Have you found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with? Congratulations are in order! Before you pop the big question however, have you considered what kind of engagement ring you’re going to get her?
In keeping with tradition, the first response that comes to your mind is probably “diamond.” However, the tradition of giving one’s beloved a diamond ring to signify eternal love is a fairly new concept. In fact, diamonds weren’t even the choice of most people in the 1980s – that was before the De Beers, a powerful cartel that manipulated the supply and demand of the diamond trade – that people thought of diamonds as a rarity. This market manipulation, coupled with a highly effective advertising and marketing campaign “Diamonds are forever,” made its mark to the market. People now equate diamonds with “forever,” a keyword when you want to propose to someone you hope to live forever with.
As for needing to give your beloved an expensive gift as a token of your love, did you know that it had less-than-romantic beginnings as well? See, in the midst of 1930s, many women started suing their former fiancés for “breach of promise to marry.” How so? Premarital sex was on the rise at this time, while at the same time women are valued for their chastity. Once engaged couples explore premarital sex, a woman’s marriage prospects – and her reputation – plummets. Just imagine what would happen if the aforementioned fiancé would decide to do a runner! To limit this, expensive rings therefore became “virginity insurance,” with the reasoning of course that men would have to push through with their promise of marriage.
Now you know that you don’t have to purchase either diamonds or expensive rings. However, you still want to make the engagement memorable for your wife-to-be. Here are practical alternatives to a diamond engagement ring. A word of caution, however: before you proceed with any of them, ensure that your girlfriend would not mind receiving a non-diamond studded proposal. See, while some women know of the bloody history behind diamonds, some would still want to see their fingers bejeweled with the sparkling gem, particularly since this is a ring they would show off to their friends for time immemorial.
Still sure we’re on the same page? Here we go then – practical alternatives to a diamond engagement ring.
- Go with color – Determine your sweetheart’s favorite stone, color, or even her birthday, as you can get her gemstone! Gemstones and other precious stones can create a lasting impression as well as gives your lover a significant message, that is, “I know what you want, and I’ll be here for you no matter what.”
What’s more, precious stones have meanings on their own. For instance, aquamarine is known to provide courage to overcome fears, and to give protection on journeys. This would be a beautiful engagement sentiment, as you are about to embark on a new life together. On the other hand, the blue topaz is touted for signifying fidelity, integrity, gentleness, and friendship – all admirable qualities that you should aspire to have in your marriage.
- DIY it – This doesn’t mean you have to be labeled as cheap forever – DIY-ing a ring ensures that your wife-to-be will get a bauble that is completely hers alone! First, look for a band that you admire. It can be a plain ring, or it can be with designs, depending on your preferences and how well you know your lover. Next, find a stone that you think would best complement the ring and her. You can bring these two items to a jewelry maker, and you’ll now have the most beautiful ring you can find – one that you had made especially for her.
- Pass it on – Engagements are a great way to pass on family heirlooms, not to mention a great way to save! Ask your mom or grandmother if there is a family heirloom they would want the next generation to use – that is, for your future bride. No matter how the ring looks like, it being a family heirloom would significantly impress your lover, as well as add more value to it. It would mean that your family is ready to welcome her into the brood, considering that they already gave their blessing to pass on a valuable heirloom to her.
- Skip the stone – Is your bride-to-be a simple, straightforward woman? She might enjoy an engagement ring without any flashy stones. You can impress her with an engagement ring that speaks of your commitment – such as by giving her a ring with a lover’s knot, or an infinity symbol. This means you would want to be tied to her for life.
- Go for the traditional – Another traditional ring to consider is the Claddagh ring, an Irish engagement ring that dates back to the 17th century. This ring has two hands with a heart in the middle, topped with a crown. This beautiful ring signifies friendship, loyalty, and love: three things that are necessary for every marriage to survive.
- Travel – Another practical option is to buy your girl a simple, beautiful ring, and spend the rest of the money on travel. This way, your engagement would be more memorable for her, as she would have more memories of your engagement to treasure rather than just display a ring on her finger for the rest of her life.
- Invest – Finally, and perhaps the most practical among all these options, would be to put the money towards an investment, such as a down payment on a house. Traditional diamond rings can cause upwards of $5,000 – such an amount would already help you secure the abode of your dreams, perfect for the family you are planning to raise with your lovely wife-to-be.
Whatever choice you take, remember that marriage is more than the pretty engagement ring or the lavish wedding. You have to prepare for the marriage, not to the ceremonies and traditions that precedes it. After all, you might have the grandest wedding and the most beautiful engagement ring, but if your relationship cannot sustain its strength through the pressure, then all would be for naught. Stay in love!