If there were a feminism litmus test (and boy am I glad we are not into litmus test feminists here at APW), one area where I would decidedly fail is engagement ring shopping. When I got engaged, I wanted to be surprised not only by the proposal, but by the jewelry too. Except, like anyone you hate to buy gifts for, I wanted to be surprised by a ring that was so me I would have picked it out for myself.
And that logic is why the traditional proposal is possibly one of the most absurd parts of the modern wedding tradition. Because in what other world would you ever consent to receiving an expensive gift that you are presumably going to wear for the rest of your life, without any say in the matter? Never, that’s when. And yet. Maybe you want it anyway. Or maybe your partner wants it. I get that. Because feminism and tradition are strange bedfellows. But also? It’s a roll of the dice. You know what happens to people who like to be surprised by their gifts? They end up disappointed. A lot.
So when we had the opportunity to work with James Allen, an online company that specializes in customizable engagement rings, I had a sudden moment of clarity. Online engagement ring shopping kind of evens the playing field, encouraging both the surprise element and getting to have a damn say in your own jewelry. Here’s how:
1. Online shopping is more casual. Want to know my least favorite part of shopping in stores? Feedback. Because I’m a people pleaser. So positive or negative, it gets all up in my head, whether it’s coming from the sales person or my partner. But online shopping? That’s all about me, and what I’m into. So even if your partner is ultimately buying your engagement ring (which, for the record, is not a requirement, and you can tell them I said so), online engagement ring shopping lets you figure out what you like first, without any comments from the peanut gallery. Or the person you love the most and want to spend the rest of your life with.
2. You get prices in real time. So much of the wedding industry is predicated on the idea that if they don’t show you prices, you’ll end up falling so in love with something that your wallet will magically expand to be able to afford. But with online engagement ring retailers like James Allen, you get prices in real time, as you build your ring. So if you only want to see settings that cost less than $500 and you think you might prefer another gemstone over a diamond, you can totally do that (and since online retailers often offer a much larger inventory than you can find in store, you’ll actually have options to choose from). Basically, you’re in control the whole time, and there’s no danger of an upsell.
3. The technology is so much better. OMG the technology is so much better than it was just a few years ago. Like, good enough that we should all stop pretending that online shopping isn’t acceptable for engagement rings. Sure, a few years ago it was a totally different (kind of a little sketchy) ballgame. How were you supposed to know if what you were paying for was worth what you paid? Where did the jewelry come from? What if it got lost in the mail? But with online jewelry companies like James Allen, you get way more robust technology. Like the option to take a picture of your hand, for example, and virtually try on jewelry from the comfort of your couch. Or super HD images that show every detail of your ring way more up close and personal than you probably ever wanted. Plus you can sort by where your jewelry is sourced (including Canadian certified diamonds), and the return policy and guarantee is probably better than what you’d get in store.
There are a lot of ways the wedding industry uses the emotional significance of tradition to remove your agency in the planning process while making money at the same time. And engagement rings are no exception. If there’s a stigma attached to shopping for engagement rings online, I think it begs the question: Why? Because especially when it means you have more knowledge and control in the situation (not to mention a thirty-day refund)… well, GET IT.
This post was sponsored by James Allen. If you’re thinking about engagement rings right now and don’t know where to start, it doesn’t get much more up-close and personal than James Allen’s exclusive Diamond Display Technology, which allows you to interact with diamonds in 360°, from the comfort of your home. James Allen has hundreds of engagement ring settings and over 70,000 diamonds to choose from, all of which are certified conflict-free (you even have the option of selecting Canadian-sourced diamonds for extra measure) and personally inspected by the James Allen team before they ever end up online. Plus all James Allen jewelry comes with a risk-free 30-day guarantee and a lifetime warrantee. Need extra help? James Allen’s 24/7 non-commissioned customer service team will hook you up with all their best knowledge, and never pressure you into something you don’t need. Click here to learn more about James Allen and start building your engagement ring today!