My Ring & Me

This is my new favorite picture of my engagement ring. I took it at the camera obscura down at Ocean Beach. That’s the ocean twinkling off the diamond!

My engagement ring and me. We are having something of a tough time of it. David and I found my engagement ring in a antique store (you can read all about the search here), and the ring and I fell in love immediately. It was small and simple, and looked just right on my small hand. It dates from the 1920’s, and is subtly art deco. It’s unique, it has soul, and it fit perfectly on my hand without having to be sized. When I put it on, the store owner looked at the ring, and looked at me, and said, “Oh, that’s your ring.” And it was.

But we’re having a little bit of a hard time out in the real world together. My ring is somewhat small, and it’s simple. Meaning that it’s absolutely not what is popular at the moment. Everyone around me seems to be competing in some sort of diamond Olympics. Rings as big as your knuckle! Rings that would feed a third world country for a year! Rings you can not possibly do the dishes in! And subtlety, I get reminded all the time that my ring is little. People look at my ring, and then look slightly disappointed. “It’s from the 1920’s!” I always rush to say, “It’s vintage!” Friends tell me that they love my ring. It’s so classy, and tasteful. They want one just like it, they say, but much bigger. “Oh.” I say “I have small hands. I wanted one just this size.”

But I’ve noticed that when I’m doing yoga, or at the camera obscura, or at the beach, my ring looks just right. It sparkles up at me and says “Here we are, and we’re just right together.” Hopefully soon I’ll learn to tune out all the other nonsense.
(Also: If you are ever in San Francisco, you have to check out the camera obscura. It’s one of the city’s hidden gems, and dates back to Playland On The Beach in the 1920’s. It costs $3 to get in, and I could meditate on it’s ever moving images of the sea for hours.)

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  • Jenna

    I love the idea of recycled rings. Mine is something like a half carat N color antique that I found and fell in love with. It cost less than $1000. I couldn’t be happier with it.

  • All that matters is that you love it.

    I’m so with you on the diamond Olympics… the thing I find most shocking is the idea of upgrading… wha?! By all means get another ring for your other hand or something, but what about all the special memories of your engagement ring…?

    • I suppose the hypothetical idea of upgrading bothers me. The only time I’ve seen anyone upgrade in real life was a rather special instance though- my father upgraded my mother’s ring a few years ago- and I never questioned it. It just seemed right.

      When my father talked to his grandmother about proposing, she gave him her engagement ring to use for my mother. It was small, but steeped in family, and the most beautiful thing. My mother said yes, and wore that ring for almost 20 years. When my cousin, the first of our generation to fall deeply and madly in love, decided to ask his wife to marry him, my mother gave him her ring to keep the tradition alive (it’s just me and my sister, and neither of us is intending to propose). My father wanted to replace the ring, and it did end up being an upgrade, but I don’t think anyone other than him looked at it that way. It’s interesting how a story affects the way we see things.

  • Desaray

    That picture looks like a ring sonogram!

  • I really appreciated this post on you and your ring – and I’m loving your blog! I actually told my then-boyfriend before we were engaged that I didn’t want an engagement ring, at all – and thus I don’t have one. For the first couple of months after the big question, everyone looks to the left hand immediately, and I explain, “I didn’t want a ring.” and then they say, “well are you going to have wedding rings?” …uh… yeah…??

    Anyway — great post. Keep up the great writing.

  • I also have a TINY engagement ring. Fortunately nobody has commented on its size though when a coworker got engaged I don’t think I will EVER have such a contrast in size. Her ring must have cost $20-$50,000 EASILY. A GIANT DIAMOND, huge, never seen anything that big in person before (she was loaded, just working PT to have something to do with her days.)

    I find jewelers (particularly older employees), antique lovers, and more grounded people LOVE my ring and are jealous that my ring is an heirloom! One antiques lady said that it would not be possible to go to a jeweler today and get the same quality in the 4C’s… they cut them to be big, not high quality anymore.

    My ring is my husbands great-grandmother, married in 1907. It’s an “old miners cut” diamond, made because electricity was just coming in so the ring sparkles particularly well in semi-dark rooms, restaurants, movie theatres. I love it! It’s also simple but sort of art neauveou (spelling?)

    I once did a poll on the knot asking “who has the SMALLEST ring” and people so appreciated that poll! Mine is a mere .29 carats and the ring/my finger is just 4.5 (or 4.25) in size. So yes, small ring for a small hand.

    Oh, and when I got engaged my boss basically said I should put it in storage. Um… why would I keep something so special locked away to “protect it”? Isn’t the point to WEAR IT???


  • okay. you and i are practically the same person. i also have an antique ring from the 1920s (and just found an antique band from the late 20s that looks great with it), small hands and a small ring. i absolutely love it all and don’t care if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It really does fit my hand perfectly and I wouldn’t want to wear the same ring that everyone else has anyway.

  • Yes, the diamond thing is very strange. My fiance and I were essentially engaged without a ring and my family pretty much didn’t want to hear any wedding talk until he got me a ring. What?! How’s about a “congrats”?!
    Anyway, so the pressure was on him to get me a ring (OK, so I put the pressure on him; I wanted some familial approval) and he did. I immediately regretted wanting a diamond, though, because it plunged me into a world of envy that I wasn’t used to — I found myself comparing mine to theirs and was very uncomfortable with that feeling until I deconstructed it … the size or quality of a diamond has no reflection on how much your fiance loves you. And for goodness’ sake — I would never “trade up” my engagement ring! Just like I’ll never “trade up” my fiance :)

  • The Diamond Olympics is right… it’s not the size of the diamond that matters, it’s the size of your love for your FH and his for you. All that matters is that you love it, and the awesome meaning behind it.

    I get really annoyed when people seem a little less than impressed when they see my ring…it might not be huge but it’s a constant reminder of the wonderful man I’m going to marry! And that means more than any amount of money to buy a big rock… :)

  • My ring is vintage deco too!!!

  • I love your ring. It’s actually my ideal. Seriously. On one hand (ha!), I would love one exactly like it. On another, then I’d be copying you- and the odds of me finding one exactly like it aren’t terribly high, as it is vintage. But I heart your ring. Totally, fully and completely. It is unique and it is yours.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. It is symbolic of your love and commitment, but at the end of the day, it’s a thing. The price (or size or whatever) of this thing is not a reflection of the magnitude of your love, or your willingness to commit. Rather, it’s your reminder, YOUR symbol, imbued in memories and love- both yours and that of the person who wore it before you.

    And there is nothing to prove to anyone, including yourself.

  • Ninon

    I have a sapphire engagement ring and I love it. I did not want a diamond and my love knew that. It’s amazing how it puts people in a questioning mode — “Is it your birth stone?” “What does it mean?” I’m not offended by the questions. It’s different and that means people will be curious. It gives me a chance to educate people. I have ethical reasons for not wanting a diamond. It sounds like you had similar reasons for choosing a vintage ring. Take it as an opportunity to educate people. I do it with humor and graciousness, but you bet I take that moment to mention blood diamonds and the fact that diamonds are not even the most precious stone, but the industry makes sure we think it is‌ Just my two cents. Love your blog!! Love your writing!!

  • I completely know what you mean… I wanted a pearl engagement ring, and I happened to mention to my mother that I didn’t want a diamond. She took that as a sign that we were rushing to get married and we should wait a few years until he could afford a “real” ring, as she put it. After getting my ring (which I love), I’ve gotten a few surprised reactions. I don’t get many questions, instead I feel like I almost get pity. They’ll turn to a girlfriend of mine and ooh and ahh, then see mine and clam up, no questions or commenting. I’ve gotten used to this treatment from strangers and my mother has come around… but my FMIL still says everytime she sees it (and to all of her friends and family) that we were smart to save money now, but some day “you’ll want a real engagement ring, and you can get a replacement ring then.” No matter how many times my fiance tells her it was my idea…

    Enjoy your ring… in the end it is all about what makes you and your fiance happiest!

  • Mary

    I hate the diamond Olympics… esp. the idea that “Oh, but you want it huge, b/c it’s FOREVER” and then DeBeers suggests upgrading (as Guilty Secret said). I was at a bridal shower where all the married women whipped out their rings. If it were the Old West, I would have ducked for cover, because those rings were practically shotguns. Indeed, they were wielded like weapons. There’s the $25K “just because” ring. The baby ring. The anniversary ring. The because-I’m-breathing ring.

    Oy vay. I marveled at how pretty the rings were and how ugly the women were being with them. Just slug each other and be done with it.

    My ring’s technically a wedding band, but it’s small moissanite stones studding a twisted band. I love it. I really didn’t want diamonds and solitaires don’t work with my hands. I’m lucky that no one’s judged, but I do know how Meg feels in that subconsciously-ingrained need to explain why the ring is not a small island.

  • fiil

    I guess it is pretty characteristic of the Wedding Industry to make every bit of your wedding into a competition, and the engagement ring is no exception. I personally really dislike the look of the monster-sized solitaire stone and find them EXTREMELY impractical for day-to-day life, especially the ones where the setting is extended outward to make the diamond look larger. How silly! I totally do find myself feeling pressured into getting one, however. So much focus is put on the engagement ring, and you can totally see the disappointment in peoples’ reactions when it is not flashy enough for them. All I want is a plain wedding band, and I’m hoping I can stick to what I really want instead of feeling pressured into something that I think is wasteful and impractical.

  • Once again, another brilliant and comforting blog post in a world of sometimes not-so affirming wedding articles. I chose to go completely whacko and chose a handmade ring from this store in Seattle: and it’s a chunky sterling silver ring with a garnet. I love it. It’s me all over. But, I admit I had an inner-struggle with not getting a more expensive engagement-looking ring. It somehow indicated my fiance didn’t love me as much? Absurd, I know, but there it is. It became about ‘what will other people think?’ and not at all about what I really wanted and what fit me and my style. Thanks for the cheer.

  • Anonymous

    people concerned about the size of the diamond on their ring are missing the entire point of what the ring is intended to symbolize. and if the ring is more important than the relationship, there shouldn’t be a ring or a wedding. i have small hands too, and some rings just look ridiculous on my short little fingers, if you’re happy ignore everyone else.

  • I love your ring! vintage rings are the best. teeny stones are awesome, and that is just a fact!
    I don’t remember your stone being tiny, just not hugely ostentatious like some. You could always turn the tables and try to make the disappointed faces realize how greedy, bourgeois, and gaudy a huge stone can be (not that I necessarily think that), if you’re feeling bitchy!
    and, every time I’ve been to the camera obscura, it’s closed! drat and bother.

  • i’m so lucky to have my fiance’s grandmother’s tiffany solitaire. it means so much to know that his favorite grandmother wore it for so many years, and the day his dad told him he could give it to me, he was so moved he cried. the diamond is half the size of the one in my sister’s engagement ring, but honestly, i wouldn’t trade it. not for hers, not for anyone’s! and let me tell you, it sparkles like nothing else! yay vintage!

  • i feel the same way. love my ring until someone has a bigger, prettier, whatever one and i feel insufficient. in the end though i know its just right because he picked it out and its what was there the day he asked me to be his wife.

  • Some of these comments have really hit it, but one stands out to me: “I wanted some familial approval.” That’s part of where much of the ambivalence we all seem to have comes from. My wife and I made sure to make our wedding personal, but we also had elements that announced to our guests, “This is a wedding.” It just breaks my heart, though, to hear women say they feel inadequate about their rings or to hear that their own family is urging them to get “real” rings some day. Eeeek! And it’s interesting to think, too, about where this engagement ring tradition comes from in the first place. I’ll tell you one thing: it’s not a Jewish tradition. : )

  • Okay, can I hug you?

    The fact that at times I feel the need to ‘defend’ my ring bothers me so much! and I even have one of those ‘regular’ rings, just not an enormous one! Like you, it feels perfect when the ring and I are alone. It is what the FH picked out on his very own, and it is what it is because he knows me so well (not wanting something that is huge or stick out too much. Had I been one of those who are up on wedding news b4 the proposal though, I would’ve wanted an antique ring myself!). It just seems like people judge how much I’m loved by the size of the rock… I know I should feel secure enough about myself and our relationship to not be affected by other people’s opinions, but I guess I’m not, and I think that’s what bugs me the most.

    I have to say, it makes me feel so much better that a strong woman like you go through the same things. It makes me feel a lot less ridiculous!

  • Your ring is beautiful and clearly means so much more to you than those who are competing in the diamond olympics.

    My FH once mentioned a family ring, but I didn’t want it because I wanted something special that reflected us and not his family. And he came up with something beautiful and so very me. I couldn’t be happier.

  • Anonymous

    Your ring looks awesome, and I love that it’s an antique (huge antique buff). My ring is .25 carats, and my fiance bought it off of Ebay for under $200, from what he’s told me. I think it’s perfect, but then, I’ve never been much into diamonds and all that crap. :-P

  • Denise

    Your ring is beautiful. We got engaged without doing the big ring thing too. I was ambivalent about it, and I just wasn’t comfortable with the amount of money I knew a big honking solitaire would cost. I ended up with three vintage looking stackable bands (including the wedding ring) with a combination of stones. They look so pretty together and are very me. I can’t imagine having anything else on my hands now.

  • Peonies and Polaroids

    The whole diamond thing makes me want to cry. To me diamonds don’t symbolise anything positive, especially new ones. I don’t look at big diamonds and think ‘ooh, pretty. I want one’, I think of how they were mined, the damage done to the earth and to the country and continent that they were taken from. The people who mined them and the conditions that they work and live in.

    Yes, they’re pretty and they sparkle beautifully but I can’t help but feel despair at the sight of them. Partly for what the diamond industry does but in a bigger part for the fact that almost no one cares.

    Diamonds make me very sad and the people who compete over who has the biggest make me furious.

    Love your ring and ignore those who look down in it because they’re taking part in something much more sinister than a meagre piece of jewellery.

  • caroline

    I love that you love your ring. When other girls post pictures of their ginormous rings, I think, “Egad. Those are obscenely big….I’m so glad I have the one I have.”
    My original engagement ring was carved from a piece of shell, and I love it more than any other piece of jewelry I’ve ever owned. (Sadly, it split in two in an unfortunate jar opening incident.)
    My ‘official’ engagement ring is my fiance’s grandmother’s ring–a small, beautiful, miner’s cut diamond, reset for my tiny finger.
    Despite the fact that pretty much no one else even remotely oohs & aahs over it, I love it. It’s perfect, sparkly, and just right for me. That’s all that matters.
    I love your blog. Thank you for being a beacon of reason in a ridiculous world of weddingness.

  • It sounds like you and your ring belong together. Picking a ring is a big decision as far as I am concerned. It is generally more expensive than our everyday purchases and certainly more important. When I spotted mine, I knew that was “it” — although at the time we were “just looking” and I had no idea Fiance was actually going to buy it and propose a few days later! Anyway, your ring will be special to you for the rest of your life. Enjoy it and be proud of yourself and your ring for being unique.

  • Your ring is beautiful and you have a special story that goes with finding it… sounds pretty amazing to me!

    I know what you mean about the obvious comparison that goes on… I think that the need to ‘one up’ or show off is definitely a trait that can come through with something that should be the most intimate of gifts.

  • phyl

    i’d love to have a vintage subtly art deco 1920s ring! cept i’m not really a jewelry wearing kinda gal and something that fabulous would be even more out of place on me, as much as i love that style =). that said, my e-ring is a princess cut solitaire, less than a half carat, about .33 and my finger size is about 2.5, so it looks lovely and appropriate on me =). in fact, i tried on some half carats while ring shopping and they scared me, haha.

    being a non jewelry wearing girl, i stressed to FI many times over that i didn’t care about the glitz and glam and how impressive the ring was “supposed” to be…i’d much rather that money be put to better use! we compromised and he focused more on quality of diamond than size and i’m so happy and proud to be wearing this ring =). some of my family members commented on the size but they couldn’t deny the sparkle =P. yes, sometimes i get momentarily distracted still by other girls’ rings…they are almost always larger and crusted over with tiny diamonds, but that feeling will pass and i will look down at my finger and be happy that this is the ring, given to me with love from my man. and that’s all that matters!

  • i had wanted something like yours . . . subtle, low-set, possibly vintage. however, since the purchase of my engagement ring was a spur of the moment decision, he totally forgot about the conversation we had just days before. :)

    he managed to pick out the clearest, most sparkly stone – at a smidge over a carat! i was so afraid of it, as i’ve got tiny hands, too, at a 4.5. but it works, surprisingly. it’s a round solitaire, with four prongs and a plain round-ish band. simple and elegant.

    here in DC, i see ladies with rediculous rings – giant settings, stones twice as large as mine, with wedding bands equally as large. i just don’t see the appeal. my plan for a wedding band is a matching plain round-ish band. and yeah, someday i’ll end up just wearing the plain band. it’s a little more ‘me.’

  • Carla

    I’m more impressed with a well made ring than the size of the rock.
    It always reminds me of the cowboys I would see out at the dance hall trying to have the biggest belt buckle….you know they are over-compensating for something.

    I have a diamond I bought with money that was left to me by my favorite Uncle. It’s just over a carat and I told the BF I would rather spend a little more on a great ring and use my diamond. He hasn’t said yea or nah but it’s there for us to use. Otherwise I’ll make myself a killer right hand ring. Those will be the only two pieces of jewelry I ever wear.

  • Other people are super judgemental about non traditional engagement rings. I have a diamond eternity ring and loads of people have said hmm why do you want one like THAT? Probably as much diamond as one of those big blingy ones but differently configured apparently isn’t good enough. Ho hum.

  • This is a really cool post. I HATE the notion that anyone should be criticized for having a small stone or nontraditional engagement ring.

  • Thank you so much for this post and this blog. I get tension in my shoulders when I sometimes peruse other wedding sites (planning on doing a lot of DIY for my wedding next year) because some of those women on those sites act like they’ve lost their GD mind! I also have a very small ring for my very small hands and one of my friends had a reaction that smacked of disappointment. It still bothers me but I just remind myself that I’m in a loving and healthy relationship with a man who could not wait to buy me a ring (a full time grad student) and wanted to propose to me before my 30th. I love my ring, I love him and everyone else can stuff it.

  • My fiance was given his grandmother’s ring — so he took it and got the diamond reset in a white gold setting.

    What I love about it is recycling, didn’t cost a bomb, is a family heirloom and vintage all in one. As much as I love my ring, I plan on only wearing my wedding band for most of the time..

  • I didn’t think your blog could get any better until I found this post. I have the most amazing ring in my eyes

    It’s recycled gold, it’s simple, beautiful and I remember my fiance proposing every time I look down.

    Unfortunately everyone’s response to it seems to be NO. Flat out one word NO. My finance constantly heard “girls like a little sparkle”, but not this girl.

    Honestly it doesn’t even fit on my ring finger, I need to put it on my middle, but I love it still.

    Thanks for bringing some reality into the world of crazy weddings. I look forward to checking back on your blog as we continue to plan over the next year.

  • i have been experiencing the same reaction to my ring: a 1930’a white gold filagree style that belonged to my paternal grandma (who passed away when i was 18). my fiancee and i love it, my best friend loves it- but the reaction i get in the real world is usually “oh (pause) that’s nice”. if they even go that far. big bling rings have no character, so rock on with your classy antique!

  • Liz

    Thank you for the post (and comments!)! Sometimes it is nice to know that you’re not alone in the world…

    My engagement ring is a sapphire and it is absolutely gorgeous. My fiance picked it out and completely surprised me. I love that he put so much thought into picking the setting and the stone (basically it isn’t heat treated, like most sapphires, making it rare). Unfortunately, whenever anyone asks to see my ring I always get a, “Is that what you asked for? Are sapphires your birth stone?” (Ironically diamonds are my birth stone.) Some people at I know didn’t even realize I was engaged, they just thought I was wearing a new ring!

    As sappy as this sounds, what is important to me is that every time I’m on the train or in the car and I see my ring, I know that it was put together with love and that is what is truly important.

  • Amy

    Honest to god, I get this all the time because I didn’t want a diamond. I didn’t want to wonder if my diamond was causing bloodshed. So, I opted for a striking pink sapphire heart (I always watned a heart shaped engagement ring). And it matches some stunning earrings in the same shape/stone that he got me for our first anniversary. It’s not an engagement ring. It’s a regular ring. It doesn’t “fit” flush with my band. The heart’s butt fits over the very slender wedding band we picked out. I planned it that way. But there are moments I am like why this ring, but I can’t whine I did pick it out. But I love it. It’s a true reflection of me and well no one else has it.

  • Priscilla

    I had to come back and read this today. I read APracticalWedding religiously, and I’ve read all the archives, and this one stuck. And today, when the second person said, I like your ring it’s so small, I had to come right back here and reread. Twice. Thank you, Meg. I love my ring, and I don’t even think it’s small, and I’m kind of small, and it fits me. And anything else would not have fit my style. And he picked it out.

    Thank you, Meg.

  • My fiance always jokes that he won my ring out of a quarter machine (he didn’t) but even if he did I would wear it proudly everyday because of what it means (that he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me) I was lucky enough to find someone who loves me and knows enough about me to get exactly the ring I would have picked out myself, and everytime I look at it on my finger, I’m reminded of that!

  • Caitlin

    My fiance picked out a beautiful 1950s pearl ring out of a pile of idea I had given to my girlfriends. I wouldn’t have been able to choose among my own selections, but he somehow picked the perfect one and I adore it. I constantly have to explain that it is even an engagement ring, and then give the whole story. While it gets old sometimes, I love having something unique and beautiful that is not your standard wedding-industry-backed product.

  • Rose

    I wear my grandmother’s diamond on my right hand (unfortunately we had to re-set it because her setting was no longer safe). It’s also an “old mine cut” – meaning it’s not that sparkly. It’s almost a carat, and I feel it’s too big, but I love it. It means so much to me and to my mother. My boyfriend cannot grasp the concept that I do NOT want a new ring – I already have one that is beautiful and that means so much to me, and will mean even more to me when we are engaged. (At this point the engagement is just a matter of time.) It’s so difficult to convince him, but I WILL – and only because APW has given me the conviction to do so.

    (Constantly a lurker, never a commenter.)

  • Futuremrsreyes

    I love this post so much! My FH proposed to me with a 1/5 carat gold solitaire. Classic and simple. I had always imagined myself with a solitaire because as beautiful as trendy rings are, I wanted something timeless I knew that I would always love. From day one I have been asked “wheres the big rock??” Been told “its cute” and been reminded that I can upgrade someday. People ask me what ring do I really want? Blah blah blah. It makes me sad that people dont think my ring is good enough and ill admit that I have looked in stores and online at other options but I wouldnt feel comfortable with a ring that took up half my finger because im not a jewelry person. Im not opposed to upgrading because to me its still a “thing” but I love my ring and I feel no need to change it. Thanks for reminding me thats all that matters

  • FJane

    My Fiance proposed without a ring (well we kinda just decided together that we would be ‘engaged’). So I chose my own ring it is hand made out of recycled yellow gold with a hammered texture and a matte finish. It is a very thin band with a faceted moonstone set on top. I think it is beautiful I have always liked moonstones and don’t see the point of spending a huge amount of money to get a ring that looks like everyone else’s !

    ….but I do find myself explaining to everyone that I chose it, and I really like moonstones…..
    people seem kind of disappointed when they see it they say with surprise “Its so delicate!”

    I love this blog… it makes me feel better :-)

    • Jeffra

      Oh!!! Dang smart phones!! I attempted to agree with this comment and my phone reports the comment instead :( so sorry!!
      My parents got married with a copper ring my father made for my mother out of wire. My father is an electrician so its has special significance also were much, much to poor at the time to purchase a “proper” ring. Personally, the copper ring is more significant to me :)

  • i just recently got engaged and had a … discussion? … with relatives about rings. a cousin asked what kind of wedding ring are you getting? one that matches the engagement ring (to wear together)? and i had already picked out the wedding band that i want. does not match the engagement right at all, and i don’t intend to wear both together anyway. so when i stated that fact, the next question was: “then how will people know you’re married?” and “you’re going to get a lot of questions!” i had to laugh and said well people who know i got married will know i’m married so …

    i don’t think wearing the ring proves to people you’re married. that’s a bond you have with your partner, ring or no ring! and i like that i get TWO different rings to wear at different times on my left hand ;-)

  • Helen

    I realize I’m coming to this conversation *years* after the fact but your post and the comments really resonated with me.

    My fiancee and I are both uncomfortable supporting the diamond industry so we decided against buying any kind of diamond for my ring. I do love sparkly white stones though, so I chose a simple cushion cut moissanite solitaire which I absolutely love.

    The problem I’ve been having is figuring out how to respond when people mistake if for a diamond. Friends and family are easy since I’m happy to discuss our decision with them but I’m struggling with shorter exchanges and more casual acquaintances. I feel weird not correcting them (feels an awful lot like lying) but it feels kind of rude and inappropriate to launch into a rant about the diamond industry with someone who was just trying to congratulate me (especially when so many of these people are wearing sizable diamonds).

    We’ve only been engaged a few weeks so hopefully I’ll figure out the “right response” soon (or at least before the wedding!)

  • Jeffra oh my gosh you can find these total knockouts from the 20’s! I am in serious lust with the hand engraved bands i have seen my faves are the ones with initials and wedding dates inside. I drift off to this magical romantic place where this ring was the token of affection of the most blissful marriage in history (excessively dramatic fantasy, but hey I’m sooo allowed!) I love simple elegance. It’s truly something to strive for. :)

  • LMN

    I’m another one joining the conversation a bit late (I just discovered your blog and have been pouring over the archives–you are seriously my favorite person ever right now).

    I also picked out an intentionally small ring (4 mm white sapphire) for reasons very similar to yours. I didn’t want a big showy ring (not my style at all) and the only reason I went with a white sapphire vs a colored stone was because I wanted my ring to be fairly neutral since I’d be wearing daily for a good long time. I absolutely love it but then I show people pictures (still waiting on the order) and often times their response is “Oh… that’s uh…nice.” which is terribly judgmental. I’m a little concerned about what will happen when it arrives and I can start wearing it, but I refuse to make excuses for it. Thankfully my friends and family either share my simple tastes or at least respect them.

    Checking out the standard mall jewelers was my worst wedding experience to date. “Don’t worry, we offer financing” is not what I want to hear when shopping for jewelry (for me it means don’t shop here, you can’t afford it, end of story). Also, somehow the fact that I was looking for something “small, simple, with subtle detail in the metal work vs lots of stones” meant that they should show me a 2ct, diamond encrusted monstrosity. When I said I was thinking of going a non-diamond route I also got a lecture about how diamonds were clearly superior. It didn’t sink in until we were leaving that this store has had some pretty sexist commercials as well. I was Done at that point and found a ring online from an artist in CA who worked with lab created or ethically sourced stones.