“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, the saying goes.
“If you really love her, you’ll get her a ring in that little blue box”.
But here’s the thing: Not everyone is looking to flaunt a flashy solitaire diamond. For some, the thought of the generic ring in the generic box makes them want to barf.
Maybe you and your partner don’t buy into the hype. Maybe you’re rule-breakers. Or maybe you’re concerned about the social injustices linked to the diamond trade.
If so, an alternative engagement ring might be just what you’re looking for.
Let’s break the rules
It’s time to bust the myths. Here are 3 truths that defy the common expectations of the engagement ring status quo.
Truth 1: Your engagement ring does not have to feature a big ass diamond
It can – there are some beautiful, unique diamonds out there that even anti-diamond individuals would fall in love with. But it doesn’t have to.
Consider alternative stones celebrated for their distinct colours and unique variations. Sapphires, for example, come in a range of blues, pinks, oranges, yellows, whites and greens, and are a great choice as a diamond alternative. They are one of the hardest gems in the world (second only to diamonds) and are highly suitable for long-term wear.
Truth 2: Your engagement ring does not have to cost 3 month’s salary.
In the 1930s, De Beers embarked on an extensive marketing campaign to convince the world that diamond engagement rings were the be-all and end-all of proposals. This included establishing a salary guide to dictate how much a guy (who, of course, was always assumed to be the proposer and always assumed to have a female partner) should fork out for an engagement ring. At the beginning of the campaign it was 1 month’s salary. In the 1980s it changed to 2 months. The number now varies between 1 to 3 months.
But we know that dollar value is not commensurate to love. An engagement ring budget is highly personal. It might be determined based on the kind of engagement ring you want, or how much you value an engagement ring vs other priorities in your life. Your budget doesn’t have to be fixed right at the beginning and may change when you have a clearer idea of what you’re after. Your jeweller should be able to guide you through the process, explain the differences between the various budget levels and provide options to suit.
Truth 3: Jewellery is about more than the 4Cs
Diamonds are traditionally judged against 4 criteria: Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat, which determine the perceived beauty, quality and price of a stone. But jewellery is about so much more than cold, emotionless grading systems. Choosing a custom engagement ring is about the experience of designing that special, once-in-a-lifetime keepsake and seeing your piece come to life behind the scenes. It is not about socially-defined grading systems that allow others to judge you on how much you paid for your diamond.
Instead, think about your ring as a symbol of your story. What memories and references can you incorporate into your design? The engagement ring below, for example, was designed for a couple who wanted to incorporate a fish reference! Take a closer look… can you see the fish?
Tell your story the way you want to
In jewellery, just as in life, there are no rules. A ring made out of a beach pebble you discovered on your first holiday together is no less meaningful than a diamond engagement ring from a high street jeweller.
Too many people stick stubbornly to the status quo and dutifully file into chain stores to purchase the biggest, characterless solitaire their 3-month budget can handle. But ‘mundane’ doesn’t have to be part of your repertoire. The world doesn’t need more followers.
So let’s design a ring that tells your shared story. One that you can both look down on every day and think, “yes, this ring truly captures who we are”. Read more about choosing a non-diamond engagement ring.