Engagement Ring advice

As a bonus, my generous employer has offered to purchase an engagement ring for me. (I’m a poor, saving for grad school, student. I work hard for him and when I went on vacation recently the replacement which was hired to replace me failed miserably. Since I have managed to clean up the mess, this is - apparently - my reward.) Aside from the awkwardness of “not” buying the engagement ring oneself, I now have to do what I thought I managed to avoid.

Background: On vacation I got engaged. I asked her while drunk on a ferry from Greece to Venice. She said yes. We agreed to get married in three years (when we both finish school and can afford to tie the knot). I know from previous conversations the fiance does NOT want a diamond; she wants a cubic zirconia. Fine. But if it is being paid for, that cubic zirconia is being placed in a platinum band.

My question is, where do I go? What kind of questions do I ask at a jewelry store? Where do I get a cubic zirconia? (I figure buying one from an actual jewelry store would be an expensive idea.) Can I get the zirconia elsewhere and have the store I buy the band from place it in there? And, on average, give me a price range, how expensive is a platinum band? (I have a rough budget, which I can supplement if necessary.) Any personal experience is also welcome. thanks

The sheer awkwardness of this entire situation makes me feel bad. I don’t know what else to say. Sorry.

As it is a bonus, ask him to give you the money. Then purchase the ring yourself. Having your employer purchase it, is, well, ewwwy.

Edit: I found that the best zirconia is QVC’s diamondique collection. I’m not sure if you can get it in platinum, but if picked wisely, the white gold collection is beautiful.

I KNOW! It is freaking awkward!

I guess a note to my question: Ladies, would you want - or accept - an engagement ring that was purchased from someone else?!


Ladies, would you prefer knowing that your fiance’s bosses were paying for the ring, and go shopping with the finace accordingly?

I guess this is a footnote; the girl is very liberal and will roll with the punches. I just don’t want a story - a defamatory story - lingering for the remainder of my days that I was too cheap to buy my own engagement ring.

Ah, broke, saving for grad school, and getting engaged. Brings back fond memories! :slight_smile: If I were you, I’d definitely try to get the money in the form of a bonus and use that to purchase the ring. That way, you spend your hard earned bonus cash on her. I agree with the previous posts that something about the boss actually purchasing it is icky. The easy way out is to the tell the boss that you’re not sure what your fiance would like, and that you’d like to take her shopping yourself.

Not to put a damper on what is excellent news, but…there could be all sorts of issues with “gift taxes” you might not be aware of. If an employer gives you a “gift”, you still technically owe a certain percentage of it to the Feds. If it’s a check the place of business cuts, then taxes are typically automatically withheld. But then again, a boss that would give an engagement ring as a bonus doesn’t seem like the type to follows those rules too strictly. :wink:

Also, I second the QVC diamondique recommendation. They have some nice pieces from what I’ve seen. I dunno about putting a cubic zirconium in a platinum band. IMHO, it just seems…wrong… What are her reasons for not wanting a diamond? If it’s the conflict diamond aspect, they do have lab created diamonds now that are chemically and structurally identically to mined ones. (And don’t discount the possibility that she just doesn’t want you spending a lot of money you don’t have. I remember saying such things, but I certainly did NOT turn my nose up when presented with an actual diamond…)

Can you elaborate on the offer exactly? Did he offer you X$ toward a ring? It’s a most unusual circumstance.

Also, most jewelry stores will put a CZ into whatever setting you select.

A someone who works in a jewelry store, here are some tips I can give you off-hand:

  • as has been mentioned already, better jewelry stores will be willing to work with you on what kind of stone you want in your band. There are some jewelry wholesalers that ONLY sell stoneless bands, mainly to jewelry makers who set stones that they bought separately. Pretty much any stone can be bought by a reputable jeweler, from CZ all the way up to blue diamonds and pigeon-blood rubies, so getting a cubic zirconia to go in your band shouldn’t be a major problem if you go to the right place. If the store you go to can’t do this, ask who in the area might be willing to.

  • a word on platinum: it experienced a heavy price hike a few years ago, and is quickly becoming one of the most expensive jewelry metals on the market (the price of gold has been rising as well). One alternative that’s appeared on the market recently has been palladium, which has been used for years in white gold alloys and is chemically similar to platinum - it looks exactly the same, for all intents and purposes. The big differences between platinum and palladium are: a) palladium is lighter; and b) it doesn’t hold up as well to soldering, meaning that the jeweler who crafts with it really has to know what they’re doing. However, palladium is now cheaper than platinum (this wasn’t always the case), and retains its color better than some white gold alloys.

Just as an example, here are some comparison prices on 7mm-wide wedding bands that my store currently has in stock:
- palladium: ~$585
- 18K white gold: ~$650
- platinum: ~$1200

Now, prices depend on both the scarcity of the materials, and on who designs the jewelry (this can add a large amount to the price tag sometimes), but in general, platinum rings are going to set you back more than palladium or white gold every time. The latter two were developed as alternatives to platinum for a reason.

I hope all goes well and that you find the ring you want. There’s a lot out there, don’t be afraid to shop around and find exactly what you have in mind.

I love her already so if you don’t go through with it, please let me know! :wink: :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue:

Here is what I would do- see if she wants plat or gold. Either way, get a largeish CZ (2 kt) set with her birthstone (real stone) on each side, maybe a half-carat. Custom made of course.

My bosses are the owners and they are a husband / wife team. They are good people and have offered a budget towards purchasing an engagement ring. If it costs more than the budget, they might make up the difference or I might.

The circumstance, I believe, is that they sat down asked “Spezza works hard for us, what can we do for him?” and came up with this.

I am leaning towards telling the fiancee, getting her input into the entire situation, and then going shopping with her if she wants. I had wanted the thing to be a surprise, but well, a surprise your boss buys your fiancee isn’t the same.

Thanks for the input Intravenus De Milo. Can you advise me as to where I should start looking when buying a CZ? Do regular jewelry stores sell them?

I’m not a gemologist, but… Why does she prefer a CZ? Is it because of the war diamonds problem or something else? I think there are certified diamonds that do not come from a war zone. Also, there are synthetic diamonds that are supposed to be very good, but they are not the same as CZ. (I emphasize, I am not an expert and this is just stuff I’ve heard…)

It certainly isn’t anything to do with politics. She doesn’t want a diamond because she cannot excuse the expense of a real diamond. She would much rather go back to Europe with me than buy a diamond. Also, she is a math major and likes the perfection - or something - of a CZ.

Update: I told the fiancee this afternoon. She agreed it was awkward. I told her to think about it. Over the next few days we’ll discuss whether we’ll accept the offer or not. (At the moment, I’m inclined to just let the offer laspe. Display some meekness and hope for a generous cash bonus when I leave work in September. Still, passing up on the opportunity for a free engagement ring…)

It may be that she prefers a CZ because she likes the look of diamonds, but considers it a silly thing to spend that kind of money on. I have tons of CZ in white gold jewelry for exactly that reason. If a man bought me a diamond, I wouldn’t be mad at him, but I’d rather have a CZ and a new couch or washing machine. That’s just how I roll. :wink:

Spezza, my advice would be to get the cash from your boss and take your girlfriend shopping with you. She’s gonna wear this ring for the rest of her life, she should love it.

Aaaaaaaaand, **Spezza ** posts faster than me. Do I win the pool, though?

So if she’s against having a diamond for the expense… why would you go for a platinum band?

Could be the employers are trying to save him the taxes that come from paying out a bonus check. I don’t know how the taxes would fall from buying a gift instead of giving money.