Temporary engagement ring ideas?
April 28, 2005 11:49 AM   Subscribe

I want to propose to my girlfriend before she moves with to me attend grad school, but I want to make her ring myself, but won't have the equipement to do that until I get to grad school. Should I...

a. Propose with a CZ ring that's obvious to warrant the upgrade to the ring I make but practical/quality enough to wear everyday.

b. Propose with an inexpensive gemstone ring with the same intent

c. Just wait (possibly 6 months and definitely after she moves across the country with me) until I can make the "real" ring to propose.

Will it be awkward for her/us to explain to people that what she's wearing is not the real thing? Will she feel embarrassed saying that a CZ is fake? Other issues?

The "real" ring will not be a diamond--more likely emerald or sapphire.

(I am posting anon. because she *sometimes* comes on here and I don't want to ruin it...)
posted by anonymous to Shopping (24 answers total)
Wait. She isn't moving across the country with you because she feels just so-so about your love - she's not going to leave you because she didn't get a ring before you moved.

Why not just do it right the first time? It's only the greatest story she'll be telling (and you, too) for the next X amount of months until you actually get married, and then some - why not make it the greatest story you possibly can? I'd say wait.
posted by MeetMegan at 11:52 AM on April 28, 2005

I'd agree with Megan, especially if it's not going to take 6 months for you to make the ring.

I think the "spacer" will be anticlimactic no matter what. Just wait for the real one.
posted by slapshot57 at 11:59 AM on April 28, 2005

I'd wait. I had my wife's ring custom made to my design and people do have this freakish need to see it. If your going to go to the effort of not getting a solitare off the rack you should make run with it as much as possible.
posted by Mitheral at 12:00 PM on April 28, 2005

Here's a ring you can make yourself. Cheap, too.
posted by driveler at 12:04 PM on April 28, 2005

I think (b) is better than (a). Something nice that you might get her anyway, but which you can afford.

There's also option (d), which is to propose, but leave the ring until later. How important is it to her, and to you, to have a physical token of the engagement, or to have the traditional ring? Some people would feel slighted or disappointed by getting no ring or a proxy ring; other people wouldn't.

On preview, MeetMegan has a point.
posted by hattifattener at 12:05 PM on April 28, 2005

If you want her to feel good about the move, you can always effectively "pre-propose" to her by beginning initial discussions about marriage, or by talking about it more frequently and freely if one of you has already fired that first shot across the bow. That is, you can let her know indirectly that a proposal will be forthcoming. Then wait (unless it becomes important to propose at some point, of course).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:09 PM on April 28, 2005

Its hopefully much more about the question than the ring. If my husband had tied a piece of string around my finger when he asked - I would not have been the slightest bit less thrilled. Why not make her a mock up out of PMC or something like that and make sure she knows you have intentions of grandeur once you have the facilities. I can only imagine that it would greatly lesson the pain and any lingering hesitation she may have of packing up all of her worldly belongings and moving for you. I'd bet you'd also get a lot of extra points with her family if you declared your intentions sooner rather than later as well.
posted by Wolfie at 12:11 PM on April 28, 2005

When I proposed to my wife, I was out of work and dirt poor. There was no ring. We later chose the ring out together and she probably got a much nicer one than if I had scrimped a while longer and gotten her something. Probably would not have mattered much in the end to her (it does to some though) but I think she's happier having waited.

BTW I'm not a girl but I would love to be in your woman's situation. I'm a craftsman and I value hand made gifts above pretty much anything else. An engagement ring is a very personal item and all the much more so if you make it yourself.
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:52 PM on April 28, 2005

There's an old movie where the ring is lost right before the I do so a cigar band is used. Years later when the couple is rich the husband has a cigar band ring made with gold & gems. You could play off of that. Make her a temporary ring of paper mache perhaps. Even better, keep making them & give her one every week or so. Hide them in different place for her to find. Find loving words to glue on the inside. Very romantic. You could have a lot of fun with it.
posted by BoscosMom at 1:14 PM on April 28, 2005

My wife wore a tin party favor ring for 2 months while we had our wedding bands and her engagement ring made. She said she loved the temporary ring, and had no problem with it. The question and the commitment are more important. Good luck!
posted by terrapin at 1:16 PM on April 28, 2005

I proposed with no ring. I had money for it, I just wanted her to pick out her own. She was very happy with that system. YMMV.
posted by agropyron at 1:41 PM on April 28, 2005

If CZ refers to Cubic Zirconia, the answer is no, no, no. Don't get something that looks like a fake version of the real thing - no girl wants to wear a CZ engagement ring. If you do choose to give her a temporary ring, make it something that doesn't look like a diamond ring - otherwise, it will just look like a really crappy engagement ring.

Personally, I like the idea of proposing w/a 'placeholder' ring and then making her one - I agree with the comments above that I would have loved a hand-made ring. So don't give up on that idea - I'm sure she'll love it.

I'd go with option B, with an explanation that you are making her the real thing, but didn't want to wait to propose. Who could resist that? ; )
posted by widdershins at 1:52 PM on April 28, 2005

If she reads this, she will guess it's you. How many people are moving across the country with someone to go to grad school and the person will soon have ring-making equipment? I think you just proposed. Giver her a small gemstone ring and tell her the real one is on the way.

And if anyone asks questions, just tell her to say, "Well, I like it!" My wife has a 1/8 carrat cheapie I bought 22 years ago for $250. I asked her if she wanted something nicer, and that's what she told me.
posted by Doohickie at 1:55 PM on April 28, 2005

BoscosMom has an excellent idea.
posted by Mitheral at 2:19 PM on April 28, 2005

Don't marry anyone who freaks out excessively about the ring.
posted by mecran01 at 2:32 PM on April 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

I'd give her the small gemstone ring. Or even a plain band. That ring will be special, too, in its own way, and if I were her I'd want to keep it. A plain band or a small gem is easily moved to the other hand.

Also, I think its a good idea to propose before she moves in, and that she'll understand about the "real" ring - maybe you just tell her that you wanted her help picking it out, but don't tell her you are going to make it, then you get TWO suprises. At least make her think its going to take a long time for you to make it.

But, yes, it's about the question not the ring.
posted by dpx.mfx at 2:49 PM on April 28, 2005

Unless she's the type of person that's *gotta* have the ring right then and there (and I hope not, and you'll know if it's true), I would do the proposal as soon as possible.

God forbid, what if something happened and she died tomorrow? Life's too short to not let her know your intentions. Propose, either with no ring or a quirky, obvious placeholder. DO NOT get a fake replica.

I had a gut feeling about a cute gift certificate--maybe you could mock up a cute brochure or something--but then thought it sounded maybe too cheesy, so I'm not sure on that one. So, I'll just throw it out there and see what you and everyone else thinks.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 3:34 PM on April 28, 2005

Do you have the money for the ring's materials, and the time delay is solely because of waiting to get to school to make it? In that case, you could buy her the actual gem you will use in the ring and present that with the proposal, maybe also with a hand-drawn mockup of the design (which will also be a cool keepsake).
posted by xo at 6:32 PM on April 28, 2005

I seem to remember that Beverly Cleary wrote that her husband Clarence proposed to her with a cigar ring, and that in her eighties, she still had it. And he still had the tie he wore when he first met her.

I'd go with a stand-in ring that she can wear for the next six months. It can be anything that doesn't turn her finger green - a heart-shaped mood ring or whatever. Those who have said that the rings don't matter are correct, but it is just more fun to have something concrete to mark the occasion and to keep as a souvenir.
posted by orange swan at 7:57 PM on April 28, 2005

I gave my wife a plain band when I asked her because I wanted us to choose a custom design together. Getting hung up on the presentation of the magic ring is something the diamond merchants have sold us, frankly. It isn't about the ring. Draw a picture of the design you have in mind and put it in a ring box. Get something out of a gumball machine. Buy a nice ring she would like to hold the place. Doesn't matter. Just pick one, and go for it.
posted by nanojath at 9:07 PM on April 28, 2005

You may well have already considered this and looked around.. but just in case.. can you access some equipment earlier? I know in my hometown (in Australia), there are some places that have the equipment which you can go and use - a community facility. Some of the local highschools and technical colleges also have jewellery making equipment, and perhaps if you could find someone sympathetic to your cause, they might let you use it. Similarly, any places offering courses in your local area..
posted by AnnaRat at 12:54 AM on April 29, 2005

Propose now! Get a placeholder ring, and take the time to make the permanent ring just the way you want it.

And Congratulations!
posted by Mrs. Green at 8:04 AM on April 29, 2005

The right time to propose is the time when you've decided that you want someone to marry you rather than the time when you have the ring. Waiting until you could afford a nice ring is a custom that is as outdated as the idea that a man has to propose. The latter is still common (and charming, if utterly indefensible), but that doesn't mean you need to observe the former, especially when it's just a lack of tools that's keeping you from procuring it.

The series of placeholder rings is a great idea. It will, of course, set the bar high for presents and inventiveness for the rest of your marriage, but I reckon that if you can make an engagement ring, you're up to the challenge.
posted by anapestic at 10:25 AM on April 29, 2005

Gawd. After all this, I hope she says Yes!
posted by Doohickie at 10:49 AM on April 29, 2005

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