probably know something was coming, but even so, I wanted to make the actual when/where a surprise, so I didn't confer with her on anything. With the help of her sister and best friend, I picked out the ring I wanted, but I had to order it and have it delivered. Cool, no biggie, I could wait the week or so to receive it.

    I guess about 2 or 3 days after I ordered it was the day I had my accident. I woke up in the ICU in a pretty good amount of pain, but the first thing I wanted to know, when I finally got my mom alone when The Wife was sleeping, was where the ring was. My mom told me not to worry about it, that she'd take care of everything.

    Well, I got out of the hospital after about a week, and still nothing, so I followed up with the dealer. He assured me that it should be anyday now, which ended up being the next day. It came in while she was still at work, so I had all day on the couch to think about how I might go about asking her, but I was at a loss as to how the best way would be. I mean, hell, I can't even stand up for more than 5 minutes at a time at this point, I didn't have many options.

    But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I didn't need options. I couldn't wait. So when she got home from work, I got her to help me stand up, gave her a kiss, got her to help me get to a knee, and asked her. I was unshaven and was in a tshirt and pajama pants, but I didn't want to go one more day without having her as my fiance. I don't remember what exactly I said, but I teared up a little bit when she smiled and started crying. She actually cried for what felt like an eternity, to the point where I had to be like "... Soooooo?". She laughed and kissed me and said "Yes", and it might have just been the greatest thing I ever heard.

    Not the best or most romantic proposal, but it worked for me. And I guess it worked for her too, which is why I love her.

    Oh, and she thought the ring was perfect. So I did good. Woo!
     
  14. mya

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    That one's a keeper!
     
  15. Gator

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    Considering marriage itself is a 50-50 proposition, why would picking a ring be any more of a sure thing than picking the girl?

    I saw buy her a fake, and if you're still married in 10 years, buy her a real diamond.
     
  16. Kubla Kahn

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    I have a feeling with a majority of the women in the "bigger is better" crowd don't know or give a fuck about technical Jewish diamond rating systems. Beyond that I am with Dixie here and think she should be happy with what ever you giver her (you know cause you looooooves each other). I'll try and err on the side of sanity but if any futurewife of mine is set on tradition I'm a sucker for that and will probably cave. Someone linked a Wall Street Journal entry here recently that aptly referred to it as The Bridal Industrial Complex.
     
  17. mya

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    In theory, yes, she should love whatever you give her. But from a practicality standpoint, this is something that she will be wearing daily, so it better fit her lifestyle and be something that she likes. For example, my husband being a clueless guy regarding jewelry would probably have gotten me the classic tiffany setting like so because it is the "classic" and I am kind of a classic type of girl.

    [​IMG]

    If that was the case, I wouldn't have worn it because I put gloves off and on all day and it would have probably cut through the latex. And call me non-sentimental, but I probably would have said sorry, but I am going to change the setting. To be honest, most of my friends have had a hand in picking their own. Probably not the most romantic way of doing it, but it is the most practical.
     
  18. Devils Advocate

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    I am going to approach this on a different standpoint. Because you are planning on shelling out a least a couple grand on this ring, I would kindly advise you to purchase something that protects you. Please, please, please, insure it. Most insurance companies will offer a free standing personal articles policy. All you need as an appraisal listing the 4C's, pictures, and most will want to see the ring. You can insure it for replacement cost. This will cover if: she loses it, it gets stolen, a stone falls out, etc. Trust me, it is worth it. You would be amazed on how many calls I get where the wife or the girlfriend dropped their ring down the sink.
     
  19. RCGT

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  20. Noland

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    As Mrs. Noland lost hers and we had a check in hand (from State Farm, no less) less than a week after we made the claim, I agree wholeheartedly with this point.