And One Ring To Bind Her...

Okay. This is a really pathetic and stupid time to bring up a point of happiness in my life, especially given how God-awful sad I’m feeling right now.

But anyways.

P-Day (i.e., the day I propose to my girlfriend) is coming up in a few weeks. This weekend, I’m planning to go out and buy the ring.

And I have no clue what to look for.

Help! I need to figure out what kind of ring to look for, so I don’t get fleeced by the International Diamond Cartel.

A few stipluations:

  • I don’t think having “a diamond” is that important; in fact, a nice colorful stone may be more appreciated.
  • I’m not exactly flush with cash. I’d like to try and keep this down to under $400, if possible. People who state that I don’t really love my girlfriend unless I can blow a couple thou on a ring are politely requested to fuck themselves.
  • Even if she does accept, we won’t be getting married for another two to three years, at least (or, at least, won’t be having the ‘big ceremony’ wedding for such; we may get a quickie small wedding if health insurance benefits are necessary); so this is really more of an ‘engagement’ ring than a ‘wedding’ ring. In fact, I may well get a different ring for her as the wedding ring simply because I’d feel kind of foolish putting a ring on her that she’s been wearing for three years.
  • Should I get an engagement ring for myself? It’s great symbolism- I mean, I’m as much engaged to her as she is to me- but it also means spreading $400 to cover two rings.
    I hope to buy the ring this weekend (while my girlfriend is away); so any advice I can get before then is greatly appreciated.


Let’s see what I can remember.

  1. Don’t buy from the jewlers in the mall. Prices are higher and quality is lower I hear.

  2. Get the ring appraised and if possible insured.

  3. I agree that a diamond isn’t important. Mrs. Trion has a lovely Saphire engagement rin that she picked out herself. Cheaper than a diamond too.

  4. Yes, the “two month’s salary” guideline is BS. Get something she will like and don’t sweat price. “How else can two month’s salary last forever?” You could put it in the bank.

  5. No, you shouldn’t get an engagement ring for yourself. SHe should get one for you. :slight_smile:

As far as I can tell, the only way to not get screwed by DeBeers is to never buy a diamond. I like the idea of a colored stone to, but what She thinks is the most important piece of information. :wink:

Trion is right. I have several friends here who have an emerald engagement ring, simply because Americans view the diamond as the gem for engagement and wedding rings. If I’m not mistaken, other countries never heard of such. Any stone to them can serve as an engagement ring.

Price does not matter at all. If $400 is all you have, then look for a ring in that price range. This ring is the symbol of commitment and you are telling her you want to spend the rest of your life with her. Size of the ring bears little importance, it’s the message that the ring bears.

I would not insure it for that price.


Been there, done that. It’s no picnic.

If you can, get a one of her rings so you can take it with you to be sure you get the right ring size.

Women tend to think diamonds are rather important when it comes to engagement rings - being the standard, traditionally ring to get for an engagement. A single diamond in a tasteful setting can be quite elegant and beautiful without being too expensive. If she has long fingers, you may want ot get her a marquis or teardrop cut diamond. The round cut I believe is the most common.

The engagement ring and wedding ring are traditionally two separate rings, although you can buy a wedding set, just an engagement ring is perfectly acceptable.

The traditional amount of money to spend is 2 months salary, but I doubt she’ll care about the cost as long as she knows it’s from the heart. Most places have payment plans though, so you won’t have to chuck all the money up at once.

Don’t get an engagement ring for yourself if you can’t afford it, spend all the money on her. Get yourself a simple band later if you feel you want to (or maybe she will get one for you)

I hope this helps you, but if you have any more questions, go to a jeweler and they can help you choose the stone cut, and find something in your price range, they do want to make the sale, after all.

You will get fleeced by the International Diamond Cartel (DeBeers). That’s why they’re a cartel. Grease up and relax.

[aside]People, a yellow diamond is an industrial abrasive, not a gemstone. Ditto for the murky rubies and emeralds you see advertised on the Home Shopping Channel. And stay away from “brilliant cuts” that substitute shiny faceted plating around the stone for a stone big enough to see. Rocks don’t have to be big to be pretty, and a properly displayed, high quality, small stone is less tacky looking. And a ring with no stone but an attractive design can be gorgeous.[/aside]

I don’t know where you live. If in the Chicago area the Jewelery Exchange has a good rep, despite advertising during Jerry Springer.

Do you know someone in the business? Does your mom? That’s how I saved money. Out of his sample case and onto my wife’s finger. Low overhead.

As for the non-diamond stones, would a peridot go with her coloring? It’s light green, you can get a real nice one for what you want to pay, it’s different, and stunning.

Finally, why the long engagement? Just get married.

I think the most important thing is not the $$ you spend, but the effort you put into getting her the nicest ring you can find. Even if it only costs $100.00, if you spend some time & effort into shopping around and educating yourself about it, and tell her that you really put some thought into it, she’ll be thrilled.

My ex went out to the local mall and bought the first ring he saw in his price range. It’s a nice ring, very pretty, but he treated the whole experience like it was a chore, and he complained about the $$ he spent. Although I did my best to get over it, it always irked me a little that he spent more time picking out the collar for our dog than he did my engagement ring. Seeing as we’re no longer together, I have a very nice ring I’d be willing to sell you cheap! (hehehee!)

Thanks for the replies so far!

In further explanation:

I would be shocked if my girlfriend was appalled that she didn’t get a diamond. Peridot sounds good; something blue-green-gray to go with her eyes would be nice. I’ll have to check to see what her birth-stone is.

As for price range- it’s actually more a point that she would kill me if she found out I had spent a couple thou on an engagement ring, what with me trying to become self-supporting and her going back to college.

Athena touched on a really good point.

Engagment rings are generally designed to be worn with a wedding ring. As such, there is every intent that the ring is to be worn forever.

I, for one, would never pick out something for my (now) wife to wear for the rest of her life without first consulting her.

Consider proposing and immediately taking bride-to-be to pick out a ring.

Plan B is to buy what you think GF will like from a reputable organization and receiving in writing a statement that the ring can be exchanged with full purchase price being applied to the “new” ring. GF probably won’t exercise this option, and you’ll certainly get fleeced, but it never hurts to keep one’s options open.


I like the alternative ring suggestion here. I like colored stones a lot. However, if you are going for a diamond, what I have seen the most is a diamond engagement ring (one main stone), with a joining gold band for the wedding ring.

My hubby offered me a choice when we got engaged. I could spend a lot on a ring, or spend a little on the ring and put the rest on a truck. I spent a little on the ring, and I love my Jeep. He put the downpayment on it, and I am making the payments. It was practical for both of us, and very sweet on his part to let me have a choice.

Welcome back {b]Aenea**, I hadn’t seen your .sig in a few days.

It’s reassuring to have someone of the fairer sex (said in the best possible way) agree with me on something like this.


I agree with SouthernStyle. Don’t go shopping alone.

I know from experience that the whole exercise in choosing a ring is much more special when you do it together. After all, she’s the one who’s going to be wearing it. This way, you cane both be reasurred that the ring you finally settle on is truly the one you both want.

Just for the record, we didn’t break the bank either, we just waited until the best jeweller in our town had its annual sale, where the regular prices are heavily discounted. We saved about 40% by smart shopping. But what we decided on is definitely not cheap, but you can be assured that it still means as much now as it did eight years ago.

I love the idea that she helps pick out the ring! Have her involved, if not dominant, every step of the way. Then it’s not your fault if she comes to dislike the ring.

And if she would get mad if you spent a lot of money on the ring then it sounds like she’s excellent “wife material”.

Before I get flamed for that seemingly-sexist phrase, lemme explain. Good spouses of either gender are practical and put the good of the corporation (the family–it’s a business) over selfish desires. It is bad for the company, especially at startup time, to be wasting money on irrelevancies, whether they are big diamonds or fancy cars. You want to hook up with a practical, non-wasteful, person as a life partner the same way you would want a business partner who wasn’t a spendthrift.

Are you putting off marriage because of school? Or because you are saving up for a big wedding? That money would be far better spent as down payment on a house. See paragraph 3.


Dude… you rock.

Some helpful tidbits, as I did this about 2 years ago. It is possible to find a cheap ring. Mervyn’s was having an ad on rings at 70% off I think, so I went in, checked them out, and got an engagement ring that has the “extra” ring to put on it after you get married. Original cost of the ring was like $900 or so, but only cost around $360.

DEFINITELY get it appraised. The appraisal value should be worth at least twice what you paid for the ring. My ring was appraised at $810 (I would have been gypped BIG TIME if I paid full price, but alas).

I liked the dual-type rings, and my wife liked it too. Plus, you don’t have to buy a second ring.

Lastly, I’m sure if the ring doesn’t appraise as much as you think it should, then you can return it, but I’m not positive. My appraisal cost $40, and it seemed reasonable, but I’m not sure on an average price.

I have to disagree here John. This is a pretty sad day indeed, and I appreciate you reminding me of a much happier one (my own engagement day).

Although it is indeed romantic to pop the question and the ring at the same time, I agree with the “take her shopping with you” comments. She will be happier with the ring she chooses, I really believe.

Dropzone may sound sexist ;), but he has a good point. You want a good partner (wife), not an expensive habit to maintain.

Hmmm… lotsa suggestions to have her help pick out the ring. John, you know your soon-to-be fiance. What do you think she wants to do?

I bring this up because I, for one, would NOT want to be involved in picking out a ring. For me, most of the value of a piece of jewelry is who picked it out for me. I have jewelry from my parents, my grandmother, my SO, etc. Each and every piece means something to me first because whoever picked it out spent time picking out something they thought I’d like, and thought would look nice on me. Very secondary is the jewelry itself. I like it because someone dear to me put some thought into it.

Because of that, I have no interest in picking out something for my SO to buy me. I want HIM to go out and get soemthing that he would like to see me wear. It just means more to me that way.

I realize that everyone is different, and some people would very much want to be involved. But do think about this, John. What would SHE want you to do?

A friend of mine is going to a jewelry/gemology school, and has told me in the past that the appraisal really needs to be conducted by a certified appraiser, such as a CIA (Certified Insurance Appraiser) from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). has a very pertinent article for you in its Wedding section. The article is called “Diamond Buying Guide: Cutting Down Diamond Advertising Myths” and covers the various points folks here have already made, and then some. Even if you end up not buying a diamond, I recommend the article. It’s an informative read.

I’m assuming she’s gonna want a rock. Obfusciatrist and I are just getting a matching set of platinum bands.

I agree with Athena. You should be the one to pick out the ring for her. What you could do is go to the jewelery store and pick out 3-4 rings that you like that are in your price range, propose to your girlfriend, then let her choose between the 3-4 rings you already looked at. That way you still put a lot of thought into it but she gets to make the final decision. (Plus you stay within your price range)

And one more thing… If you’re looking for a nice ring that can be an engagement ring and a wedding ring both, I have the ring for you! I have a nice engagement ring/wedding band you can buy if you like! I picked it out myself when I got married (I’m now divorced) and I’ve been wanting to get rid of it for awhile. I’m going to put it up for sale on eBay next month and see if I can get rid of it. I’d be happy to send you a picture of it if you’d like.

No matter what you decide to do, good luck!

Glad you asked, Athena.

As much as I like the idea of choosing a ring with her, I know she plans on me popping the question- and the ring- in one fell swoop. (At the very least, in response to my previous questions of ‘will you marry me?’, her response was ‘You don’t get an answer until you give me a ring in front of our friends.’ Not that I’ve much doubt as to what the answer is.)

So I’ll need some sort of ring to give her at the question-time. Given that she’ll be wearing the engagement ring for a few years (explanation below), I’d like it to be a nice ring she can show off until we get around to the wedding.

So I’m seeing two options, here; either A) give her a cheap ring at the ‘pop the question’ time with the promise to actually shop for a real ring later (and I won’t go the route a friend of mine did of popping the question and opening the box to reveal a gift certificate for a ring- not only tres tacky, but I can’t even claim originality for it, since she’s heard the story); or B) give her the full, real, my choice engagement ring when I pop the question.

I like- and I think she’d like- the second option better, if only for her to avoid shopping for a ring. (She hates spending money on herself, and she hates spending a lot of money, and if she went ring shopping for herself, she’d come back with something she had picked up for eight bucks at a thrift store which was two sizes small and turned green within a week).
As for the long engagement- when we do get married, we have to have a big wedding. We both come from large families and we both have lots of people we consider good friends. Having a small, intimate wedding would set us up for years of “but why wasn’t I invited?” even if the wedding only consists of us, a JP, and a drunk pulled off the street to act as witness. However, until she gets out of school, and I get my job situation firmed up, we can’t even afford (money or time-wise) a small wedding.

I suppose I could just wait two years to pop the question, but I’m an impatient son-of-a-bitch. Besides, we both pretty much know that this is the way it’ll be- why not make it official? Especially given that the school she’ll be attending (and residing at) will be a couple hundred miles away- I think it’d be a help to her to know that I will wait for her.

Thanks again to all the people who have replied so far, and pre-emptive thanks to those who will reply after this. (Especially aenea and dook- y’all are making this day a lot easier to deal with.)

I’m off to see what her birthstone would be.